BOGDAN KOWALCZYK – Painter and Sculptor

He is an artist who believes that contemporary art has gone astray in avant-garde investigations and formal experimentation. As a result, his work is an unusual dialogue with tradition, showing signs of fascination with the works of classics with whom he shares both their virtues: tenacity, determination, hard work, quest for perfection and lack of consent for accidents – as well as vices: spending much time on carving the details.

The eclecticism of his work may be justified with a quotation from an essay by John Barth: "what was to be said in arts, was said, and now we can only repeat".

Bogdan Kowalczyk works in isolation. It has always amazed him that some of the other artists are able to create in the noise of plein air events or so-called art schools. The characteristic feature of his paintings is a static and well-conceived composition. In the early ages of his painting endeavours the romantic soul led him to solitary landscapes where the mere search for motive was the act of creation, no less important than the painting itself. This way he created portraits of landscapes inspired by the beauty of old fishing boats, deserted beaches and a variety of maritime scenes.

The 80s of the 20th century brought about a series of large formats with the stigma of sadness, depression and helpless despair. The canvases were filled with deformed silhouettes of male acts, frozen in stillness or marked with rebel convulsions. These compositions are immersed in monochrome, grim landscape, expressing the artist's mood through the use of sienna, ocher, umber.

On the contrary, artworks from the 90s were characterized by joy and optimism, commencing with Neo-Renaissance paintings of female nudes. Smooth, glaze-derived texture, astounding skillfulness and the consequence of the own technique were used to cover the entire surface of the canvases. Artist's muse (wife) is integrated into the neoclassical interior with windows or terraces, always with a distant view of the sea or mountains which suggests his fondness for open spaces. This cycle is kept in optimistic colors with the predominant variety of greens, warm blues, muted reds.

The Millennial years are a series of new female nudes, affected by astigmatic deformations. Models are placed on platforms under the arcades on the background of a distant ocean. Their faces, despite the distortion, do not express pain or opposition to the role in which the artist has placed them. The light of unreal twilight traps the models in a surrealistic architecture, strengthening the desired mood of drowsiness and nostalgia, with a drama lurking in the background. The images are filled with cool blues, greens and purples.

Bogdan Kowalczyk's sculptures are the proof of his versatile artistic talent, easily transmitted from the idea to the hand and eye. He models with passion, instinctively feeling the block, and does not regret the time and effort in the search for excellent profiles. The artist endlessly rotates the solid stone, grabbing the chiaroscuro to the surface of the sculpture, adds and subtracts clay to achieve a satisfactory end result. His ideas are always derived from human anatomy, however the natural shapes are transformed during the process. He uses different body parts, rearranging them in unobvious ways which result in figurative sculptures with a contemporary flavour.

Further evidence of limitless creative possibilities is the mobile installation "anti- guillotine". It is a perfectly calculated and self-engineered steel machinery in the form of a guillotine, where a wooden head is rhythmically raised to strike the steel blade of the guillotine with violent vengeance and a huge accompanying noise. The name of this work – Optimistic Installation – symbolises the victory of reason over terror.