Painting of Jaroslaw Kukowski- Bartlomiej Garbaczewski
Iconography referring to the present time and oscillating between hyper- and surrealism - is the shortest definition of Jaroslaw Kukowski's painting. It takes more than a few words to describe his artistic work. In order to do that, I will use the most characteristic of his works... read more →
In Jaroslaw's works, one the frequent elements is a degenerated, sometimes only modified, bodily form. Skin-like mantises, tank-penises, putta mutants - they all are, in my perception of his work, derision of the cult of the body, which dominated modern world. Naturally, they slightly differ semantically in various contexts, but they could generally be thus described.
In Elements of Betrayal (Elementy Zdrady) these forms are associated with something disgusting. Kukowski could have painted beautiful bodies in a passionate embrace - he is capable of doing that (enough to look at the series of Frescos). The title would have said everything anyway. But the artist did not want to show the surface of the act itself, but the consequences of it and its moral overtones. Thus betrayal does not have to be associated with sexual sphere only (though it obviously is the first connotation), but it gains general meaning (the betrayal of a friend, of one's country or ideals etc.). The iconographic elements are quite unequivocal in this case - first of all, dry, leafless trees. Similarly, fleshy, slimy creatures with heads resembling penises do not require elucidation. This painting seems to cry at the recipient very harshly: "There is nothing cool about betrayal! It's a disgusting crap!"
Important, though underappreciated, paintings in the artist's output (ambitious works are usually underappreciated by the wider circle of recipients) are: Polska and the untitled work presenting masses of little creatures resembling Teletubbies - all of them gazing at a large home cinema screen.
The first work is an excellent insight into our country. Poland is just such an undeveloped Pegasus-centaur, whose miniature wings cannot take high enough to reach an apple symbolizing here the paradise fruit. But the apple does not signify the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but simply wellbeing and development - a modern earthly paradise. Where does such a degeneration of Pegasus-centaur come from, such a sad mutation in consequence? A perceptive observer of our socio-political life surely knows well. The rest does not bother to know. It is a very critical look at Poland and a definitely accurate conclusion.
The painting symbolically called Teletubbies shows the kind of havoc television wreaks in our world today. Even more widely, not just television but media in general that are symbolized by home cinema. Figures that appear on the wide screen have anuses instead of mouths. And here, on one hand we observe the directness of the artist, and on the other hand, the creation of certain connotation. Since these figures on the screen represent the modern so called television celebrities. I will not give names, but anyone who does not live in a wilderness and has been in touch with the media for the last ten years, knows who it is about. Kukowski does not only criticize the media however. We can see a few creatures with religious symbols sticking out of their heads on the painting foreground. One of these "Teletubbies" has a conspicuous blooded bandage painted over his head. If we look closer, then we can see that in fact all of the creatures, not only these in the foreground have bandages instead of symbols. Each one of them had had some principles, some system of beliefs, a hierarchy of values, but all of them got rid of it for the sake of crap served by the media, with television in the lead. The painting is a warning: "Media become a false, empty and a destructive idol!"
The cycle of Frescoes mentioned in passing represents not only female acts finely done, but is also a reflection over passing of time, which is shown by skillful (alluding to illusionistic painting) imitation of chips of plaster. It looks like an attempt at joining ancient or at least renaissance wall painting with modern, photographic act.
Jaroslaw Kukowski's art is usually defined as controversial. I think this definition is not right. It surely is politically incorrect. Unfortunately, in our times everything that is politically incorrect is called "controversial", sometimes much harsher words are used, and it is condemned in chorus. If it is politically correct then it is praised as innovative and profound, irrespective of its crudeness and iconoclasm. Jaroslaw Kukowski alludes to the rich heritage of artists who looked at reality as critically more than once (for example Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Honor?Victoryn Daumier or Francisco Jos?Goya y Lucientes). Moreover, he has respect for technique and form, as opposed to "art" served in galleries of modern art and propagated by media today, "art" that has dropped form and technique for flashiness, nonsense and pseudo-philosophy made up to cover the lack of skill.
Jaroslaw Kukowski is a young representative of a good old school of painting. The fact that in many ways it is not art for everyone, and definitely not for full time art critics, is actually it's great merit.
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Jaroslaw Kukowski Biography- Maria Dziopak
Jaroslaw Kukowski (Poland) - he was born in 1972. He has been painting since youth. His public debut was in the Gdansk "Stara Laznia" Gallery in 1994. In his early works it is possible to notice the attempt to analyze the world and life against psychological background... read more →
The artist's work is directed towards the in-depth study of human nature. His work is the world of surrealistic creatures, which disturb the spirit of sensitive observer. In his work we can notice the grotesque and mockery of imperfections of life, and sense the signals of danger and threat. His view on life sometimes seems to be very drastic and exaggerated. Death, conflagration, disaster are frequent elements of his artistic reality.
The work presented refers to the process of creation but it can be noticed that during the painting process emotions and impressions go beyond the artist's initial vision and such painting could have a number of titles. Kukowski is a master of drawing, he works in a classical way, he paints by scumble. He does it very skillfully. There are symbolic elements in his work, which can trigger contradictory reactions of the audience.
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Master's thesis- Bartlomiej Kordowski
"Surrealism in Polish contemporary art. The artistic output of Zdzislaw Beksinski, Jaroslaw Kukowski and Wojciech Siudmak". One of the most remarkable and meaningful personages of world of art, not only in Poland, but also abroad is Jaroslaw Kukowski. This modern artist was born on 11 April 1972 in Tczew... read more →
He presented his works for the first time in 1994 in the "CSW Stara laznia" gallery in Gdansk. That year he exhibited three more times - in Starogard Gdanski, Gdansk and Skarszewy. In the following years he presented his paintings several times, for example in Warszawa,in the 'SD' gallery with which he cooperates up until today, but also in Lodz and Krakow. In 2002 he took part in a collective exhibition called 'Polish Surrealists' in the Panorama shopping centre in Warszawa. Among the presented works, there were also paintings of Zdzislaw Beksinski, Tomasz Setowski, Jacek Yerka, Karol Bak, Jacek Lipowczan and Rafal Olbinski . In the same year, Jaroslaw Kukowski's works were also exhibited in 'ARTEXPO' in New York. From that day he has been also exhibiting in Denmark, Germany and Canada. In 2008 the artist's paintings were also shown in a series of exhibitions in the United States in Miami, Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles.
Jaroslaw Kukowski deals with oil painting, but also drawing. The essential feature of his work is a high level of workshop and using a painting effect called 'trompe l'oeil' (fr. - optical illusion). This illusionistic painting allows the painter not only to put an incredible reality to objects and people, but also to create depth of image. Three-dimensionality of representation and a precise elaboration of the smallest details allows the viewer to immerse in a different reality, almost touch it. Apart from realistic or hyper-realistic works there are also different, of a more 'economic' form. The idea of the paintings is conditional mostly upon content. In his works he raises social and culture topics. "To take a breath and rest" he also takes on slightly lighter issues and paints images seen in his dreams.
A few cycles composes the artistic output of Kukowski. One of these cycles are the 'Un-dreams' ('Nie-sny'). These works are dominated by simplified persons reminding plasticised creatures, sometimes they transform into obscure anthropomorphic monsters or deformed embryos. The form of these creatures repels with its limitedness and perversion, but it also intrigues. Their deformation is a result of an internal and physical pain. 'Mutated, deformed personages in the 'Un-dreams' series do not show the ugliness of human being as it often is interpreted. Although, it cannot be concealed that in the kingdom of animals one can meet more lusty animals than we are. (...) the deformations are the result of suffering.' . It also is, as it was claimed by Bartlomiej Garbaczewski, an act of taunting the cult of body. Disseminated, mostly by the media, canon of beauty - slim women with unnaturally big breasts and silicone lips and muscular men - causes that people want to become such ideals. It is also visible in the proportions of manikins, toys to which we converge to and often ridicule. Kukowski approaches the issue with a lot of irony and wit. In the painting called 'Waiting for a lover' ("Czekajac na kochanka") the painter showed a deformed, lying personage of a woman-mermaid. Her massive body bolstered on her elbow with slightly bent legs, spills on the floor under the influence of the weight. Legs, knitted from knees down, transform into a fin. They look like carrot roots which often are associated to women's hips and thighs. The head in proportion to the rest of her body is very small. The author emphasised woman's physiognomic features maintaining an element of eroticism. The seductive goddess is here a fat, not attractive lady.
Kukowski successfully uses the image of the mermaid also in a different matter. For some time, he has been interested in an expression form called trite. An example of this topic is his work called 'Little Mermaid - Happy Ending' ("Mala Syrenka - Szcze?liwe zakonczenie"), which comes from the 'Dreams' ("Sny") cycle. It is an eagle-eye view. The mermaid emerges from the pool. She touches her hair in a passionate way. Her fin is visible under the shallow floe of water. At the bottom, the composition is cut by a masculine hand which passes the woman a drink.
The author with a photographic precision illustrates each detail - drops flowing off the woman's body or refraction of light on the surface of the water. This idealized scene is maintained in a realistic, yet a bit - consciously - redrawn idea. The succulent colours intensify the idyllic character of the view. 'Exceeding the boarders of a good taste is a really great fun. A lot better than breaking taboo subjects forcefully once again. Sometimes, while redrawing coloration of a work, simplifying it in a painting way one can smuggle particular contents. For example, if treat a Windows XP wallpaper in an over-painted way which was used as a background for an image presenting Russian attack on Georgia, it will not be recognizable. If paint the mermaid emerging from the pool precisely according to the rules of XIX - century academism, the painting will lose its influence strength and a provocative character.'
A different image of a woman's body is shown in the 'Frescoes' ("Freski") cycle. These are much more subtle paintings. Thematically, acts predominate in these paintings and one can also find dead nature, portraits and landscapes. What connects the paintings is the fresco from and the effect of one image emerging from the other one. Kukowski created space suggestion on a two-dimensional surface. This illusionistic method consists in painting a flaking and scrapped paint under which there is another painting. Such works are usually maintained in a warm, greenish hue.
The 'Fresco nr 47' ("Fresk nr 47") illustrates a young woman lying on her side, turned with her back against viewers. The act is put in an undetermined space. The image is disturbed by paint decrements. At the bottom of the picture one can see the hidden layer of the work - dead nature. The 'Fresco nr 46' ("Fresk nr 46") presents an older man, while the bottom layer is covered by a landscape. The sense of these works is linked with passing, shortness of human life and physical beauty. These compositions, by recalling the evanescence of reminiscing, create a melancholic mood.
Jaroslaw Kukowski deals also with social issues. He takes on topics which are often directly referred to our reality. 'Poland and the people are my inspiration'. In the oil painting called 'Mantises' ("Modliszki") the author presented two sitting persons opposite each other. The table which is between them is covered with a checked white-green oilcloth. A bottle of vodka, a filled vodka glass, a glass and slices of bread are on it. Between the people, on a wall, in a small and shallow recess we find a bas-relief - a piece of Polish emblem. Both persons have a shape of the title mantises. Their bodies and necks are elongated, just like their arms. Deformed hands are almost as long as the arms. Their small heads are looking at each other. Only their stomachs are massive and heavy. Next to one of the persons there is a plane ticket. This work is surely about emigration in our country which is present even now. Its symbolic character is a form of critic directed to national authorities. None of the persons on the painting is happy. They seem to be helpless and have accepted their fate. This is their fare-well meeting on which they make a toast to a better future.
There is a reason that the artistic output of Jaroslaw Kukowski is connected with surrealism. The aesthetics of this trend is visible in many paintings by Kukowski. The artist often puts unrealistic personages into a realistic scenery or he reverses the situation by putting people in a distant, fantastic landscapes. An example of such solution in which the atmosphere is the most important factor, while the artist's imagination takes the viewers into a super-realistic world, is the painting from 2009 (without any title). It is a wide landscape visible from the eagle-eye view. It presents a floe of a lake among rocks. The stony deserts stretches up to the horizon. Over one of the tips of the walls there is a floating irregular rock from which water is dripping. At the top of the composition there is a stone shelf with a young person on it. However, what we only see are the legs of this person, her feet and tips of her fingers holding the base of the rock. This virgin unexploited landscape emanates calmness. The atmosphere of the painting makes us want to contemplate, but it also provokes an internal meditation-like silence. We can easily personate the person sitting on the rock, the roof of the super-realistic world.
Kukowski's works connect with surrealistic poems, it can be in particular seen in 'Dreams'. However, the artist does not think of it as his most important cycle. 'Paintings from 'Dreams' have usually a decorative character. Some of them have a certain hidden meaning or a provocative element like, for example, mermaids, but a strong emphasis on form connects them all. After painting an image of a very heavy topic it is a relief to work on a painting in which one can simply smooth two buttocks with your brush' . The second pole for the mentioned cycle are works characterised by a heavy topic - 'Un-dreams" to which apart from 'Mentises' belong such works as 'Poland' ("Polska"), 'Who gave me wings?' ("Kto dal mi skrzydla?"), 'New Millenium' ("Nowe Millenium") and 'Water drop people' ("Ludzie z kropli wody"). Kukowski is a carefull observer of human nature - both external and internal, personal. He is a sensitive artist with a rich imagination and he also uses a perfect workshop. In spite of this, while working on a new painting he searches for new formal solutions. His art is not restricted to realism only. It is the topic in a form of a pretext that determines the painting language.
other pages referring to the artist's work: Jaroslaw Kukowski Wikipedia Jaroslaw Kukowski Wikipedia Jaroslaw Kukowski Recenzja Jaroslaw Kukowski Youtube Jaroslaw Kukowski Jaroslaw Kukowski Surrealizm Jaroslaw Kukowski Surrealizm Jaroslaw Kukowski Juror Art Competition Jaroslaw Kukowski- All Art Jaroslaw Kukowski Polish Surrealism Jaroslaw Kukowski Jaroslaw Kukowski Price Jaroslaw Kukowski Price Jaroslaw Kukowski Cena Jaroslaw Kukowski Price Jaroslaw Kukowski Cena Jaroslaw Kukowski Cena
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