clouds on nails - Tomek Baran (PL), Monika Smyła (PL), Bartosz Kokosiński (PL)

curators: Małgorzata Jędrzejczyk, Ulrike Payerhofer

Opening: Wednesday, June 5, 2013, 7pm
June 6 - August 31, 2013

  • Tomek Baran, untitled, textile on wooden stretcher, 2013, 115x80 cm
  • Tomek Baran, untitled, enamel on canvas, 115x90 cm, 2012
  • Monika Smyłas, cut 2, cut canvas, 150x120 cm, 2012
  • Monika Smyła, cut 8, cut canvas, 2013, 40x35 cm
  • Bartosz Kokosiński, from the Charred paintings series, oil on canvas, 2012, 89x70x17 cm
  • Bartosz Kokosiński, Loathsome, oil on canvas, 2012, 114x80x70 cm
  • Tomek Baran, untitled, enamel on canvas, 2011, 62x51 cm
  • Monika Smyłas, cut 4, cut canvas, 150x120 cm, 2012
  • Bartosz Kokosiński, painting devouring a Still Life, mixed media, 2012, 112x65x20 cm

Abstract art doesn't play a dominant role in the Polish contemporary art scene. Especially in the 90ies figurative art gained a strong position within the so called "critical art" movement in Poland and remains until nowadays on the top of the local art market as well as regarding international recognition. The artists conveyed the intense debate about political and social changes in the 80ies and particularly in the 90ies through provocative and taboo breaking contents which put this generation on the local and international art map. Many of the youngest generation of artists build on these achievements and tie in with the strategies and forms of expression of their predecessors. Hence more experimental approaches not following the common visual language escaped notice. Nevertheless out of those impulses developed a young, self confident and interesting generation of artists, who cut their own paths notwithstanding of local art tendencies.


The exhibition shows three artists who deal variably with abstract art, but at the same time they meet within their practice at certain points. They work with the specificity of space in the classic two-dimensional panel-painting, the play between painting and object, between abstraction and figuration, and signs of organic forms or processes within the clean, aloofed and transcendentally connoted abstract art.  

The works of Tomek Baran act on the viewer distant due to their closeness, coolness and perfection, but on the same time they generate a peace of mind. The formal perfection happens on an apparently inanimate, often monochrome surface. By using a reluctant aesthetic, Baran represses the physical traces of the genesis of the work in a clever and fascinating manner: He creases, foldes, pins down and pours over with color canvases of former works, and thereby he gives them new life. The wrinkles and cracks on the surface allow the past to shine through and add elegantly the notion of space. Tomek Baran deals intensively with the essential elements of painting like structure, color or composition, but he doesn't stick solely to formal or technical questions. Rather he focuses on the process of creating the work and integrates the act of becoming evidently. The display of ones own failure is intrinsic part of the work.

Bartosz Kokosiński works seem to have own lives, claiming freedom from their author. They unfurl and rear up, the canvas oozes out of the frame and bends unexpectedly or drapes elegantly. His hybrid works demand their own existence beyond the will or idea of the artist. The counterpart to those works is the fantastic series "Paintings devouring Reality". By flexing the canvas and stretchers, Kokosinski forms a space in which he literally stuffs into life - starting with discarded electrical equipment, taxidermied animals, branches, clothes or artificial plants. His fundus is unfailing. The works show up a direct image of our time and coincidently disguise it.

For Monika Smyła the starting point is the human figure, but she transforms it insofar that it isn't recognizable at first sight. She cuts out of the canvas silhouette-like fragments of the body and folds or fixes them. An important role plays here the light which echoes the now three-dimensional figure, as two-dimensional shadow. The fleetingness of this effect creates based on the exposure of light every time new compositions. Further the wall as such turns into an integral element within the work. Monika Smylas pictures oscillate between abstract and figurative, two-dimensional flatness and object-like shapes.

Tomek Baran, born 1985, studied painting at the University of Fine Arts Krakow. Lives and works in Krakow.
Bartosz Kokosiński, born 1984, studied painting at the Universityof Fine Arts Krakow. Lives and works in Warsaw.
Monika Smyła, born 1985, studied painting at the University of Fine Arts Krakow. Lives and works in Krakow.

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