Wojtek Bakowski

LETO Gallery

June 18, 2008

Wojtek Bakowski
Are you going with me? –
Where? – In dark fuck!

OPENING:
JUNE 20, FRIDAY 7.00 P.M.
EXHIBITION:
21.06-14.07.08

http://www.leto.pl

A Small Kingdom. On Wojtek Bakowski’s Drawings.

The oeuvre of Wojtek Bakowski, although it is expressed through multiple media: performance, music, poetry, drawing, and animated movie, has one common denominator. On the one hand, it is extremely individualistic and bears an identifiable hallmark, an unmistakeable signature of the author. On the other hand, it is significantly varied internally. While a cursory glance at Bakowski’s art may show it as a monolith, each and every element of his creative arsenal develops independently. This characteristic “diversity in unity” can be observed in the ease with which the artist chooses his means of expression, always adjusting them to the current needs.

Wojtek Bakowski’s drawings made with a pen on a film tape give away his predilection for a naïve and vulgar direct relation with the world and facts. The series titled I have not glued all of this together yet is composed of curt observations of the small and rather uncomplicated world. Fragmentary images and texts (the titles of the drawings do not extend the field of signification but rather fit directly the drawn scenes and this simplicity contains both the humour and lyricism of the entire suite) are located at random upon the wall. They make up an image of a consciousness built of observations of facts of little significance, since an immature consciousness encompasses a hodgepodge of banality and the sublime, important or tragic situations, the concrete and the illusory. This consciousness, trained to discern details, sometimes acquires the ability to notice the whole – mapping it out, for instance, on a simple net, as in the drawing All is clear. The subject that Bakowski constructs is no one special but rather a simple street boy with an acute sense of judgement and a matching sense of humour.

The animation titled Are you going with me? – Where? – In dark fuck!, which lent the title to the entire exhibition, is dedicated to death. It is composed of a number of short histories told in a comic language with skewed grammar; they are told with gusto, but the same time with a sense of resignation in the face of inevitable cruelty. Childhood is full of such drastic events, but it is hard then to differentiate between their importance and the daily boredom. The immature narrator of the film takes the liberty to arrogantly intermingle clichéd morals, his own emotions, and social account, referring both to the opinion of adults and that of his friends. His outlook on the world centres precisely around the principles of a pack, the principles of a game that arrange the boy’s life into a series of risky tasks. The dialog that makes up the title is unpleasant and offensive, but likewise carries a promise of a dangerous adventure. The yard, as the prison, has its own secret rituals; it may not be a coincidence that Wojtek’s grey-bluish drawings made with a pen resemble primitive tattoos. Before a personality sets and adjusts to what the majority deem objective, it is “unglued” and fluid, becomes spontaneously blurred and incarnate; good and evil have hazy outlines.

Aesthetically, both the series I have… and the film Are you going with me?… should be seen as Bakowski’s most punk works. The exhibition presents also an animation He was so edgy he ate all the strawberries – a neurotic miniature dedicated to insomnia. The artist’s signature measures, such as soiling, “sludge”, a seeming uncouthness and austerity, reach their apogee here and are meant to re-adjust the viewer’s attention and sensitivity. Among the degraded aesthetics glisten intelligent abbreviations taken as if from a satirical drawing as well as tricks of the trade of painting. Applying an absolute minimum of means, Wojtek constructs a convincing subjective world that has a sizeable degree of autonomy with respect to the dominant Adult, Rational, and Moral World. This is a small kingdom that proclaims its sovereignty. This alternative reality is akin to childlike fantasies and therefore needs no other justification but an inner coherence. Bakowski creates a hyperreal world which is indifferent to psychology and sociology; he not so much stylises it but virtually creates it in its entirety.

The child, the underlying element of Wojtek Bakowski’s exhibition, is dangerous – the artist appears as a hooligan who can do whatever he pleases and who puts to question absolutely everything. He introduces his anarchistic style into the aesthetic and ethical order. Impoliteness is a synonym of this sensitivity. Thanks to it, it does without provocation and abuse (the narration of the Are you going with me? movie is completely free from strong language, contrary to reality, as it were), since the uniqueness of this meeting lies in its intensity rather than in superficial frills and whistles.

Bakowski bravely limits his tricks of the trade, which bears fruit in the multiplication of significations and a kaleidoscope of associations. Are you going with me? calls for a close and meticulous reading and, as literature, it is ideal for individual and concentrated reception. Only then can its potential develop to the full; the poetry accumulated in low-key images trickles into the eye that is open up to hazardous adventures.

Text: Michal Lasota

Wojtek Bakowski. Born in 1979, Poznań, Poland.
Graduate: Academy of Fine Arts – Poznań;
Diploma: Audioperformance in Studio of Audiosphere — prof. Leszek Knaflewski, 2005;
Animated movie in Studio of Animated Movie — prof. Hieronim Neumann, 2005.
Artist, poet, musician.
Author of: animated movies, videos, audioperformances, alternative music, drawings and graphics. From 2004 along with Konrad Smoleński and Piotr Bosacki member of the KOT group. Activity of KOT group: poetry, music, audioperformance.
Wojciech Bąkowski as Czykita is an autor of postrap music. He is member of PINKPUNK association
( http://www.pinkpunk.pl ).
Since 2007 along with Radek Szlaga, Tomasz Mróz, Konrad Smoleński and Piotr Bosacki, is a member of artystic group PENERSTWO.
Drawings and movies, fragments of radio plays and musical works:

http://www.myspace.com/wojciechbakowski

Production of KOT group:

http://www.myspace.com/grupakot

LETO GALLERY
Marta Kolakowska
ul. Hoza 9c, Warsaw, Poland
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http://www.leto.pl