Jerzy Truszkowski

BORN 1961, Warszawa

A graduate of the Arts Education Institute of the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin, he took his diploma in 1986. In 1983-1986, he joined the Łódź Kaliska group, Zbyszko Trzeciakowski, and Jacek Kryszkowski, in co-creating the legendary Kultura Zrzuty and the underground Tango and Halo Haloo arts magazines. In 1985-1989 he joined Zbigniew Libera in forming the NAO Sternenhoch group. He works in performance, installation, video art, photography, painting, and art theory and criticism. He is considered part of the contemporary Polish critical art movement, though he himself prefers the term “radical artist,” which he takes to mean an artist focused on his roots, seeking the foundations of his field. The forms in Jerzy Truszkowski’s work hold political content arising from the artist’s insightful investigations into the history of Eurasia.

Sarmatian Tamgas
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Jerzy Truszkowski

Sarmatian Tamgas

1991 / oil, canvas / 150 x 150 cm / no. 0039    Wróć
Description

This artist’s radical painting strategy involves a detailed analysis and deconstruction of complex tales, turning them into signs. By their cultural definition, signs are things that point toward something other than what they are. Truszkowski explores symbols, which are a special kind of sign. A symbol has no material equivalent, nor does it pertain to abstract concepts.
In Sarmatian Tamgas, the artist recalls the history of the Tatars, who began settling Polish lands in the seventeenth century. In exchange for serving in the army of John III Sobieski, they were granted the rights of the nobility. One sign of assimilation with the local culture was the tamga – crests modeled on ancestral symbols of the Polish nobility. Using simple forms of arrows, crescent moons, and horseshoes on a blood-red background, the artist has made signs alluding to primitive symbols for marking herds of cattle as one’s own property.
The picture was painted in three layers, using glaze technique in a carmine/Bordeaux color scheme. The composition has a geometrical structure: the picture is a square divided into 225 fields, concentrically composed. The rhythm of the divisions is meant to reflect the mystic aspect of the artist’s work, intentionally seeking to aid meditation, in the spirit of radicalism.
 

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