Artist: Wojciech Bąkowski
Exhibition title: The Moon, a Star, and an Overhead Light
Venue: Stereo, Warsaw, Poland
Date: February 13 – March 20, 2021
Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Stereo
In one of her essays on the practice of writing, Flannery O’Connor writes: “Anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days. If you can’t make something out of a little experience, you probably won’t make it out of a lot.” *
Bąkowski, who basically founded all of his work on a similar belief, would agree with her. The scope of his interests includes the problems of perception and reflections on the nature of imagination as well as mechanisms of memory, but the field of his activities is limited to introspection and the experiences of one’s own senses.
The latest exhibition is the result of the artist’s exercises in lucid dream techniques, which in turn naturally result from the subject of his interest. How does a thought become a picture? Searching for answers, Bąkowski undertakes a relevant formal task. The result is a series of charcoal drawings on sandpapered cardboard – oneiric, delicate and grainy representations that give the impression that they are not so much applied to the paper as evoked from its surface. They bring to mind dim night moments, from which the eye can only configure some general shapes, and to which consciousness applies arbitrary meaning. The number of elements is limited here: window, door, room interior, duvet, clouds, bells, lamps, birds, moon, star, and an overhead light.
Enough to build a world.
*Flannery O’Connor, “The Nature and Aim of Fiction” [in:] Mystery and Manners, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1970, p. 84.