No 3 (95) 2013
July - September

Olaf the Selfish

"The Selfish" at the Warsaw Contemporary Art Center has been the first this extensive and cross- sectional exhibition by Olaf Brzeski.

Kaja Werbanowska

B. in 1985. Art historian. She publishes texts on contemporary art.

Kaja Werbanowska

WE WROTE ABOUT THE ARTIST A YEAR AGO in the context of the presentation of his achievements in Opole. The present exhibition shows the pieces made over the latest decade, and the most recent, from this year.

The Warsaw exhibition deals with two motives. The first tells about brutality - atrocities, perversion, if not bestiality. The second has been an attempt to illustrate what sculpture has to offer - the means of expression, and metamorphosis of form. Brzeski has pursued sculpture, video and installation. The earlier works, put on the exhibition, include, among others, ceramic sculptures, trophies and busts mounted on plinths. The more recent pieces illustrate the artist "playing a game" with sculpture, and with what it can offer, shaping forms that frequently border on the abstract.

"The Fall of Man that I Do Not Like" reveals a whole creative process by Brzeski - starting with the concept (registered on video), through drafts, to the end result. A final form copies a draft to the extent that it still looks like a drawing. Only after a moment one can spot an installation there. The "Out of Love for a Woman" - is a sculpture group resembling a fragile construction made with straws. In fact, this is extremely resilient, composed of steel and aluminum. A seemingly feeble sculpture - that depicts two men fighting - turns to be highly expressive. The selfish, quoted in the title, has been featured on video where the artist is outlining his self-portrait. Brzeski is sitting, facing the camera in the pose that he considers most flattering. He is not looking at the sheet of paper, while drawing, he does not glance once at a viewer. "The Selfish" has been a multidimensional self image of Olaf Brzeski, showed by means of sculpture, drawing and video. An element of suspense is the feature that all these forms have shared.

Olaf Brzeski, "The Selfish", the Contemporary Art Center, Warsaw, June - August 2013.