BWA Warszawa
BWA Warszawa
"It hurts when I laugh"
05.07.2019 - 14.09.2019
Martyna Czech, Leszek Knaflewski "We have nothing in common"
25.05.2019 - 30.06.2019
FOAF 2019: BWA Warszawa hosting Gianni Manhattan (Vienna) + Kristina Kite (LA)
06.04.2019 - 11.05.2019
Witek Orski "I would prefer not to talk about this"
14.02.2019 - 30.03.2019
Between Salvation and Constitution
11.11.2018 - 05.01.2019
WGW 2018: Agnieszka Brzeżańska, Jan Dobkowski, Zuza Krajewska "Goddesses"
21.09.2018 - 27.10.2018
Jadwiga Sawicka "Protest Reflex"
23.06.2018 - 31.07.2018
Ewa Ciepielewska "Emotional Support Animals"
12.05.2018 - 16.06.2018
FOAF: Jiří Thýn, Piotr Makowski, Witek Orski, "Line"
07.04.2018 - 28.04.2018
Adam Adach "Demos and Demons"
03.03.2018 - 04.04.2018
Agnieszka Kalinowska "Heavy Water"
27.01.2018 - 28.02.2018
WGW 2017: Yann Gerstberger, Sławomir Pawszak, Hanna Rechowicz "The Uses of Enchantment"
22.09.2017 - 25.11.2017
WGW2017: WYKWITEX
22.09.2017 - 24.09.2017
"Living in a Material World" Paweł Dudziak, Adrian Kolerski, Michał Sroka, Eliasz Styrna, Katarzyna Szymkiewicz
02.09.2017 - 16.09.2017
Małgorzata Szymankiewicz "Stretching of Concepts"
27.05.2017 - 29.07.2017
Ruben Montini "One Person Protest"
27.05.2017 - 27.05.2017
Wielka 19 Gallery
04.03.2017 - 06.05.2017
THE DYNAMICS OF DECLINE
28.01.2017 - 25.02.2017
Witek Orski & Maria Toboła "Spinning sex"
17.12.2016 - 14.01.2017
WGW 2016: Karol Radziszewski "Ali"
23.09.2016 - 19.11.2016
Small Sculptural Forms
19.06.2016 - 10.09.2016
Sławomir Pawszak "Heat"
12.03.2016 - 28.05.2016
Krzysztof Maniak "Snow Is What Comes To Mind"
06.02.2016 - 05.03.2016
Lada Nakonechna, Zhanna Kadyrova "Experiments"
05.12.2015 - 30.01.2016
WGW 2015: Ewa Axelrad "Minimum, Necessary, Objectively Reasonable"
25.09.2015 - 21.11.2015
Małgorzata Szymankiewicz "Postproduction"
26.06.2015 - 12.09.2015
Joanna Janiak, Piotr C. Kowalski "The Nature of Things"
25.04.2015 - 13.06.2015
Iza Tarasewicz "Reverse Logistics"
14.02.2015 - 19.04.2015
Karol Radziszewski "In the Shadow of the Flame"
29.11.2014 - 04.02.2015
WGW: Olga Mokrzycka-Grospierre, Nicolas Grospierre "A Glass Shard in the Eye"
26.09.2014 - 22.11.2014
Jadwiga Sawicka "Fragments of Stories"
24.05.2014 - 24.07.2014
Jakub Woynarowski "Saturnia Regna"
15.03.2014 - 17.05.2014
Sławomir Pawszak „Cannabis, whisky, ananas” BWA Warszawa
11.01.2014 - 08.03.2014
The Gardens. Laura Kaminskaite, Augustas Serapinas
23.11.2013 - 19.12.2013
Agnieszka Kalinowska "Eastern Wall"
27.09.2013 - 16.11.2013
Zuza Krajewska "Solstice"
29.06.2013 - 14.09.2013
WITHERED, Kisterem Gallery, Budapest
21.06.2013 - 15.08.2013
LITTLE WARSAW "Enter"
25.04.2013 - 21.06.2013
“Warsaw: The Day After..." Vartai Gallery, Vilnius
11.04.2013 - 11.05.2013
Self-Organization, vol.2: New Roman
23.03.2013 - 20.04.2013
Ewa Axelrad "Warm Leatherette"
26.01.2013 - 20.03.2013
Self-Organization, vol. 1. Certainty
05.01.2013 - 19.01.2013
Ziemilski / Marriott / The End of the World
21.12.2012 - 21.12.2012
Kama Sokolnicka "Rusty elements of our garden"
28.09.2012 - 30.11.2012
"ALPHAVILLE" Griffin Artspace, Warsaw
28.09.2012 - 30.12.2012
Krystian TRUTH Czaplicki "The Changeling"
21.07.2012 - 09.08.2012
Adam Adach "Reprezentacja"
21.04.2012 - 07.07.2012
Małgorzata Szymankiewicz, Przemek Dzienis "Sub Pop"
25.02.2012 - 14.04.2012
Nicolas Grospierre "The Bank"
03.12.2011 - 11.02.2012
Tribute To Fangor
05.11.2011 - 20.11.2011
"New Order", Art Stations, Poznań
29.09.2011 - 09.02.2012
Wojtek Ziemilski "New Order" performance
23.09.2011 - 24.09.2011
Agnieszka Kalinowska „Extinguished Neon Signs”
10.09.2011 - 30.10.2011
Jarosław Fliciński "Nobody Knows That For Sure"
25.06.2011 - 28.08.2011
THE OPENING "Plundering the Ruins of Reality"
07.05.2011 - 11.06.2011

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Sławomir Pawszak „Cannabis, whisky, ananas”

Sławomir Pawszak, one of the most intriguing artists of the young generation (received his diploma from the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts in 2008), is making his debut under the flag of BWA Warszawa. His newest paintings are the result of his fascination with American and Polish rap music (the title of the show is taken from the lyrics of rap group WWO and their song "Jeszcze przyjdzie czas"). His abstract forms are replete with the sort of reminiscent attitude characteristic for hip-hop rhymes, the intersecting of themes, a saturated, Baroque form. The indirectly referenced hip-hop aesthetic is combined with the traditions of abstract painting. In describing the process of creating these paintings, the artist says, "What's important for me is the concept of flow, a category borrowed from hip-hop. It's a state in which you know exactly what to do, something like inspiration, only less capricious. I think this state can be almost permanent. Flow is when you carry out your work with ease, laid back, at peace with yourself. When what you do comes naturally and instinctively, and brings on pleasure".

– What is the meaning behind the title "Cannabis, Whisky, Ananas?"

- It's from the chorus of song by the (Polish hip-hop group) WWO. A classic hip-hop track. These are the symbolic attributes of the success of a fulfilled rapper, dreaming of the good life and of peace. He's aware there's a great deal of work ahead, but he also knows that he will have the opportunity to rest and gather the fruits of his labor. Cannabis, whisky, ananas (pineapple) are the rewards he has in store. All the works in the show were made in 2013. I listened to American rap while painting most of them. It was a nice way to pass the time. I sort of painted to the rhythm of hip-hop music. Through the paintings I attempted to relay the vibrant dynamic and the ethereal ambiance of the music, and the good mood I was in. I thought about what I was doing as a sort of hip-hop freestyle. The hip-hop aesthetic fascinates me. It's about excess and high contrast, an impossible combination of ideas and symbols, and a baroque form. It's an interesting area to explore, a mix of the freshness and visual abundance of form with basic kitsch. Like the method adopted by rappers who find truth in describing their own personal experiences in their lyrics, I painted pictures about what's closest and most familiar to me, that is, about my own life, in which painting itself plays a major part.

- Did you graduate from the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts? Is that where you became a painter?

- No, the Academy gave me the opportunity to get to know people who, to paraphrase the title of one of Paweł Sysiak's paintings, "believed in art with all their hearts". They were actively interested in contemporary art, we spoke about it all the time, we traveled around Europe to see exhibitions. I was more inspired by my acquaintance with people like Kasia Przezwańska, Tymek Borowski, Paweł Śliwiński, more so than by any professor's critique. As for painting, I'd started much earlier. When I was young, I would draw a lot and my parents signed me up for art classes at the Palace of Culture and Science. Later my enthusiasm waned, in the middle of elementary school. In high school I started again, girls from my classes would pose for me, it was very entertaining and I fondly remember those days. Then came the time to choose a subject at university. It was then that I realized that painting was something I was best at. My third year of studies was crucial. We were very critical of ourselves, we thought that nothing could be done for its own sake, that in art everything has to have a bigger, more elevated purpose. I realized that I was painting in the manner of Tuymans/Sasnal and there was nothing good to come of it. The problem with Sasnal was the fact that the subject of his paintings is what interests any young person with an interest in culture: contemporary history, social issues, politics, heroes of our times, the scope of the universe. At the time I believed that art has to refer to one of these issues. I understood, however, that there is no point in telling the same story and I decided to swerve in the other direction. I started by taking a closer look at the very process of my painting and I soon realized that I most liked my work when it had just begun, when it wasn't yet clear what was it was meant to depict. That's when I first dared to leave a painting incomplete, remaining "underpainted". I asked myself the simple question of why I would need to polish it if it already looked good as it was. Finishing a painting suddenly seemed like a useless convention. This is how I started painting sparing, minimalist compositions on a white background.

- Do you still paint from photographs?

- Today my paintings are no longer minimalist, but they still come about based on photographs. It looks like this: I find unusual photographs on the Internet, strange, colorful, shocking, etc... When I collect a dozen or so, sometimes a few dozen, that I find revolve around a particular subject that interests me, I make a collage of sorts and then I paint it. I fuse it into a single composition. When working on some recent paintings, I mostly collected photos of rappers, their lovers, dancers, photos from their live concerts, music video stills, shots from their private lives, their jewelry, clothes, food... These are some colorful characters, figuratively and literally. The whole hip-hop scene is wild, there's a lot to work with.

- So does this mean your paintings are to some extent an illustration of something? Are the subjects of the photographs presented in a guise that is more or less deformed?

- It varies a great deal. Some things appear as a whole, others in parts. They overlap, vary in scale and perspective, they are blurred or stretched. Sometimes I'm painting one thing and start to see something else in it, such as chocolate, and I so I try to make the thing more like chocolate. So that it's something between what it actually is and chocolate. I know how strange this sounds.

- How exactly does the music you listen to affect you. Does a painting done to the rhythm of Azaelia Banks appear different to that of (Polish hip-hop artist) Sokoła?

- To some minor extent yes, music adds a rhythm to my work, even in how I move about the studio. It seems like nothing, but there is certainly something about it that remains within the work. When you stand before a big blank canvas, which is appealing in and of itself, it's hard to take that first step. You need a stimulus, one that will allow you to break up that harmonious composition.
Music is just right for this. Sometimes I listen to classical music while I paint. Some time ago I constantly listened to Wagner's "Der Ring des Nibelungen". Wagner is spectacular, some would say, ostentatious. A bit like the Jay-Z of his time.

- Were you ever afraid that this sort of inspiration would be considered infantile or simplistic among art circles?

– I don't worry about that anymore. When I began to show my minimalist paintings a few years ago, they were met with a fair degree of interest. As they became more and more explosive, unpalatable, I knew that they didn't appeal to the tastes of certain people because they weren't prim and proper. If you're making abstract art in the 21st century you can be sure that what you listen to shouldn't impact your image. I know perfectly well that I can't make certain people like what I'm doing. Anyway, it depends which circles you're talking about, some time ago MSN (Museum of Contemporary Art) put on a great show of new artists and curators, titled "Nie ma sorry" (There's no sorry), which was a reference to the lyrics of (Polish hip-hop artist) Tede. They even invited him to perform, but he didn't get the idea and turned it down.

- When did you begin listening to hip-hop?

- Not too long ago, when I started University. Wait a second, I started University a while ago...

- But you identify with the culture? You go to concerts and so on?

- No, can you believe I've never been to a hip-hop concert? You know why? Because I'm afraid of clashing with the reality of it. I prefer to maintain my own romantic vision of this milieu than to attempt to verify it. There are a few extremely talented rappers. This is the voice of the streets, folk poets, and my affinity for them is an expression of my own "folk-mania". I'm interested in this sort of folk wisdom, but I'm not necessarily looking to find a place for myself within it.

- As part of your show at BWA Warszawa, you speak explicitly of your fascination with this subculture.

- I'm interested in subjects that (Polish) art doesn't discuss. I wanted to do a group show about hip-hop with artists who regularly listen to the genre and use it in their art in various ways, as a source of inspiration or a filter through which they see things.
For me, the hip-hop concept of flow is important. It's a state in which you know exactly what you're doing, something like inspiration, but not as capricious. I think this state can be almost permanent. Flow is when you work with ease, freely, at one with yourself. When what you're doing comes naturally and instinctively, and it gives you pleasure. Of course, to do something instinctively doesn't mean to do it thoughtlessly. As I paint, the whole time I'm making an effort to control the image, to focus. I detest naïve art, scribbles, streams of consciousness, the expression of emotions through finger-painting.

- Do you sketch before painting?

- No, never. I used to, but I would burn myself out by the time I finished the sketch. In my case, the mechanical transfer of a sketch onto a canvas doesn't work, the energy is gone. I simply didn't want to paint the same thing twice. For me, the moment when I approach a blank canvas is numbing. This stark white rectangle is plainly beautiful and I'm always afraid to ruin it. The start of a painting is an act of destruction, I have to destroy something to create something. I have to make it through that critical moment, to begin arranging things that are meant to appear on the canvas, to begin creating some sort of order. It's very important not to let this moment fly by.

– When do you know for sure that a painting is finished?

- I just feel it, although recently I've had a problem with this. It so happens that I come back to a painting that I thought was finished and I start to tweak the details. Through such details you can go deeper and deeper into a painting.

- You mean you don't make a painting in one go?

- Nearly never. On the first day I create a so-called backbone. When I feel I have the painting under control, I can ease off, I no longer have to be so aggressive towards the canvas. The second, alternative option is for me to mess up the canvas and have to throw it out the next day. I find that paintings are not forgiving, I can't just blot out or cover up something that didn't work out.

- Do you have a formula to describe your style of painting? Not long ago you were associated with the group of artists "tired of reality", perhaps because you studied with Tymek Borowski and Paweł Śliwiński, whom you're still friends with.

- I never tired of reality. On the contrary. I'm completely at odds with the poetics of so-called magical realism. That's not my scene, even if I wanted to I wouldn't be capable of creating imaginary worlds, filling them with deformed figures, skeletons in top hats marching along. It would be deceitful, there was never a speck in me that longed for magic. It's another thing altogether to appreciate the paintings of Ziółkowski or Śliwiński, but what draws me to them is not quite their oneiric spirit, but rather the playfulness and nonchalance that spills over into impudence.

- If it isn't "tired of reality", then what is it? How can we describe you? Perhaps the strongest element of your new pictures calls attention to the idea of toying with something that is alarming aesthetically, mashing pop culture (hip hop) with the traditional motions of abstract art.

- I do indeed think that what I find most appealing about painting is taking an aesthetic risk. I consider what I do to be a pursuit of something new rather than a game with the old. I'm looking for a piece of available space for myself somewhere on the edge of abstraction and the intensity of hip-hop culture. I'm not interested in making references to the past, that is to say, of course tradition has its impact on what I do because it has to, but that's not the subject of my work. In making art the most important thing for me is the awareness that I'm doing something I enjoy and I'm not afraid of ridicule. When I paint, I feel a flow and I hope that flow comes through in my work.