Release of Everlasting Somersault
November 17 – December 29, 2018
Curious how you portray half-light, iridescent in the lens after ecospeed.
To have a city. Never to enter it, not looking in to see what’s going on. Talking a mile a minute. Its heap observed. Like a cracking treasure trove. Peering from hilltops. Registering only the whole. Not focussing on each cog in the wheel, on every vibe. What the streets speak with, to open a mouth. Not sniffing around in what the street is brewing up. What the houses call that what the street is brewing up. To regard work as a bell, which is held by a rope, lowered by a swallow. Then waving at the swallow, to tell her something incomprehensible. This is definitely the context. And all of a sudden! Make a call. Call the swallow. Ask her to fly over a little closer. Give her your phone to hold. The swallow lets go of the rope. Ooops! All that’s left now is to ask her to call somebody, who knows about these things, who could come over in an unassuming looking older, maybe last year’s model jeep. To check whether this fallen bell, when it broke, it didn’t by chance break the city’s concrete. Or if the pipes still work. Maybe the fiber-optics shot out or the genes shifted. The swallow seems not to dwell over a breadcrumb of what is said to her. Ah, so this is how it is! Alas, tell the swallow that it was all a sham. There’s no one in the city. Nothing could have appeared more feeble than with the help of work, because no one’s there. The city is an empty grave. Old. Older than death and thinking about cosmos, in which death is constantly dressing up in. Not even a grave, but multiple graves. And in between them a mirror, that reflects the inside of the neighbouring grotto. Not even imitating the graves grotto which could eventually act as a mirror for someone. Meanwhile no one’s looking. People don’t dwell in grottos! They hide behind them. But they can’t take it. They stare incessantly. It’s not surprising. The eye is a much more complicated structure of parts, than that of the person looking through it. Perhaps it’s this type that’s hiding behind an impression, which imprints upon those entities that are being observed. Installing trapdoors in them. Secret, super old caves. It could be that these caves are empty, because they were abandoned. One because of the eye. One because of a glistening tear, opposite which a staring eye protrudes, which in turn has recognised in it its twin sister, although a more compressed version of paganism is being reflected, than that which the tear presents. But behind the tear lay a treasure trove. Perhaps its interior is a new body. Now religion. Dressed in a gown, imitating a starved body, you repair the jeep, which fell apart in the street, right in the middle of the hungry city. You’re being called by a well-known freemason from Poland, a producer of acidfolk trash, who makes extra on the side with conversations, just like this one. You turn him on loudspeaker mode. And you go on repairing, almost not listening. What are they doing to these listening devices, incoming mentor instructions from all over? Absolute halberdiers, or the jangling ghosts of gold chain landlords? It’s all clear; no. You’re scrambling under the bodywork, while a euphoric wailing blasts out of the phone placed on the bonnet, as if the voice has climbed out whole from the jaw, all naked, announcing, that you can easily observe it and get to know it from the inside. This telephone can sing! Left alone. Now singing what’s next:
Delightful it was, admit, to grow up in a puddle, to rot in the gym, in between walls, underneath the naked sky, without even a slither of reflection of one’s own greatness… so now climb into the centre of the earth, get into the first grain on the left, you’ll find the keys in the ignition. From the hanging keychain you’ll crawl into the puddle, everyone’s here already, you devil, they’re waiting for you.
-Andrzej Szpindler, Warsaw 2018
Nino Mier Gallery is pleased to announce its first solo exhibition of new works by Polish artist Tomasz Kowalski. Kowalski’s work is enigmatic in nature – strange yet familiar scenes host an array of mysterious narratives: each work an intricate tableau collected from a fragmented reality. Figures navigate through peculiar landscapes, their bodies changing with the environments around them, consumed by space. Kowalski presents several mediums at once: oils on canvas, works on paper and the addition of handwoven wool tapestries done in collaboration with his mother Alicja Kowalska, a master textile artist. His body of work draws from German Expressionism, New Objectivity, Surrealism and Transanvagardia, along with the influence of psychedelia and Postmodern literature, all which play with the subconscious and our perceptions while keeping a tether to non-abstract realms.
Kowalski often depicts figures on the fringes, some are barefoot, naked or dressed in rags – others melting into the walls, prone on the ground or crawling on the street. Despite their seemingly wretched state, there is also a shamanistic, magic quality to the figure’s ability to exist and manipulate their surroundings while in a constant state of change. One man’s limbs are multiplied and splayed while his soul hovers above, is he reproducing or distributing units of information? In another particularly striking tapestry, we see a Giorgio de Chrico-like metaphysical dreamscape. As we peer through a colonnaded atrium strewn with rubble, a single, massive eye glares back through the open ceiling above, while a row of gleaming white teeth appears in the reflecting pool below, as if an all-powerful giant god has suddenly crashed into his pagan house of worship.
In Kowalski’s hallucinogenic world, there is a prevailing sense of darkness and urban anxiety, and the swirling color certainly recalls Edvard Munch’s iconic oeuvre. In one work, a man walks along the street drawing stares, seemingly unaware that his chest is gaping with hollows, his body excavated to echo the horror of a screaming face. In another painting, two figures, perhaps father and son, melt down into the street gutter, embracing each other as their arms liquefy into flesh-toned puddles. Another work features a man-like rat, mimicking the seated pose of Rodin’s Thinker - placing the rat on the same plane as human city-dwellers.
Tomasz Kowalski, born in 1984, lives and works in Warsaw and Szczebrzeszyn. He works in paint, installation and sound and regularly collaborates with members of his family to produce works. His interests lie in the discrete hauntological aspects of the everyday, presented through parallel multiple narratives centered around the figure which dips in and out of Kowalski's vision. Solo exhibitions include Tomasz Kowalski, at the Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis, A chimney sweeper on the church roof at Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowskie Castle, Warsaw. His works have featured in group shows in Museum Of Modern Art, Warsaw, Centre Pompidou, Paris, MUMOK, Wien, Kunsthalle Wien, S.M.A.K. Ghent, De Appel Amsterdam. His works appear in collections of Centre Pompidou, Paris, MOCAK, Cracow, and MUMOK, Wien among others.