Jarosław Modzelewski

b. 1955, Warsaw

Painter, creator of drawings, teacher. A painting graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw in Prof. Stefan Gierowski’s studio, he has headed his own painting studio at the institution since 1997. His artistic career may be briefly described as a shift from wildness to classicism. He was a co-founder of the celebrated Gruppa collective, which combined new expression painting with socio-political commentary, introducing humour, pastiche, and irony. By the mid-1990s, Modzelewski had changed his style, making his backgrounds simpler and using vivid colours. His contemporary renditions of simple activities and interest in everyday situations had a major impact on painters debuting in the late 1990s, Ładnie group members in particular. Laureate of the Jan Cybis Award (2004) and the Polityka Passport Award (1998). He lives and works in Warsaw.

The Bench

2000, egg tempera, canvas, 183 × 231 cm

Critics refer to Jarosław Modzelewski as the “painter of everyday icons”, his works depicting ordinary events and situations, such as looking out of windows, taking walks, meeting people. All stories are set against simplified, symbolic backdrops. The Bench, a painting showing a church interior, is no different. The painter has developed metaphorical sacral space with the use of simple measures. He opted for one-dimensional and ornamental modelling, and in choosing egg tempera consciously cited a technique most frequently applied in sacral art.

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