Marek Sobczyk “Painting without Metaphor/ Metaphor without Painting”

Monolog Molly Bloom, 2019, 50 cm x 70 cm, egg tempera on canvas

Association of a graphics with the Monologue from the end of Ulisses* which belongs to Molly. The sphere of Ulisses is still present to me, since reading the first Polish edition in 1969, when I was fourteen years old: a fairy-tale place, psychoanalysis, also substances and perfumes, smells, maybe present only in my experience characters, or the heart is beating like crazy, “Yes” as the end of all resistance.

* Stream of consciousness without punctuation marks, commas, full stops ends the book by repeating three times “Yes”. If in Ulisses it is stream of consciousness of individual characters, in the monologue of Molly Bloom as in Dubliners I feel stream of consciousness of more than one nation and as far as I can say so: also in myself, about myself.

– Molly in the monologue without a full stop without a comma goes all the way.

Painting: Dots, not all of them will hit the mushroom hats, they are in the flesh colour.

Metaphor: Do you feel the monologue? The completely not accidental journey for imagination and consciousness of Molly Bloom in the land of giant mushrooms. Inspired by a graphics in which a woman hiding under the mushroom hats smokes in the light and shadow of the Moon (as a metaphor); at the same time it is the praise of smoking**. Pink dots-commas, if accidentally, hit also the red hats.

** Using Psilocybin To Help Smokers Quit Cigarettes.

Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil [Cindy Sherman], (CINEMA cycle), 2019, 80 cm x 60 cm, egg tempera on canvas

Cindy Sherman performs the roles of  “all people descended from Eve and Adam”,  “Eve and Adam”, “the Snake”, “the tree of life, of “Křemílek and Vochomůrka” in redesigned by me graphics. The graphics has the caption The Peoples of the Earth are One Family  and  is by an American illustrator Ad Reinhardt to whom I have given a name of Reichhard (Reichhard is a Bavarian nickname for a brave or strong person). So with bravura and courageously he was solving with his drawings racial problems of America, illustrating the book The Races of Mankind by Ruth Benedict i Gene Weltfish. The bulbous human noses he drew remind me of non-human noses of Křemílek and Vochomůrka from the cartoon Pohádky z mechu a kapradí. Thanks to Cindy Sherman we are able to realise equalitarian phantasmagorias of the Amercian community. Only Cindy will make it credible, because only she could, through the identification, cast herself in all these roles: of the tree of life, of the Snake, of non-humans Křemílek and Vochomůrka as well as of each human race, Eve and Adam – of all people on  Earth as one family.

For the purpose of this painting from the CINEMA cycle we use two spectacles in one representation: a graphics of Ad Reinhardt* and multi-element performance of Cindy Sherman, acting in so many, so characteristic roles**.

*An abstract painter, the author of among others black, monochromatic abstractions (Abstract Painting No 5’) and of the illustration.

** As Eve in Eden in a two-piece, swimsuit-like costume (why is Eve suddenly dressed?), in Reinhardt’s illustration she has modestly lowered, closed eyes, in our picture she opens one eye and nevertheless winks at the snake – he will not need to tempt and hold an apple in his muzzle any longer. Differently Adam who stands with the eyes wide-open and a smile, with his nakedness obscured by a leaf.

– You can see it is a joke, that it is to be funny, Adam, Eve with the snake, all are smiling, except for those above, as they have no mouth. In theory everyone is equal, but these were deprived of their mouths. They cannot even protest, because they lack them. This Adam looks dumb, he has such a stupid face, a dumb smile, that’s exactly what I see, if you know what I mean. You said this picture is a complex one, and to me it seems to be the most obvious.

– I said that the argument itself is complicated, about  Křemílek and Vochomůrka, especially about Cindy Sherman.

Painting (Graphics): means used for the propaganda graphics of Ad Reichard, solving the racial issues and preceding the act abolishing racial segregation by 20 years, have been repainted by me in a rather loose way, but without losing their graphicness and precision.

Metaphor: Performance of Cindy Sherman allows to distance the described construct of the propaganda graphics, the efficiency of which we do not quite believe. At the same time it lends credibility to all characters involved, including the painter, by casting them in a representation which serves a good cause. The performance has a performative, causative effect: realises the goals and makes changes in the world of radical redefinition upon rereading.

Tienen Asiento [Aquatinta], (CINEMA cycle), 2019, 80 cm x 60 cm, egg tempera on canvas

Two mages blended in one picture allow us to trace the Goya’s composition and Picasso’s rol in it. Two women with chairs on their heads from the Goya’s graphics Ya tienen asiento  [They’ve Already Got a Seat], from the series The Caprices, in the technique of etching (lines) and aquatinta (planes). Goya might have meant here the stupidity of the ladies and the reversal of the meaning of the agreement with the world, “asiento”, “asientir” means both a “chair” and an “agreement”. The fragments from the Picasso’s composition with the group of women and men during the courtship (Nymphs and Satyrs) additionally reverse the senses. All the heads and one of the woman’s breasts have been taken from Picasso and have been integrated in Goya’s composition in my picture.

– After your explanation, and at first sight, this makes me think of enslavement. You can see by the faces of these men that they are not very clever people, and these women are so sad. And maybe they finally show their enslavement, their being placed in the situation of, even inaccurate and hasty fastening to a chair, in order to be captured by this men, for this men.

Painting: Wouldn’t the words: “a drawing made with a brush in such a way that it could remain painting” be better?

Metaphor: Aquatinta consits in etching a plane with a mild acid thus in the painting there are planes with inscriptions “aquatinta”.

THE YEAR OF SCULPTURE [The French and Constantin Brânçusi], 2020, 100 cm x 90 cm, egg tempera on canvas

„In painting the knowledge of basso continuo* has faded away long time ago; there is a need for an accepted theory of painting, as in music”.

*the Generalbass

Kandinsky quotes Goethe in The Blaue Reiter Almanac

A skylight illuminates from above the Parisian studio of ́ Brânçusi. From evening through night the music itself, or perhaps not so much the music, as the effects of the sounds, the vibrations, the illumination of the musical sensation, and in fact there is no other light. In his studio, sometimes in full daylight from above, there are several dozen of sculptures, including several unfinished columns, inspired by folk carpentry, by columns supporting porch roofings. Hence, perhaps, my association of this studio with the exhibition of his works I saw at the Centre Pompidou. A group of several dozen works surrounded by a rope, which, while walking around, I could see from all sides but as a group only. I couldn’t get between the works and I couldn’t view them individually, one at a time, separated from the others, each from either side. Figures on socles and socles on socles*. I’ve called this sensation: a socle on a socle, a socle on a socle – music.

*Brânçusi often used several socles for one sculpture, applying rhythm of sometimes different  solids. He also used to rhythmize similar elements, as in the Endless Column, stacked combination of pairs of truncated square pyramids with slightly rounded edges (which may resemble huge beads*). * the endless column begins and ends.

-You can see that the elements are somehow connected to each other, that the bases continue smoothly and that is musical, melodic, coherent.

Painting: Pink color refers to flesh, living tissue. At the organic level music vibrates, pulsates, it is not so much audible, as it’s detectable, perceivable through the vibrations in space.

Metaphor: It’s like the Generalbass: not so much audible, as perceptible and which is at the same time mathematics and instruction.

Community [Soul], 2020, 50 cm x 70 cm, egg tempera on canvas

The soul container has landed last.

– Exactly, you can see this kind of equal treatment, souls together with other waste, these symmetries, there are some clear lines, places dedicated to everything. Some kind of equality. This exchange: Painting without Metaphor and Metaphor without Painting, interchangeable. In every part there is such an equal treatment.

Painting: The recycling bins have different colours. Orange  containers for  natural substances: soul, paper, glass, black containers for plastic and household articles. The painting in this picture considers a  horizontal composition, but it does not consider a colour which after all could be different, couldn’t it?

Metaphor: Living in a world of waste and recycling concerns first of all of the soul, when it comes back free from the body back to the community, where it initially comes from. Within the framework of the painting, there was enough space to show the poles of painting “without” and of metaphor “without”. Probably everything concerned is in between*.

*- In our commune metaphor and painting are thrown into one container.

And in ours, they seem to be segregated.

Canisters Continents, 2020, 80 cm x 100 cm, egg tempera on canvas

– One would have to concern oneself very much with this image to pay attention to these notes (it is about those pop-ups painted in the picture Help / About us – MS). Perhaps it could reflect the sensitivity of viewers. It is certainly a somewhat frightening situation, all the continents, all six, have now come to an end, and they are a bit like in the mud. Maybe even the water that now we often lack, all people lack this water. I associate it a bit with something climatic, a kind of a climate catastrophe. Paying attention to some climate problems, and on the other hand, we can see what other people go through, who are theoretically, idealistically equal, but we do nothing about it. And maybe at a certain point warning people against it, because we live on Earth, not on any Mars, it can happen anywhere in the world we know unless we pay attention to it.

Metaphor: Such a bit of a combination of six people, Boat people, they are holding empty canisters to keep their heads protruding from the water. Six means six, canisters – continents.

Painting: Water and clothes are painted in Kassel Brown, the elements protruding from the clothes are painted pink, the specific living body of a refugee. Visible hands, feet, faces, these are fragments. The Help / About us windows seem to increase the helplessness and confusion of the refugees themselves – of the continents, a male/female painter, a male/female viewer.

Raster, (CINEMA cycle), 2019, 75 cm x 150 cm, egg tempera on canvas

Raster Gallery is in the painting. On its floor are quarters with glass skylights that illuminate some lower space. From the perspective of the floor, we see in the painting my (another) painting, fitted into one of the quarters*. The fitted image refers to Joesph Beuys action on Documenta V, when he promised a Fluxus member dressed in a Dürer costume who he met in the Fridericianum: Dürer, ich führe persönlich Baader + + Meinhof durch die documenta V; (Dürer **, I will personally transfer Baader ++ Meinhof through documenta V). The Red Army Fraction (RAF) case and tracking down people related to it was very relevant at the time. 

* I continue Beuys’ work, bringing the image related to his action to / through/ across a cultural scene: Raster Gallery in Warsaw, in Wspólna Street (this commonality).

** Do you gain access to the matters related to the cultural scene and terrorism by terrorising, kidnapping, murdering – treating it as a liquidation of the elements of the system organising and controlling the cultural scene?

– If this is a gallery, the promise, as I understand, has been kept. The painting is on the same level we walk on.

Painting: In the painting lying on the Raster Gallery floor, the repeated boards from Beuys’ action belong to Beuys, the repetition of Dürer’s Young Hare belongs to the painter. 

Metaphor: The perspective of the gallery floor shown from the perspective of viewers’ legs, a painting on the floor, there are no other works in the gallery space. When you are transferring an image to / across / through the cultural scene, you let it be walked on.

Marek Sobczyk Born on 30 November 1955 in Warsaw. In the years 1975-1980 he studied at the Faculty of Painting of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, where he obtained a diploma in the studio of Prof. Stefan Gierowski. Since 1983, he has been associated with the Warsaw artistic formation Gruppa and  has participated in all of its actions. From 1989, he has been involved in graphic design and typography (Zafryki studio with Piotr Młodożeniec till 2004), creating original typefaces. Since 1982, Marek Sobczyk and Jarosław Modzelewski have been several times engaged in painting together. Between 1990 and 1997, together with Jarosław Modzelewski, he ran the private Szkoła Sztuki / School of Art. He concerns himself with art theory and intellectual reflection on the fundamental problems of artistic creation. He has published: Course in Abstraction (1996) and after a year-long series of lectures at Zachęta – National Gallery of Art in Warsaw – Course in Sublimation (2006). He has been conducting a number of artistic projects: Research on the Brain in Poland (since 1979), Table What? Who? – With What? With Whom? (since 1998), Sexreligionpolitics (since 1999), Monuments of Discourse (since 2008), Around the Word “Atheism” (since 2009). Since 2003 he has been carrying out a multi-year project “Museum” in Quotation Marks. Together with Mateusz Falkowski he is the author of the concept and of the Manifesto of Gravity Cinema. In addition to painting, Sobczyk creates installations and spatial objects. In 1991 he made Simple Rainbow which stood in front of the Zachęta Gallery till 1993. Re-set in 2019, was removed in 2022 under a new director of the Gallery. In 2013 he became the laureate of the Jan Cybis Award.

Selected solo exhibitions (since 2011):

Research on the Brain in Poland [Complex Paintings], Academy of Fine Arts Gallery, Cracow
Twice Too Many Pictures [Research on the Brain in Poland],  aTak Gallery, Warsaw

Jémni, Polish Intitute in Prague
Wateizmrszateizmwateizm (actions with letters), the artist’s studio, Warsaw
Marek Sobczyk – Research on the Brain in Poland 1979-2012, BWA Gallery, Legnica; BWA Gallery, Jelenia Góra

|Marek Sobczyk. Research on the Brain in Poland 1979-2012,Książ Castle, Wałbrzych
Research on the Brain in Poland 1979-2013 [Pinacotheca], Dap Gallery, Warsaw (exhibition after winning the Jan Cybis Award)

|Human and Civic Rights of Artistic Means [Politics] (with J. Modzelewski), Wizytująca Gallery, Warsaw
Bau hau hau, Milano Gallery, Warsaw

“Museum” in Quotation Marks, Zachęta – National Gallery of Art, Warsaw

Table What? – What With? [Politics] (with J. Modzelewski), Center for Contemporaty Art Łaźnia, Gdańsk  
Around the Word “Atheism”, BWA Gallery, Gorzów Wielkopolski
Gravitation Cinema Exhibition and Workshop (with M. Falkowski), Gallery of the Faculty of Painting of the Academy of Fine Arts, Cracow
“Museum” in Quotation Marks [Works from Two Editions of the “Museum” from 2006 and 2015], Municipal Gallery Arsenał, Poznań

The Weight Loss Collection, Piktogram Gallery, Warsaw
Zero Tolerance for the Church, Zero Tolerance in the Church, Otwarta Pracownia Gallery, Cracow|
230×180, Contrast Gallery, Warsaw
Geography of Finnish Houses [Gravity Cinema Workshop] (with M. Falkowski), the Finnish houses in Jazdów, Warsaw
Wedding Called Off, Kronika Centre for Contemporary Art, Bytom
Eve of the Avant-Garde [Activities with Gravity Cinema] (with M. Falkowski), Institute for Polish Culture of the University of Warsaw, Warsaw

“Museum” in Quotation Marks [Work in Kielce], XS Gallery, Kielce

The Year of Sculpture, BWA Gallery, Zielona Góra
The Year of Sculpture [Work in Warsaw], Szydłowski Gallery, Warsaw
Simple Rainbow (1991-2019 Reconstruction), Małachowskiego Square, in front of the Zachęta – National Gallery of Art, Warsaw
Marek Sobczyk: 2015-2019 [The Longer Life of Every Picture] [Android], The City Gallery in Wrocław
CINEMA, Milano Gallery, Warsaw

Kuda Gierman (with J. Modzelewski), the Stefan Gierowski Foundation, Warsaw

Marek Sobczyk. Savvatokýriako [The Means of Art at the Weekend], Wizytująca Gallery, Warsaw (as a part of the Warsaw Gallery Weekend)

A Trip on the Wire [Polentransport], Muzueum Sztuki in Łódź
Working Mode [Shock] (with J. Modzelewski), SZOKART Art Gallery, Poznań