Entire Paris in a blue haze, like in spirit – this quote from Różewicz was to be the motto of the exhibition. But when I opened the book to verify it, it wasn’t where I remembered it was. So maybe I was wrong. I may have mixed up some fragments. Perhaps it wasn’t Paris at all, and perhaps not spirit (denatured alcohol? Formalin?). Perhaps it was not even Różewicz. But that’s how my memory worked – it combined some bits in the context of the planned exhibition and its subject, and a “quote from Różewicz” came out.
Contradicting the feverish ordering of archives, there are the workings of memory – attempts to recreate that which has already been experienced on the basis of whatever shreds remain. Such memories are necessarily co-created by the present self.
On the one hand, they extract the essence of the meaning of events. They are like phenomena immersed in formaldehyde, which, removed from their former context, assume new meanings and look at us as if from the other side of the mirror.
On the other hand, this is a process of reproducing the missing elements on the basis of the preserved fragments, resembling the work of a conservator or an archaeologist who recreates an entire artefact from a tiny piece. It is a simulation of an imagined whole, with guesses and mistakes. Sometimes, the reconstructed work surpasses the small finding, adding more than there was before. But the authenticity of each such creation is supported by the authenticity of the original part. Although this loan could be unsecured.
However, knowing the nature of this process, it is difficult to expect faithfulness to some original. The works by Filip Rybkowski and Krzysztof Grzybacz use similar mechanisms to talk about things that may have existed or happened.
Filip Rybkowski’s works revolve around the relationship between the original and its derivative – a copy, representation, reconstruction. However, the artist inscribes an immanent error in this relationship. Sometimes, he reconstructs things that are not worth reconstructing. At other times, the process of reproduction overwhelms the original – a small fragment grows into an exaggerated, imagined idea of the prototype. Such imitation is doomed to failure because it reveals its own artificiality. The potential for deconstruction is inherent in it from the beginning.
Rybkowski creates a vicious circle of representation. First, he creates imitations of materials. A very Baroque idea, if not for the fact that alongside artificial marble there are also fake tiles or PVC. He then undermines the very division into “the real thing” and “copy” by combining fragments of found materials with their representations. His decisions revolve somewhere between examining this division and denying its usefulness in a disturbing manner.
Apart from his earlier works, the exhibition also features projects from the new series Sediment Studies. It also seems to be a reconstruction – but this time of something that may happen in the future. The painting hints that it comes from beyond the Anthropocene epoch – stalactites can grow up to several thousand years. However, despite the masterful mimeticism, even this painting is exposed and suspended in a bubble of obvious illusion.
The poetics of Krzysztof Grzybacz’s paintings is fairy-tale like, clearly kept in the convention of “magical thinking.” They could be afterimages that are left of sleep, single frames of memories that intently stare at us.
His pictures are as sensitive as our secret thoughts. Flowers hug each other, objects seek closeness. They show the relationships we sometimes imagine between them, or our own feelings and desires that we project on them. Flowers in December, Will you love me magically, Fade Into You.
When trying to interpret the stories contained in the paintings, we are under the impression of having retained this childish ability to not distinguish between what is animated and unanimated, worthy of attention and unimportant. We grasp the impressions and associations that arise around certain things or views, and find the courage to describe them. The entire description does not take place through the narrative, the painted plot, but mainly in the painting itself, in the chosen technique.
Krzysztof Grzybacz (b. 1993)
He has graduated from Prof. Andrzej Bednarczyk’s studio at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow.
His paintings combine intimacy and extraordinariness, evoking the impression of glow and peacefulness. They seem to depict excerpts from longer stories or scenes from the unusual life of objects. In his practice, he occasionally combines painting with objects or other techniques. He lives and works in Krakow.
He has participated in individual and collective exhibitions, including: By Mail Today Eleven Thoughts, Six of Them Were About Love (in duet with Zuzanna Bartoszek, Serce Człowieka, Warsaw Gallery Weekend 2020); Fix (Wolne Pokoje, Fundacja Artystów Kolonia, Gdańsk 2019); Krakers Cracow Art Week 2019 festival, 44th Painting Biennale Bielska Jesień 2019; during the lockdown caused by the covid-19 pandemic, he took part in projects such as The Trouble with Double (Mozilla Hubs, VR exhibition), Exhibition for Your Apartment (Dawid Radziszewski Gallery).
Filip Rybkowski (b. 1991)
In 2015, he graduated in Painting from the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. His works from this period transcend the traditional boundaries of painting, entering the field of mosaic, objet trouvé and installation.
He uses various media: painting, installation, video, photography. He puts together the poetics of the fragment, juxtaposing original artefacts with reconstructions and images. He is interested in the problematic status of “authenticity” and the processes of historical construction of memory.
In his most recent works, the basic tool he uses is the critical act of reconstruction combined with reflection on the political nature of the gesture of restoration, preservation and conservation.
He has taken part in many exhibitions in Poland and abroad, including Dry Crust and Oceans of Liquid Matter (Horse and Pony Fine Arts, Berlin, 2019), Pets (Bunkier Sztuki, 2018), Scattered Rhymes (XY Gallery, Olomouc, 2018), What About This Abstraction? (Stefan Gierowski Foundation, Warsaw, 2017), individually or in a duet with Emilia Kina, including Innocent Eyes, Weak Arm (Sopa Gallery, Kosice, 2020), Miraż Travel (Wozownia Art Gallery, Toruń, 2019).