No 1 (65) 2006
January - March

What Have Young Artists Been Saying?

In Poland, contrary to the Western Europe or USA, there are no private galleries to “take care” for budding artists. This is a positive phenomenon that nonprofit establishments attempt, in various ways, to help young artists to mark their presence on the artistic scene.

Katarzyna Grabowska

B. in 1976. Art historian, author of texts on art. She lives and works in Poznań.

Katarzyna Grabowska

In 2005, the “Arsenal” Town Gallery in Poznań initiated the “Exchange” project and invited to participate the galleries from Toruń, Bielsko-Biała and Zielona Góra. The main objective was to present the youngest artistic circles from smaller Polish towns. In January, 10 Poznań artists were hosted by the Art Propagation Center in Toruń. The Poznań artists invited Łódź audiences to join the discussion on art and the role of an artist in the contemporary commercialized world, encouraging them with the catchphrase: “See What I Am Seeing”. The curator, Przemysław Jędrowski has not selected the artists at random. On the other hand, it has not been meant as a group of persons to answer unanimously the question what the young Poznań art is like. The catchphrase: “See What I Am Seeing” (also the exhibition title) is quite general and it cannot serve as a key to interpret all the works. It is easier to understand each out of these 10 artists, looking at them individually and approaching the works by each of them as autonomous presentations. Young Poznań artists have totally different attitude towards the reality, they belong to the same age group but show various types of sensitivity. They all are art school graduates but they express themselves in a different manner: classic – by means of painting, borrowing tools from popular language of advertising or inviting a viewer to join a multimedia game…The Poznań art academy has been considered one of the main new media centers in Poland. Nevertheless, the works made in traditional – not necessarily painting techniques - turned out to be the most interesting; both with regard to their form as well as concept. A very subtle, feminine statement - on feelings and motherhood, by Magda Wolna - has been perfectly orchestrated with an unusual technique – embroidery on canvas. The monochromatic pictures by Sonia Rammer – who referred to history in order to develop her own mythology - have been equally distinct and feminine. The canvases by Małgorzata Szymankiewicz – striking with blinding color composition - have been in a total contrast to these. The artist has taken from abstract paining,. She has left her works with no titles giving a viewer a total freedom to interpret the meaning. The large size compositions by Maciej Kozłowski, in acrylic paints illuminated with the ultraviolet light, speak with loudly bright colors. The message content here has been equally strong. These have been template simplified, bloody scenes that we are constantly watching on TV, and to which we remain completely indifferent. Max Skorwider also speaks the pop culture language. His posters, containing a bitter satire, ridicule the consumption oriented lifestyle. Rafał Jakubowicz has been warning against a negative impact of art. His witty painting installation has been presented on small size, two-color canvases. Their meaning to be deciphered through subtitles being a paraphrase of warnings placed on cigarette packs. The interactive installation by Maciej Kurak – where the artist has been asking about the art limits - has been also quite amusing in its expression, though at the first glance it might be not self-explanatory. Marek Mielnicki has invited one to join a less complicated but quite interesting game. His “Ram” project allows all to become artists thanks to a computer and a proper software – but does everybody wish to be an artist? “See What I Am Seeing”, the artists have been appealing, and they expect us - viewers to look at the world from the angle of their works. Certainly, this world has been more interesting than what TV and pop culture have to offer. This has been what young artists ask one to remember. “See What I Am Seeing. Poznań Young Art”, Marek Glinkowski, Michał Grochowiak, Marcin Gwiazdowski, Rafał Jakubowicz, Maciej Kozłowski, Maciej Kurak, Marek Mielnicki, Sonia Rammer, Max Skorwider, Małgorzata Szymankieiwcicz, Magda Wolna; The Town Art Gallery, Art Propagation Center, Łódź, January – February 2006.