Contemporary art Mikołaj Smoczyńsk

"Mikołaj Smoczyński was a painter, photographer, draughtsman, performance artist, and author of objects and installations. He was born on 22nd March, 1955, in Łódź, and died in Lublin on 2nd January, 2009.
He graduated from the State Higher School of Plastic Arts in Łódź (1974-75) and the Institute of Art Education at Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin (1975-79, diploma from Jan Popek's workshop). In 1984-85, he worked as a fellow at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, in Ryszard Winiarski's workshop. In 1979, he started teaching at the Institute of Art Education of his alma mater. Mikołaj Smoczyński was known for creating site-specific installations and black and white photographs resembling abstract paintings. In his works, he focused on the specifics of the material he was applying as well as on matters relating to place and space. The essence of his art lay in capturing an individual's experience in reference to reality in flux.
Smoczyński's early painting works were inspired by American abstractionists, predominantly Franz Kline. He also felt a strong affinity with such styles as minimalism and Arte Povera. 

 He only painted for a short period of time, after graduating from university. In the early 1980s, Smoczyński began producing objects that went past the definition of painting, but could not yet be described as installations. Installation art appeared later on in his practice, as an offshoot of his painting style, which had been elaborated into three-dimensional forms.
The artist decided to start documenting these altered states of space, considering photography to be the most appropriate medium for doing so. For a period of time, Smoczyński created installations in his studio, solely for the purpose of photographing them, such as in the series The Secret Performance. He carried out these kinds of actions during Martial Law. Being able to concentrate on a personal, internal experience allowed him to cut himself off from the unacceptable reality outside of his working space.

 At the same time, Mikołaj Smoczyński referred to himself as a realist, by which he understood the unearthing of that which is felt through art. For Smoczyński, the creative process began with an encounter with space, and most of all with its material structure, i.e. floor, walls, shapes.
From 1992 onwards, Smoczyński created installations that turned him into an architect of space – he didn't want to transform existing constructions, but to create brand new ones. In the process he used an actual construction material – suprema, which came in modules, suitable for shaping desired structures. The colour and texture of a construction are affected by light, which was the fundamental factor in all of the artist's works. Its dramaturgy exposed the rhythm of Smoczyński's realizations and took over the emerging forms.
Some of the works in which Smoczyński used suprema include Parallel Action (Akcja Równoległa), realized at the Stara Gallery in Lublin in 1992, and Temporary Con Temporary, made in the same year, at the ZPAP Gallery in Warsaw.

 In 2004, Smoczyński prepared an exhibition for the Labirynt 2 Gallery in Lublin titled Changing a Local Property (Zmiana właściwości miejscowej). In the lower level of the venue, he placed objects brought from his home – ones that bore special importance, as they were related to his personal history, or perhaps even intimate mythologies (such as the 19th-century icon of St. Nicholas which he had had since his birth). The upper section contained his sculptural creations – abstract and synthetic forms. Visitors were thus given a chance to relate the latter to the pieces displayed downstairs, i.e. those lying at the root of Smoczyński's oeuvre......"(Author: Ewa Gorządek, CCA Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw, December 2007; updated: November 2009. Translated with edits by AM, April 2015. )

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