No 1 (89) 2012
January - March

Factory of Illusion

Pictura Minoris, the latest artistic project by Jan Mioduszewski, puts pictures - pieces of furniture in new reality between construction and deconstruction, while an original object is being juxtaposed with its painting copy.

Malwina Domagała

Historian and art critic. PhD student at the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw. She publishes texts on contemporary art.

Malwina Domagała

FOLLOWING THE CREATIVE METHOD he has pursued since 2002 within the artistic framework called Furniture Factory, Mioduszewski "has furnished " galleries and exhibited pictures - objects that reproduced actual furniture: chests of drawers, shelves, cupboards, chairs. The pictures - pieces of furniture, painted on MDF, function as recognizable artistic items "manufactured" in Jan Mioduszewski's Furniture Factory. In these illusory presentations the artist has discovered his own, painting equivalent to the craftsman or industrial products, everyday use objects, household facilities being an element of interior set. Referring to the shaped-canvas painting, an artistic phenomenon initiated in the 60's of the 20th century; outside edges of the works by Mioduszewski retained the shape of the painted objects - the pieces of furniture thus offer an impression of being real. Pictures that have not been confined to a traditional form of a rectangle or a square, specifically arranged, enter into relations with the space they have been displayed in.

The artist invites a viewer to join a game between the illusion and reality and offers an optic illusion through accurate copies of real objects. He imitates the structure of wood on a plane surface, he accurately reproduces all cracks, tree rings, knots and their colors. In order to achieve a three dimension effect, he applies perspective shortcuts and chiaroscuro. The concept of illusion goes back to the classical art when, starting in ancient Greece, a lot of effort was put to reproduce the surrounding world; accurately and with great precision, close to imitating nature. The Natural History by Pliny the Elder describes Zeuxis who painted grapes in such realistic manner that they attracted birds. The treaty on poetry by Gorgias, a Greek philosopher, formulated a concept that painting makes an impression of illusion and transfers a viewer into a different reality, just as the written or spoken words of a poem can fully convince listeners. This has been an introduction of illusion theory into art, later developed over centuries. Mioduszewski refers to the tradition of illusionism and shows strong fascination with the seventeenth century Dutch masters painting.

The Nature morte in expressis verbis installation - "a still life revealed", as translated by Mioduszewski - presents sets of objects: a prototype being the picture's motive and the painted picture as its true copy, a result of a creative effort. This trick has been applied by the artist, as he puts it himself "to make a viewer's eye pass freely between the copy and its original, repeating the artist's way of looking at the object of his studies". The "revealed" can be regarded as "self - topical", the notion concocted by Artur Sandauer, a literary critic, to describe a method applied in literature where besides the plot, there is a motive of the process of the book being written (occasionally the act of writing is a sole topic of the piece). Analogically, Mioduszewski seems to invite a viewer

to his atelier to show him a creative process.

An expanded installation offers a specific dump of destroyed furniture fragments, planks of wood, fiber board leftovers, torn mattresses, slats of wood, cardboard boxes.

The artist has broken order, decomposed, transformed and deformed his "furniture", showing their decay. Mioduszewski suggests that destruction frees emotions and offers artistic inspiration. Among the "invalid" objects one can find the "order in chaos", the mentioned sets of objects: a prototype and its painting representation. One has to put some effort to find the title Pictura minoris in this chaos.

Jan Mioduszewski, "Pictura minoris", Lokal_30, Warsaw, January - February 2012.