No 1 (65) 2006
January - March

Cranes and People

In the pictures by Mikołaj Chylak, former masters shadows meet the contemporary. There is no trace of pathos, rather common “grounds” for understanding.

Magdalena Wicherkiewicz

Art historian, she writes on contemporary art.

Magdalena Wicherkiewicz

As though it were their eternal coexistence. As though their painting biography were happening here now. There has been place and time for everybody. A mosaic. A state of awareness. Recycling, as Achille Bonito Oliva would call this. Recovering motives and forms for new composition settings. This is not a quotation that has been put coolly in brackets, neither granting superiority to the one who has been quoted. This is a quotation that forgets the actual fact of quoting. Our language has taken over former languages and forms, and there is no differentiation of etymology anymore. Naturally, it has been taking from vast reserves of knowledge, signs and forms in order to construct new systems out of them. The motives borrowed from art history, though intertwined with the contemporary, have been quite distinctive in the works by Chylak. For the less initiated, the artist offers suggestive hints in the titles. Nevertheless, he has been always leaving a margin of uncertainty. He draws one’s attention to the mosaic and multi topical qualities of inspiration but first of all his intention is to encourage one to join the game. The pictures by Chylak are a specific kind of a verbal - formal game, quite frequently – they are a painting joke. For instance, “Contemplation” – two monks contemplating percussion instruments playing or “Halsa Studio Is Flying to Mars”. He has been frequently coming back to his favorite motives, or repeating them in a number of pictures, i.e., Zorba the Greek, cranes and people, spirals. Mikołaj Chylak has been involved in a constant dialogue, not merely with the past, but also in his personal inner dialogue. The repetitiveness has not been a mere search for new formal solutions; this has been rather a kind of musical refrain, an intensification, an accent. Particular artistic preferences serve yet another important purpose – namely, the painting expression. Chylak has been selecting well known motives with a strong impact: from Bacon, Goya, El Greco, Hals…The energy of red juxtaposed with the blue. This negates a cool quotation of trans-vanguard origin. The energy of the pictures by Chylak indicates a specific joy of painting, the joy of playing a game of quoting the language and forms of the past. The joy of being a painter. The joy of the game.