Radek Szlaga

BORN 1979, Gliwice

Radek Szlaga was born in 1979. A graduate of painting at the University of Arts in Poznań in professor Jerzy Kałucki’s studio. He works and lives in Warsaw. His works were presented in solo and group exhibitions, among others in Poland, London, Berlin, The Hague and Beijing. A creator of paintings, drawings, installations, sculptures, books. In his work he bases on the themes, characters and myths of contemporary culture, from which he builds multi-level, non-linear narratives. An important element of his works are alternative social systems, such as the Freedom Club and local communities in which he seeks the individual’s independence in the globalized world. Szlaga also asks questions about his identity as an artist. Using themes from popular culture , which he is able to reproduce mimetically in painting, drawing or prescribed calligraphic handwritten pages of texts from Wikipedia, and asks the question about the possibility of describing the world - its apparent layer and what does not reach the averaging, media image. An important element of his work is a skilled workshop that cannot be separated from the content of his work.

They Fouled
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Radek Szlaga

They Fouled

2010 / oil, canvas / 120 x 90 cm / no. 0117 Creative CommonsCreative CommonsCreative Commons Licence 3.0 1/ 2 Wróć
Description

The painting "Nafajdały" can be regarded as Szlaga’s manifesto painting. The issue of the medium is visible in many of his works, but is often not taken up in such a direct way. The interior of a decorative ornament, which instinctively should contain the most important content, is filled with white paint, applied to previous layers – a painted tabula rasa. The chickens come from a different scheme - they represent ludic culture, unspoiled by the overproduction of meanings and purposes of the modern world. At the same time, this element of the painting  can also be related to animistic painting, often appearing in Szlaga’s works. An afterthought on the medium of painting and its cultural roots alternates with carnivalesque themes, mediated by presentation made familiar by art history textbooks.

Angel/Pig
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Radek Szlaga

Angel/Pig

2010 / wax crayon, pencil, sellotape, chalk paper, digital print / 35 x 50 / no. 0118 Creative CommonsCreative CommonsCreative Commons Licence 3.0 2/ 2 Wróć
Description

Radek Szlaga mixes and juxtaposes different techniques and aesthetics. What is characteristic for him is the cacophony and self-reference. The artist, for example, uses prints of his own paintings in order to add new elements to them, scan them and convert to a slide. In his work on paper from the Foundation collection, the faulty printed pig from his own painting appears next to an angel drawn over from a book on old prints. By combining these two themes and aesthetics he shows a characteristic tension between contemporary art and old art. The intense concentration on his own work (the part of his work with the pig is repeatedly altered, appearing in various media), contrasts with an angel with three pairs of wings, exaggeratedly drawn with a pencil, pen and coloured pencils. Such juxtapositions contain a subversive charge resulting from the tension between ludic content and high culture and the specific use of the medium and techniques of introducing dissonance in the perception of the work.

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