artluk nr 3/2018

Paweł Łubowski

A few days ago I came back from the Meeting of Contemporary Art "In Statu Nascendi Karkonoskie Intermedia", which took place in Villa Uroboros in Szklarska Poręba. Its initiator and creative director was Andrzej Dudek-Dürer. The event was not subsidized and modest, but family-like and intimate. I remember the times when artists organized themselves during the worst time for the Polish art of the 1950s and 1960s, in a country isolated from the rest of the world, with no perspectives for the future. Lack of contacts with the rest of Europe meant that all news about art was delayed. Magazines about art, mostly limited to two titles only, dealt with art through the prism of Marxist ideology and all novelties from the West were treated with suspicion. The only reliable source of information was meetings in a trusted group.

The hierarchy dictated by the art market was not in force as it was not present at all, and the creator's position was only based on the most important - on the artistic values of his works. Artists met unselfishly and spontaneously to exchange their knowledge about art, to share their experiences and to travel to plein-airs with their families. Due to the fact that my parents were artists as well I was used to such kind of encounters from my early childhood. At that time I enjoyed the company of colleagues, other artistic families we were friends with, but I also had the opportunity to meet many great artists of that time. Among others I met Bronisław Schlabs, from whom I learned a lot about photography, thanks to which, being in the first high school class, I set up a photographic darkroom. It’s Krzysztof Jurecki’s achievement that I am happy to read about this great Polish artist and his achievements in the current issue of “Artluk”.
Our house was always full of artists. Andrzej Matuszewski visited us nearly every day, bringing the latest news from the art world, rumors about artists, information about exhibitions and what was happening at open air events in Osieki, Puławy or Elbląg which he participated in frequently. But he also solved my homework in mathematics, excercises about trains traveling opposite to each other from point A to point B. My mother was friends with Rennia Psarska, wife of Jan Świdzinski, who also visited us very often. That is why I was very pleased with Grzegorz Borkowski's proposal to include an article about his contextual art and its continuation nowadays.
In addition, in the latest issue will cover reviews from this year's Paris Photo, FIAC and the Month of Photography Festival in Bratislava. We present exhibitions: "Andy Warhol" in Complesso del Vittoriano in Rome, "L'Envol" in La Maison Rouge Fondation Antoine de Galbert in Paris, "Sanguine - Luc Tuymans on Baroque" in Milan, "Everyday Legend: Reinventing Tradition in Contemporary Chinese Art "at the School of Art in Birmingham and the 6th edition of the" FiLiA "conference in Manchester.
Times have changed, the borders have been opened. You can easily go wherever you want and see interesting exhibitions. But it is also worth to confront your own barriers with those of others, which Artluk enables in its pages. I wish you a pleasant encountering with contemporary art and an enriching reading.
Andrzej Banachowicz, „Sum, ut fiam… mmo”; loom installation;  height. 205, width. 390 cm / wings: 2 x 205x125 cm; 2010. Photography: P. Kiełpiński

Joanna Sitkowska-Bayle

Less than three weeks after enthusiastically accepted by both professionals and the FIAC public, the PARIS PHOTO stands were located under the glass dome of the Paris Grand Palais, an international exhibition dedicated to photography. Within four days, 168 galleries and 31 publishers from 30 countries attracted nearly 70,000 visitors. Like the FIAC, PARIS PHOTO was rated very positively this year.

All periods and types of photography have found their place. Adequate for this kind of events the dominant eclecticism had become one of the main fair’s attractions for most visitors. Historical photography met latest realizations, avant-garde is neighboring reportage. You can simply travel across several decades just by walking a couple of meters. Most galleries, however, specialize in a specific type of photography and dealers who are trying to sell old-established photography, focused especially on the intimate, even museum like exposure. The exhibition of portraits by Emil Zola’s son (including Teresa Raquin and "The Human Beast") was a great success, being an avid photographer, having several cameras and his own photographic darkroom, in which he produced negatives and made contact prints himself. He left an impressive number of 7,000 photographs. A series of portraits by young Jacques from the late 19th century, being in family possession for a long time, was presented to the public for the first time at the gallery Daniel Blau (Munich) and was accompanied by a small catalog. However, stands presenting exclusively past photography were unfortunately rare. In comparison to the first editions of PARIS PHOTO, photography dedicated to the "primitive" period, as the pioneering years of the photographic medium are often described, decreased drastically. According to the organizers, it was only fifteen percent this year of all presented art works and the tendency is also visible at the auctions. Over the past decade, its presence has dropped to less than ten percent. Not only it is more and more difficult to find interesting and valuable art works, but also, as market observers point out, the demand for them has decreased very clearly. The interests of art collectors today primarily lay on avant-garde photography from the interwar period and the second half of the 20th century, which was the most present one on PARIS PHOTO.
Douglas Gordon, "Self Portrait of You + Me (2 piece Andy)", burnt photographic print, smoke and mirror, 204 x 102.1 x 5.1 cm, 2008 Courtesy Douglas Gordon, Gagosian Gallery & the artist. Fig. J. Sitkowska-Bayle

Sławomir Marzec

The reason why I am amazed by a nearly 30 year old image is the fact that it has reached my consciousness just right now. Like I once discovered the Eiffel Tower, the cathedral in Siena and Newman’s canvases, although they already existed for years and ages before. I wrote about Zbigniew Gostomski several times and it seemed to me that the subject was exploited, that nothing would surprise me in his work anymore. And yet! At the end of October I saw a reproduction of the painting "State of affairs" during the exhibition at the Marek Kralewski Gallery in Freiburg, which was realized with the help of well-known Polish art collector Tomasz Zietak. The exhibition presented a diverse selection of works from his collection, starting with paintings, reliefs and neon signs to drawings. However, in this article I will focus only on the representative eponym painting which is by the way very unusual for this conceptual artist. By definition, the "State of Affairs" is – simple as it seems – a fact. Therefore, the landscape is deprived of any metaphysical, political or economic influences, and at the same time saturated with them and conducting the same as a basic scene. This so-called factuality has been introduced to the 20th century by Heidegger and his phenomenology in search of traces of "escaped gods". He saw an intended limit, an eventuality, an atheoretical idiomatism that hides under the eye of the eye. Landscape as a "raw" (in the sense of Merleau-Ponty) primary experience, is a kind of excess in Gostomski's work, very much saturated with the reductionistic asceticism of geometry and conceptualism. I remember the confusion at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts and its environment this series of three quasi-realistic landscapes made. These paintings, however, are not realistic, they are not just an ironic désintéressement against other "ultimate topicalities" in the art scene (and these were times when artists could only be "wild" or "critical"). They have an inherent sophisticated riddle, they have their ambiguity. According to Nietzsche, "ambiguity" is a pretense of semblance. However, Michał P. Markowski wrote some time ago: the duality of representation (in the sense of presence – reproduction and in the sense of autonomy – a pattern), from which it is impossible to escape, or to synthesize with. And further: "Icons and idols equally define the boundaries of our existence and cognition." After all, Gostomski focused additionally on something else: he playes with the illusion itself, its internal differentiations and strategies.

Zbigniew Gostomski, "Status of Things", acryl on canvas, 160 x 240 cm, 1991. Photo S. Marc's archive

Krzysztof Jurecki

After the vernissage marathon, which took place in Bratislava at the end of October and the first week of November 2018, I realized one important thing: the number of good exhibitions which were not only interesting from a specialist’s point of view reached nearly 20 and those that disappointed in various ways were countable on one hand. It was the most interesting festival that I had the opportunity to see since 2006. However and unfortunately, this year’s Off Festival disappointed as well which was a sad surprise after all these great previous editions. To make sure I didn’t miss anything interesting by accident I went there even twice. A pretty, but empty expression prevailed, which is the pain of the latest en globe photography.
However, Karolina Wojtas – senior photography student at the Film School in Łódź and graduate of the Institute of Creative Photography in Opava – achieved a huge success. She won the Portfolio Review and will have a solo exhibition next year. As she admitted, she presented works she realized outside the curriculum in the Czech Republic and in Poland.
In Bratislava, the divisions and topics are constructed in a very logical way. They also respond to current political and social problems, such as the risk of an armed conflict in Europe.
1. Sylwia Kowalczyk, "Lethe", 2015/2017
2. Bodyfiction, Weronika Gęsicka, untitled # 5, from the series "Ślady". Thanks to the courtesy of the artist and the JEDNOSTKA Gallery. Fig. press materials of the 28th Month of Photography Festival in Bratislava





Stach Szabłowski

How to present contemporary life in painting seen from a personal, subjective perspective? Document it? Catching snapshots like a photographer? Tell stories? Find allegories in hope to reveal its sens of existing or at least its meaning? Searching for an answer to these questions, Agata Kus reaches out for elements that in the era preceding the modernist revolution were installed in the machinery that created the classical depiction painting. That kind of painting was capable of presenting transparent images almost like windows, behind which landscapes, battles, interiors, people and even saints and scenes known from canonical and pagan mythology became visible – scenes that probably no one ever saw with their own eyes as they most likely never took place.
There is no such kind of painting in our times, and it won’t be there in the future. In the 20th century the picture-window was broken several times. But never mind, it's been useless for a long time anyway. It's been almost 200 years since photography entered the stage. Reality is thoroughly documented, especially in recent decades, in which virtually everyone participates in presenting and distributing these related activities. Thanks to this mass of images, life has become visible, visible on a scale which most people were not able to imagine before. However, has it become more transparent yet? Let's leave this rhetorical question behind and come back to painting. The machinery of representation that used to work on its field has been dismantled, but there are various elements that still work, such as figuration, moments of mimicry and even realism or the illusions of space and time. Many painters don’t use similar equipment, believing that it’s desolated or unsuitable for establishing the autonomy of the image. Agata Kus, however, belongs to the group of artists who depend on creative freedom, but not at all understood as the autonomy of art in relation to non-artistic experience. Quite the contrary: strict (though not necessarily linear) connections between painting and reality, present, history, authentic figures and real events play an important role in this kind of practice. The artist takes over selected aspects from the machinery of classical depicting painting – above all realistic figuration, but also the convention of generic painting – and builds her own apparatus for creating paintings.
1. Agata Kus, „Dukat”, oil, 130 x 100 cm, 2018. Photograph, press material by the Inspecting Gallery
2. Agata Kus, „Piknik pod wisząca skałą” oil, 160 x 200 cm, 2018. Photograph, press material by the Inspecting Gallery

Grzegorz Borkowski

In what context did this question arise? From 2015 on, prof. Anna Tyczyńska ran a research project "Context/contextualizm" with the aim to trigger a discussion on the contemporary understanding of Świdziński’s idea; The question about the relevance of his idea seeing “art as contextual art" and the reasons why the term "contextualism" is omitted in the study of Polish art although the contextuality of contemporary art seems obvious.
In my opinion, one distinction is needed for the answer this question properly. Jan Świdziński’s concept which was formulated in 1976 contains postulates that refer to two different spheres. In the first one the postulate is rather an assertive call or appeal to create art that will pick up non-artistic issues and contexts, but with the awareness of changes that have taken place in the very understanding of art. Thus, it is associated with the awareness that the meaning, which is intended in the art works, depends not only on itself, but also on the contexts in which it appears – i.e. on changes in the reality of which art is a part. The postulate of contextual art referred primarily to neo-avant-garde art, especially conceptualism; At the same time, an analogue manifestation in the field of literature was the book by Adam Zagajewski and Julian Kornhauser "World unveiled" (1974) and taking into consideration cinematography – the trend of the cinema of moral anxiety, initiated by the speech of Andrzej Wajda and Krzysztof Zanussi at the Film Forum in Gdansk in 1975.
Besides this first sphere of the way art is created, the second sphere of Świdziński’s concept has a strong explorative character and is a way of looking at already existing art works taking into account the variability of its meanings, resulting from changing contexts.
Jan Świdziński, "Absurdy ...", 1985/2010, individual exhibition "In my context", Center for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, 2010; Fig. G. Borkowski

Julia Korzycka

Chaos was a key element in the diagnosis of culture in the concept of a fluid reality of Zbigniew Bauman. Lack of fixed criteria, uncertain order of values, unstable boundaries and widespread confusion constantly seem to define the condition of man. However, as Bauman states: "Today, finally, our knees do not bend when we turn to face chaos ... It has never happened to us before." Luc Tuymans, curator of the new exhibition at Fondazione Prada in Milan, boldly considers the thesis of the Polish sociologist. One of the consequences of fluent modernity is a constant sense of instability and uncertainty. Tuymans draws attention to the critical situation of our time. Rather he doesn’t want to accustom viewers to immanent fear, but wants to intensify the emotion of anxiety.
The Fondazione Prada in Milan presents a new exhibition called "Sanguine - Luc Tuymans on Baroque", curated by one of the most recognized contemporary painters, the aforementioned Luc Tuymans himself and is an extended version of the previous exhibition presented last summer in Antwerp. The term barocco has held for centuries a negative connotation, associated with something strange or overloaded until the end of the 19th century, when it used to be a trend in art history. The previous baroque renaissance was based on order and harmony of all involved elements. Baroque, however, contradicts these principles and determines the concept of reality based on the breakdown of the prevailing normative order. The Baroque culture was shaped during religious disputes. It was the time of the Thirty Years' War and the Counter-Reformation; art seemed to be a reflection of a bloody and chaotic reality. The exhibition’s title "Sanguine" brings to mind the bloodthirsty red flames as well as the character of a person with a changing, furious temperament. We are intended to feel these by watching this neo-baroque show. The exhibition is extensive as it consists of over 80 works made by 63 artists from different countries, using different artistic but nevertheless expressive media. Did Luc Tuymans really create a spectacle, according to applicatio sensuum, overwhelming the recipient with an emotional burden?
1. View of the exhibition "Sanguine. Luc Tuymans on Baroque ", Fondazione Prada. Mark Manders "Room with Unfired Clay Figures", 2011-15. Fig. Delfino Sisto Legnani e Marco Cappelletti. Courtesy Fondazione Prada
2. View of the exhibition "Sanguine. Luc Tuymans on Baroque ", Fondazione Prada. From left to right: Berlinde De Bruyckere, "In Flanders Fields", 2000, Zlatko Kopljar, "K 9 Compassion BW", 2003. Fig. Delfino Sisto Legnani e Marco Cappelletti. Courtesy Fondazione Prada


1. Julia Słonecka, "Sunset in the Mountains", oil and wax paste on canvas, 136 x160cm, 2016. Photo: Author's archive
2. Julia Słonecka, "Only peace will save us", oil and wax paste on canvas, 140 x 170cm, 2017/18. Fig. Author's archive

5 Encounters
Paweł Łubowski

6 FIAC 2018
Joanna Sitkowska-Bayle

12 Tradition and Chinese contemporary art
about the exhibition “Everyday legend”

18 America in the rhythm of pop
Anita Kwestorowska

24 Barok and modernity
Julia Korzycka

32 Paris Photo 2018
Joanna Sitkowska-Bayle

38 Month of photography for the 28 Time in Bratislava
as an European event
Krzysztof Jurecki

42 Takeoff …
Agnieszka Kluczewska

48 On the need of landscape
Gostomski’s game with factuality
Sławomir Marzec

50 Patriarchal trap
Alexandra Hołownia


56 From teqnique to the medium. the emancipation of the collage
Magdalena Zięba

62 Medial transfiguration of fabric
in the oeuvre of Andrzej Banachowicz
Rafał Boettner-Łubowski

68 Bronisław Schlabs
abstraction as the only formula of modernity
Krzysztof Jurecki

76 Portraits made of shadow
Magdalena Zięba

78 Było, jest i będzie. vol.2.
Alicja Klimczak-Dobrzaniecka

84 Repetition from chemistry
Agata Kus’ exhibition "Flammable hydrogen"
at the Inspecting Gallery
Stach Szabłowski

92 New opening?
After the exhibition „Own edition”
Maksymilian Wroniszewski

94 Ray Tracing
Karolina Hałatek, Alona Rodeh
at the propaganda gallery
Karolina Hałatek

96 The power of contrasts
Agnieszka Domańska

98 Virtual Garden
6 Mediations Biennale
Arkadiusz Marcinkowski

100 Man without attributes
Marek S. Bochniarz

102 In Statu Nascendi
Karkonoskie Intermedia 2018
Jacek Kasprzycki

107 The ethos of painting
Grzegorz Sztabiński

110 Is todays art contextual?
Grzegorz Borkowski