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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

All Hands on DIK

By Kasia Bobula...

Karol Radziszewski is the editor-in-chief and publisher of DIK Fagazine, a Polish magazine about art and boys. What started out as a gay fanzine is now, bizarrely enough, becoming a respected art publication. When he’s not traipsing around Eastern Europe, Karol is a prolific painter and filmmaker, recently exhibiting at New York's New Museum of Contemporary Art. I caught up with him in Warsaw to talk about the magazine, meeting the Romanian Madonna and the recent invasion of dicks on men's trunks.

How would you describe DIK?
It's an art magazine with an emphasis on gay culture. It's also focused on Eastern Europe and the evolution of a contemporary male. The experimental format of DIK is designed by graphic artist Monika Zawadzka. My boyfriend, Pawel Kubara, supports me a lot with the magazine and does many jobs that few people would do. Over time, DIK has evolved from a small fanzine of about 48 pages to a themed magazine of about 158 pages. I'm really happy about it.

The theme of the winter issue (left) is Romania. Why did you decide on Romania?
For all the fascinating people. We have features about Romanian artists, stylists and fashion designers. Each of them has a different view and they often contradict each other. Bucharest illustrates those contradictions well. On the one hand, you see chaos and poverty, but you also have Dior and Louis Vuitton boutiques, which we still don’t have in Warsaw.

You also met Loredana, who's like their Madonna…
Loredana is a major celebrity and gay icon. Her music combines folk and pop. She was the first person in Romania to do ethno and dance. Her stage performances are quite interesting, too. One minute she's doing a gypsy dance and the next thing you know, she's dressed in a mini skirt and singing a French chanson. It was a bizarre meeting. It felt like the cameras were watching us all that time and we only had fifteen minutes for the interview.


Who’s your dream person to interview?
You know, when I started DIK, it was almost like an excuse to do interviews with people, who I always wanted to meet. Right now, though, many of those people wouldn’t fit in. But if I had choose one person, it would be David Bowie.

What has the response been to DIK in Poland?
Well, to a lot of the gay scene in Poland we’re too alternative somehow. They don’t understand why we often interview artists and why the pictures look gritty. On the other hand, we have art people who could be potentially interested, but are sometimes too scared to be reading something “gay.” I always joke that our main target in Poland are art history graduates, female and straight!

You also had problems finding printers there. What was that all about?
Yeah, I had to change them twice. One of the printers sent the parcel back with the word “porn” scribbled across it. Then I started printing in Cracow. But the lady there who was responsible for printing said she read an interview with me and decided it was too risky to be involved. It's easier now because we are more established.

What else are you working on?
Aside from DIK, I am an artist and member of the art collective szu szu. Recently, I was involved in the project The Young and Evil organized by tank.tv and Tate Modern. This year I also worked on a fashion project with the Milan-Tokyo based label Marios. It combines art, fashion, the Internet and print. Marios created the clothes and I made the prints. One of the designs is a pair of men's trunks with our signature penis logo print. I'm sending them to the DIK Fagazine friends like Slava Mogutin and Brian Kenny, and asking them to make videos explaining how they would want to wear them. All of the videos will be put online, and the clothes will be sold for spring under the label MARIOS DIK. It's a project that questions my various roles. Am I an artist, a curator or a publisher? Am I a fashion designer now? Many people find it confusing. But combining those contradictions is what I’ve always enjoyed the most.

Romanian Boys

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