Manufacturers, witnesses and counterfeiters

Karolina Słomiany, Glasgow School of Art

The exhibition is opened by a portrait of women making objects of everyday use. Images based on objects, patterns, designs created in mass production or created by ordinary people are the theme of works by Marzena Nowak, Bownik, Joanna Malinowska and Olga Wolniak. In these works lies the question of the artists’ being inspired by objects made by anonymous creators, but also about elementary issues on identity of the artist – both a creator and craftsman, an individual influenced by everyday life. Włodzimierz Pawlak frequently asks such elementary questions in his work. One of his paintings is a painting palette. Wojciech Gilewicz abandons his canvases in public, exposing them to random people. So different from Gilewicz’s mimicry are the works of Jerzy Nowosielski, associated with the icon theory. Painting sacred works, in line with the strict rules developed over centuries, is a craftsmanship masterpiece, a form of meditation as well as a desire for God. Zbigniew Rogalski, who often focuses on art in his work, portrayed himself and is partner painting banknotes. Their home becomes a workshop, and the artist becomes a manufacturer of articles of everyday use, but also a counterfeiter of reality.

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Untitled (Jars)
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Wilhelm Sasnal

Untitled (Jars)

1999 / oil on canvas / 97.5x97.5x3cm / no. 0008 Creative CommonsCreative CommonsCreative Commons Licence 3.0 1/ 14 Wróć
Description

Wilhelm Sasnal depicts an intriguing scene. Perhaps it’s just a glass jar factory, perhaps a chemical plant, as suggested by the workers’ white overalls. The laconic style, visible brush strokes, and simplified colour suggest a documentary purpose rather than an attempt to build an elaborate narrative. The world is composed of an infinite number of tempting, mysterious images. “I find very many pretexts to paint. I find it hard not to succumb to them all. I feel extremely susceptible to images(…) These days I focus more on the painting process itself but that doesn’t mean that one day I won’t abandon it for quick, sketchy images,” explains Sasnal.

Grandmother's Bedclothes
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Marzena Nowak

Grandmother's Bedclothes

2005 / oil on canvas / 13x15 cm / no. 0062 Creative CommonsCreative CommonsCreative Commons Licence 3.0 2/ 14 Wróć
Description

One of a series of pieces in which the artist has transferred scraps of bed linen patterns onto the canvas. The simple structure of a pattern repeated on a white background becomes a symbol of everyday life. Bedclothes, the fabric that covers us during sleep, represent our second skin. The artist is inspired by things common, ordinary, familiar since childhood. “They leave a lasting imprint in our memory, shapes our psyche and sense of aesthetics, and evokes pleasant (or unpleasant) feelings throughout our lives. They are important to us. And, at the same time, we grow emotionally attached to them. We make them meaningful,” explains the artist in one interview.
 

Patterns
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Marzena Nowak

Patterns

2005 / pencil on canvas / 190x95 cm / no. 0063 Creative CommonsCreative CommonsCreative Commons Licence 3.0 3/ 14 Wróć
Description

In Patterns, Marzena Nowak transfers dozens of sewing patterns on the canvas. Schematics that define the body’s dimensions, its mathematical coordinates, form a chaotic tangle of lines, a constellation, a kind of three-dimensional map. Above all, however, these abstract patterns evoke the artist’s personal memory – sewing patterns published in women’s magazines such as Burda, that her mother used. Patterns was Nowak’s academy graduation project.

E-Słodowy
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Bownik

E-Słodowy

2012 / archival print on dibond / 100x120 cm / no. 0129 Creative CommonsCreative CommonsCreative Commons Licence 3.0 4/ 14 Wróć
Description

Photographs from the E-słodowy serieswraps up the triptych on computer game players. Gamers and Training rooms are portraits of people and the places where they practice. E-słodowy is the  most abstract cycle of Bownik’s triple project he’s been realizing for the last 5 years. The title E-słodowy comes from the surname of Adam Słodowy, who for 24 years (until 1983) was the host of a TV show on DIY.  E-słodowy is a presentation of homemade tools and solutions that gamers use, most often made ad hoc, using the most basic materials and not caring for aesthetics or ergonomic solutions. The players use chewing gum to disable the guidebar of the keyboard shelf, a Teflon frying pan as a mouse pad and a t-shirt taped to the chair as a comfortable forearm pad.

The artist observed all of the solutions and copied them in his studio. Photographs taken with a polaroid camera blur details and make the viewer focus on the whole picture, not its objects. Bownik is interested in correlations with minimalistic sculpture, abstract paintings, suprematism and constructivism in objects photographed in such a manner. Usable, personalised solutions allowing the players to have a “better target”, Bownik transfers to the sphere of high art. Two works are included in the collection of the Foundation. Blue tape marks the best way to set chairs so that they face the monitor. Cardboard objects are in turn the most abstract and sculptural work in the cycle. They are a model of how the game players organize their desk space.

E-Słodowy
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Bownik

E-Słodowy

2012 / archival print on dibond / 40x50 cm / no. 0130 Creative CommonsCreative CommonsCreative Commons Licence 3.0 5/ 14 Wróć
Description

Photographs from the E-słodowy serieswraps up the triptych on computer game players. Gamers and Training rooms are portraits of people and the places where they practice. E-słodowy is the  most abstract cycle of Bownik’s triple project he’s been realizing for the last 5 years. The title E-słodowy comes from the surname of Adam Słodowy, who for 24 years (until 1983) was the host of a TV show on DIY.  E-słodowy is a presentation of homemade tools and solutions that gamers use, most often made ad hoc, using the most basic materials and not caring for aesthetics or ergonomic solutions. The players use chewing gum to disable the guidebar of the keyboard shelf, a Teflon frying pan as a mouse pad and a t-shirt taped to the chair as a comfortable forearm pad.

The artist observed all of the solutions and copied them in his studio. Photographs taken with a polaroid camera blur details and make the viewer focus on the whole picture, not its objects. Bownik is interested in correlations with minimalistic sculpture, abstract paintings, suprematism and constructivism in objects photographed in such a manner. Usable, personalised solutions allowing the players to have a “better target”, Bownik transfers to the sphere of high art. Two works are included in the collection of the Foundation. Blue tape marks the best way to set chairs so that they face the monitor. Cardboard objects are in turn the most abstract and sculptural work in the cycle. They are a model of how the game players organize their desk space.
 

Carpet - Runner
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Olga Wolniak

Carpet - Runner

1999 / oil on canvas / 100x100 cm / no. 0006 Creative CommonsCreative CommonsCreative Commons Licence 3.0 6/ 14 Wróć
Description

“Everything can be an inspiration, and in my case it was artistic handicraft, all kinds of textiles,” explains Olga Wolniak. “I realised that carpet weaving was done exclusively by women, as was embroidery or lacework. I decided to portray the seemingly prosaic work of the female hands, and not only because of the great beauty of the products. I wanted to elevate their effort to a higher level – the level of a piece of art. Reproducing the carpet motifs, I began to reflect on their significance. They had become so deeply embedded in culture, though, that we usually don’t notice them,” says the artist. Her pieces are like painted adages or dictums, their purpose being to awaken the viewer’s sensitivity to the play of signs and symbols.

Sirvan
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Olga Wolniak

Sirvan

1999 / oil on canvas / 100x100 cm / no. 0007 Creative CommonsCreative CommonsCreative Commons Licence 3.0 7/ 14 Wróć
Description

“Sirvan” is a popular variety of Turkish carpets. Many of them adorn the floors of Polish homes. nowadays the oriental ornaments usually bring to mind a typical 1980s Polish living room rather than Middle Eastern exoticism. Wolniak takes advantage of this “familiarity” of the shapes and patterns. She documents the texture and design of the woven carpets, bringing to our attention crafts traditionally passed on by the mother to the daughter. Sirvan is also the name of a river flowing through Iran and Iraq. Today, when both countries are associated with political instability and the ongoing difficult social situation of women, the painting acquires a new, disturbing level of meaning. “In each and every one of us there is energy, or aura, specific only to that person. We don’t even realise how much of it we communicate to other people, not verbally, but with touch, gesture, and gaze. I paint because I believe that our hands communicate it in the most direct way,” says the artist.

Miniature Wari or Inka Tunic
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Joanna Malinowska

Miniature Wari or Inka Tunic

2011 / feathers, linen / 52x40 cm / no. 0131 Creative CommonsCreative CommonsCreative Commons Licence 3.0 8/ 14 Wróć
Description

In her work, Joanna Malinowska combines anthropology with art history. Some of her works are objects made of natural materials, characteristic of primitive cultures. They are juxtaposed with forms bringing to mind avant-garde works of art or readymade strategies. Some of her works may even be mistaken for tribal handicraft. Functioning in contemporary art, they evoke echoes of collections from the first half of the 20th century, when crafts and objects of cult from Africa and Asia were presented alongside with the works of avant-garde artists.

The Foundation collection includes 3 of many “Miniature tunics”, which were inspired by South American cultures. They can be associated with crafts and utility objects, not the uniqueness characteristic of contemporary art. Malinowska’s works bring together works of art and products of non-European and North American material culture. Key to these works is the blurring of boundaries set by the increasingly professionalised culture and the weakening of tools used by contemporary art.

Miniature Wari or Inka Tunic
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Joanna Malinowska

Miniature Wari or Inka Tunic

2011 / feathers, linen / 52x60 cm / no. 0132 Creative CommonsCreative CommonsCreative Commons Licence 3.0 9/ 14 Wróć
Description

In her work, Joanna Malinowska combines anthropology with art history. Some of her works are objects made of natural materials, characteristic of primitive cultures. They are juxtaposed with forms bringing to mind avant-garde works of art or readymade strategies. Some of her works may even be mistaken for tribal handicraft. Functioning in contemporary art, they evoke echoes of collections from the first half of the 20th century, when crafts and objects of cult from Africa and Asia were presented alongside with the works of avant-garde artists.

The Foundation collection includes 3 of many “Miniature tunics”, which were inspired by South American cultures. They can be associated with crafts and utility objects, not the uniqueness characteristic of contemporary art. Malinowska’s works bring together works of art and products of non-European and North American material culture. Key to these works is the blurring of boundaries set by the increasingly professionalised culture and the weakening of tools used by contemporary art.
 

Miniature Wari or Inka Tunic
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Joanna Malinowska

Miniature Wari or Inka Tunic

2011 / feathers, linen / 52x60 cm / no. 0133 Creative CommonsCreative CommonsCreative Commons Licence 3.0 10/ 14 Wróć
Description

In her work, Joanna Malinowska combines anthropology with art history. Some of her works are objects made of natural materials, characteristic of primitive cultures. They are juxtaposed with forms bringing to mind avant-garde works of art or readymade strategies. Some of her works may even be mistaken for tribal handicraft. Functioning in contemporary art, they evoke echoes of collections from the first half of the 20th century, when crafts and objects of cult from Africa and Asia were presented alongside with the works of avant-garde artists.

The Foundation collection includes 3 of many “Miniature tunics”, which were inspired by South American cultures. They can be associated with crafts and utility objects, not the uniqueness characteristic of contemporary art. Malinowska’s works bring together works of art and products of non-European and North American material culture. Key to these works is the blurring of boundaries set by the increasingly professionalised culture and the weakening of tools used by contemporary art.
 

Note on Art no. 19
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Włodzimierz Pawlak

Note on Art no. 19

1998 / oil on canvas / 33x24 cm / no. 0029 Creative CommonsCreative CommonsCreative Commons Licence 3.0 11/ 14 Wróć
Description

Włodzimierz Pawlak’s painting series brings to mind entries from a painter’s sketchbook. The individual pieces were a field of investigations, experiments, and studies for the artist. “Pawlak strives to define the original, primary characteristics of a painting, for which purpose he creates a sort of painted treaty on painting which gathers knowledge about the ways, means, and properties of representation. He copies, systematises, and analyses the work of classic avant-garde painters who contributed most to painting theory,” writes Agnieszka Szewczyk about Pawlak’s work. Numerous references to the work of Kazimir Malevich and Władysław Strzemiński can be discerned throughout the series.

Binary City
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Wojciech Gilewicz

Binary City

2003 / oil on canvas / 125x105x2.5 cm / no. 0103 Creative CommonsCreative CommonsCreative Commons Licence 3.0 12/ 14 Wróć
Description

Binary City, a piece employing 1:1-scale replicas of reality, was created in two stages. First, in the autumn of 2003, the artist placed his paintings in four spots around Warsaw. Several months later, two had been lost and one, placed on a newsstand, had been twice repainted by the agent, unaware of participating in an artistic experiment. In the autumn of 2006, the two remaining Warsaw replicas were taken to Łódź and placed in settings where they could blend in with their environment. This time, to achieve the desired illusory effect, the artist performed artistic interventions around the paintings. The swap can be interpreted as an attempt to integrate the two cities, or as an investigation of the paradoxical potential of painting. The canvas is accompanied by three photographs of the sites on which it used to be displayed.

Untitled (sign. XIII/XV) Blue Abstraction
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Jerzy Nowosielski

Untitled (sign. XIII/XV) Blue Abstraction

1997 / serigraphy on paper / 89x74 cm / no. 0020 Creative CommonsCreative CommonsCreative Commons Licence 3.0 13/ 14 Wróć
Description

“I was interested in geometric abstraction on the one hand, and in certain elements of figuration on the other (…), the icon has made me realise that the two artistic trends  aren’t mutually exclusive, quite the contrary, they can coexist in every good painting. There is no good realistic picture without an inner, organising, abstract principle,” the artist said in an interview. The artist explains the metaphysical dimension of his work, saying: “For me, abstract painting is simply a way in which our consciousness reacts to the extrasensory consciousness. A consciousness we are permeated with. Abstract paintings are simply images adequate to the reality of the subtle entities that influence our consciousness, our sensitivity. Of course, these images are not identical with and do not illustrate the reality of those subtle entities.”

Euro
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Zbigniew Rogalski

Euro

2003 / oil on canvas / 150x200x2 cm / no. 0042 Creative CommonsCreative CommonsCreative Commons Licence 3.0 14/ 14 Wróć
Description

Rogalski’s paintings are like demarcating personal territory – an inviolable sphere of basal interpersonal emotions and relationships. In such territory, a strange scene takes place: a private production of 100-euro banknotes. Two people (resembling the artist and his then-partner, now wife, Karolina) sitting on a carpet laboriously copy a pattern on banknote-size pieces of paper. In this case, painting about painting is also painting about counterfeiting. The banknotes are just an excuse, because Rogalski above all enjoys discussing the painter’s duties.

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