BWA Warszawa
BWA Warszawa
WGW 2019: BOWNIK "Colours of Lost Time"
20.09.2019 - 16.11.2019
"It hurts when I laugh"
05.07.2019 - 11.09.2019
Martyna Czech, Leszek Knaflewski "We have nothing in common" BWA Warszawa
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”
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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Martyna Czech, Leszek Knaflewski "We have nothing in common"

And so we began to remind ourselves of the animals whom God hadn’t created for some reason or another. He overlooked so many birds, so many animals for life on Earth. Ultimately, Marta said that what’s lacking most of all for her is an enormous, sluggish creature that sits at a road intersection. She didn’t say what it would be called.
Olga Tokarczuk, "House of Day, House of Night"

It’s tough to imagine two Polish artists who are more different from one another. Leszek Knaflewski was born smack in the middle of the era of the socialist republic of Poland. Martyna Czech was born in the early months of the nation’s newly democratic Third Polish Republic. He grew up in middle-class Poznan in a pre-fab tower block, while her childhood was dotted throughout with visits to her family in the Małopolska countryside. He experimented with a wide range of media outside of painting, whereas she stuck to the traditional technique of oil painting. His political views aren’t difficult to decipher, while she has said that she couldn’t give a damn about politics. If that wasn’t enough to demonstrate their differences, Czech, unlike many artists of her generation, isn’t wild for ‘Knaf.’ In fact, she didn’t know much about him until they began working together on the joint exhibition. And yet, to look at the early works (made not long after graduating from art school) of both artists, it’s impossible to deny the impression that they’re tied by some link. A link that’s hard to put one’s finger on, nonetheless.
Let’s take the motif of animals. The first trail will only lead to a dead end. In Knaf’s early works, we do see, for example, a horse, some swans, but these are only forms that are just like any other visual element in the composition. Leszek Knaflewski simply doesn’t care much for animals. He didn’t have any around as a child, as an adult, he only acknowledged them just scarcely in his works of art. The first animals appeared rather late and only at the request of his toddler daughter. It was a black cat she named ‘Knafi.’
Martyna Czech grew up in a family of rural traditions. As a child she spent a lot of time with her family in the countryside outside of Tarnów, in the south-east. She was in close contact with farm animals from a young age. That experience led to her treating these animals in an subjective sense, rather than an inventory of suppliers giving milk, eggs and meat. She carried this empathy with her even after moving to Krakow, then to Katowice, constantly bringing stray animals home, many of which had been mistreated by other humans. Animals often took the main roles in her canvases, treated on par with her human subjects.
The differences in their treatment of animals is also evident on a strictly formal level. The cats and pigs of Knaflewski’s works function as a contour, a linear sketch, a pictogram meant to represent a certain abstract concept. These works are often preliminary sketches for large-format installations created under the auspices of the ‘Koło Klipa’ group. In Czech’s paintings, the animals, most often her beloved bunnies, always have their individual forms, they’re depicted in a fuller manner, more akin to a portrait. In addition, her titles (Podgrzebuszka grzebozwłoczka / Underdigger Scurrylapse) refer to specific creatures or to complex emotional relationships (Zemsta / Revenge; Oddanie / Return).
In terms of symbolism, Knaflewski’s early drawings and the sculptures and installations that came about on their basis have been described by art historians as examples of magical realism. These seemingly random compositions of objects didn’t appear to have any rational explanation. These ‘beautiful, happenstance encounters between an umbrella and a sewing machine on a dissection table’ came about as a result of the artist’s dreams and uncontrolled stream of consciousness. ‘As an ironing board that has been melted down by an iron, which then began surfing across it like a surfer upon a wave,” was how Knaflewski explained the object he presented during the fourth exhibition of Koła Klipsa at Galeri Wielka 19 in 1995.
Any attempts to describe them in terms of closed symbolic systems have been dismissed by Ewa Moroń (Knaflewski’s first wife), who was witness to the conception of these works for two decades, with a smile. ‘Why a man with a house instead of a head? Well, just because!’
Czech’s paintings carry a similar psychic automation and complete lack of calculation. The theme of one of her paintings can focus on anything at all: a bunny, a mood, a word or phrase that has fallen upon the ear. Overall, Czech paints her immediate surroundings: both the physical and the mental. She endows her works with concrete titles, as if she preferred for the viewer not to interpret her paintings independently. It’s her way and that’s it. Sometimes they can be brutally direct (Kurwy malarskie / Painterly Whores, Łoniaczek pod noskiem / Little Womb under the Little Nose), other times purposely bereft of lyricism (Zrodzona z farb / Borne of Paint, Nostalgia anioła / Nostalgia of an Angel). The spectators can think whatever they like about what Knaf’s works represent. When it comes to Czech, she leaves no room for interpretation.
The grand narrative – or lack thereof. The works of Knaf presented in the exhibition came about during a time of intense political and social change. The period at the end of the ‘80s and beginning of the ‘90s in Poland saw the final demise of socialism in the country and the laborious birth of a new order. This situation was taken up in the art of Gruppa, Neue Bieremiennost and Luxus. Koło Klipsa, which counted Leszek Knaflewski among its members (along with Mariusz Kruk, Krzysztof Markowski and Wojciech Kujawski) was slightly off to the side in their take on what was happening. The roughness of the waning tide of socialism didn’t push them to fight the system, but to instead build a hermetic parallel world beyond politics and society. They opted for a metaphor over a manifesto. Poetry over politics.
Martyna Czech, besides her admission that she ‘doesn’t give a damn about politics,’ has a great deal of disdain, in fact, for any attempts to view her work through the prism of philosophy. In considering her works, every solid academic begins to conjure up the most significant names and fundamentals related to posthumanism. As a painter, she’s most interested in what’s happening ‘here and now’. This radical approach to life and art has been interpreted in Karolina Plinta’s text for the catalogue for Venom:

‘Czech is totally hardcore,’ is something I once heard from a colleague when I asked him for a broad discussion of her paintings, which had actually bemused me a bit at the start (…). The uncompromising and radical character of Marta’s work may, of course, lead to opinions that resound with attempts to moralize, even to ridicule. Czech, who doesn’t seem to have a particular affinity for human beings (for their evil ways, for the harm they’ve done to her and to the world), is also a fervent defender of animals as innocent and helpless beings. They’re also the most positive subjects in her paintings – often portrayed as the victims of human stupidity and neglect, killed by hunters or prepared on a plate.

In spite of all their differences, the early works of Leszek Knaflewski and Martyna Czech appear to exist in a peculiar proximity, one that is difficult to relay into words. Knaf, someone who is extremely social and engaged in creative sessions with his fellow members of Koło Klipsa, and Czech, who lives very much isolated in a world of her own, never encountered one another before. When the painter first caught a glimpse of Knaf’s drawings, her immediate response was: ‘We have nothing in common’. And yet…