Marcin Maciejowski: “Unsettled Matters”
Wilkinson, 50-58 Vyner Street, London, Lower Gallery
April 17 – May 17, 2015
Opening: Thursday 16 April, 6 – 8pm
About the artist:
“For Maciejowski, the act of painting is a way to think about the world: to notice people and moments, from his life, from the media, and from history, that he wants to spend time with by making a painting. So, of course Maciejowski’s rendering of skin is emotional. In the aforementioned interview Maciejowski refers to an interview with the artist Cezary Poniatowski in which he is asked the question “So what is painting to you?”. Maciejowski’s own answer to this question was to imagine a formula for creating a painting, that factored in time, the body of the painter, the stimulants taken and the weather. He described a set of conditions that convey a hard and prosaic pragmatism. A kind of mocking, of how ‘creativity’ may or may not occur – and this satirical tone does underlie some of the work he makes. Yet these things are also fact: the completion of a task is effected by the environment that it takes place in and the person who is undertaking it. But what is perhaps most important in this formula is the ‘time’. The time Maciejowski spends making a painting (which he does whilst listening to audio books to engage his conscious mind in another world, not the ‘content’ of the painting) is perhaps the reason why the skin he creates is emotional: as it is the expression of his own embodiment in that moment, and his own psyche, both conscious and unconscious. So these paintings, that are portraits of others, are perhaps also self-portraits too.
Maciejowski paints people in his life, scenes from the media, famous people, and artists, writers and other cultural figures. The paintings that reference other artists could be read as a form of institutional critique, as Maciejowski performs the act of reimagining moments of history and culture that interest and influence him. The choice of title of the exhibition – Unsettled Matters – is a conscious reference to an article about contemporary art that refers to the past. Often art that does this accumulates these references in a kind of constellation of self-validation, creating a hollow surface that looks like art but would collapse if these references were removed. In opposition to this, Maciejowski’s approach to the representation of these people is the same as his approach to painting a person he loves. The images he selects to paint are the accumulation of a vocabulary of how he experiences the world – a strange concoction of the banal and the sublime, like feeling painfully sad in a theme park.”