Krzysztof Maniak "Snow is what comes to mind", exhibition in BWA Warsaw 2015
opening: 06.02.2016 at 19.00
6 February – 5 March 2016
ul. Jakubowska 16/3
Krzysztof Maniak, laureate of the 14th edition of Hestia Artistic Journey Competition, prefers the peace of Księży Forest near Tuchów to artistic parlours. He will present his latest self-portraits in nature at his solo exhibition at BWA Warsaw, entitled ”Snow is what comes to mind”.
Krzysztof Maniak is a non-standard personality, that is the least we could say. He was recognized very early, already during his studies, by curators, he presented his works for instance at the most important review exhibition of Polish Art “As You Can See” at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, and last year he was a laureate of Hestia Artistic Journey competition. Instead of seizing all opportunities that are offered to him, he returns to Tuchów, his home town near Tarnów. Maniak cannot operate differently: for him, an impulse to act is triggered by direct and long-lasting contact with nature. During the last year of his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, he even decided not to live in Kraków and travelled to the city only once a week. Similarly, when he spent a month in New York on a scholarship which he won at Hestia Artistic Journey competition, the background of his works created there were not legendary skyscrapers, but bushes in Central Park. Maniak admits with disarming sincerity that he prefers the peace of Księży Forest near Tuchów to artistic parlours, and treading forest paths and the touch of tree bark to talks with curators. People who see Krzysztof Maniak’s works for the first time may think that his art is a calculated strategy, meant to gain the reputation of an outsider, or, on the contrary – naivety. Can an adult man, who has completed his studies, seriously hug a blossoming rose-tree? Does he really record himself in a gesture of intimate relationship with snowberries? Our eyes and minds, those of recipients of contemporary art, are determined by scepticism towards anything we see, inherited from the times of Descartes. Little romanticism and belief in genuine human feelings has remained. We have conferred upon the artist the role of an analyst or sociologist rather than that of a poet, while we tend to read documentaries and political polemics rather than poetry. Krzysztof Maniak’s art values the local perspective more than the global one; he is interested in the here and now: the grass waving in the wind, colour changing in natural light, the texture and shape of stone.
Works from the cycle ”Snow is what comes to mind” are mainly self-portraits in nature. The artist depicts in a very direct way the records of his outdoor interventions. Krzysztof Maniak does not limit himself to images. The linguistic layer is equally important to him, as well as the ways in which we translate visual experiences into words. The result of his field work is photography and videos, as well as records which resemble haiku in their lapidary form and poetic character: “We simply turn back, because something has ended. Reverse gear, a fraction of the landscape in the rearview mirror. A steep way up, the wheels are slipping, a grinding sound, an inert, oval movement of the body. We departed in the final hours of a winter day. Violet sky, grey floppy snow in the ditch, not even a few square centimeters of clean surface. The glittering road, sticking to the shoes. Everything is closed. Remains of sun wipes on the bark of trees along the road. We will only reach our destination in the evening. We will drive through a larger city, introduced by billboards and advertisements. It will start with the smaller isolated ones, placed shyly near private houses, through ever larger ones, until we reach the gigantic ones several hundreds of meters away from the city centre. The black of the road, the black of the sky, the unwillingness to leave the warm car, to split, even to get off. One last stop, refuelling for PLN 50, a quick cigarette further away to avoid an explosion. Don’t leave without me. I can still make out the horizon. It’ s like gingerbread, warm. We trust the driver, he knows the better, emptier road, the shortcut. Music. Not now. Maybe when it has started raining. Drop by drop. From the moment when the wipes are activated till the water cascades drown the windscreen. Then whatever has accumulated throughout the day will be washed down. Will it be a warm rain? Every day is longer than the previous one. I have started a new piece of work, about snow.”
The opening of the exhibition, planned for 6 February in Warsaw, will also be an opportunity to discuss the latest works with the artist himself. They were created after his one-month residence in New York, completed thanks to the prize awarded in the Hestia Artistic Journey competition.
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