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WOJCIECH GILEWICZ


The question of the identity of a picture is the starting point for the art of Wojciech Gilewicz. With a bow to the impressionists, the artist has long been preoccupied with nature, but he has gone where Monet could not go, adding a pinch of post-conceptual irony to an ordinary landscape. He might, for example, set up a white canvas in a green meadow in summer. He steps a few paces back and takes a photograph: a landscape with a white rectangular hole. Then, he paints onto the canvas the fragment of scenery it had hidden. When winter comes, he places the painted canvas and his camera in their previous positions, and takes a second picture. What we now see is a winter landscape with a small window into the previous summer. Part painting, part photograph  for Gilewicz, neither of the two techniques is subservient to the other. They supplement each other, since, as the author himself says: I am interested in everything that pertains to the picture-creating process  work stages, palette, paint splashed all over the canvas. Photographic film turns out to be the best witness to this process.


Gilewicz is best known for creating illusions that make his paintings almost imperceptible to the viewer  though that is not, for him, the real goal. It seems that through these deceptive appearances he attempts to capture the essence of his medium and uncover truths about perception in general. His attempts include repairing with his paintings neglected fragments of the urban tissue, from Warsaws airport approaches to a street in Manhattans Soho district. Facsimiles of the surfaces they cover, the works are left in public space so that passers-by and the weather can interact with them, and they eventually blend in completely with their surroundings  completely unnoticed. Gilewiczs actions constitute a wry statement about the mythologization of public space and the mass viewer, and expose the utopian nature of artistic interventions.


He has also made over 500 photographic double portraits of himself with the use of a semi-filter. He and his alter ego assume varied natural poses in shared spaces. Gilewicz has made the dream of appearing to observe himself come true. As Narcissus delighted in his own reflection, the artist in the picture longs for the very one whose reflection he is seeing. But like Narcissus, he will never be able to approach the object of his desire.


Wojciech Gilewicz (b. 1974) won a Masters Degree with Honors in 1999 from the Painting Department at Warsaws Academy of Fine Arts, where he also took a minor in Photography. His solo exhibitions include: Museum of Fine Arts, Iwano-Frankiwsk, Ukraine (2007); TR Warszawa, Foksal Gallery, and WAA (Warsaw Artists Action), (all in Warsaw, 2005); Fondation Deutsch de la Meurthe, Paris, France (2004); Arsenal Gallery, Bialystok, Poland (2002); Centre for Contemporary Art Zamek Ujazdowski, Warsaw (2001). Group exhibitions: Multi-way Street annex to the exhibition Beautiful Losers, Museum of Art, Lodz, Poland; Imago: The Drama of Self-Portraiture in Recent Photography, Paul Robeson Gallery, Newark, USA; Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw (all 2007); POZA, Real Art Ways, Hartford, USA; Centre for Contemporary Art Laznia, Gdansk, Poland; LiveBox at Ravenswood, Chicago, USA (all 2006); National Museum / Krolikarnia, Warsaw (2003).


MORE on the artist: www.gilewicz.net

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