Wojciech Bąkowski at Stereo

Artist: Wojciech Bąkowski 

Exhibition title: A Couple of Details

Venue: Stereo, Warsaw, Poland

Date: September 28 – November 10, 2023

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Stereo

The sixth individual exhibition by Wojciech Bąkowski at Stereo, titled “A Couple of Details”, includes the latest of his works with charcoal on sanded cardboard. The title of the show has been borrowed from a short poem by the artist from 2021:

In eighty-seven
February 2nd
At one forty
The end of the broadcast is beeping
There’s no one in the room
Memories are not being made

Outside the window, in the park
Under every lamppost
A couple of details gather

The poem itself serves well as a statement as it basically recalls all the most important components of the author’s work: the past, scenery of post-soviet housing estate, specific sound, darkness, and the inside-outside world relation. However, Bąkowski’s diverse practice works perfectly well without words.

The two main elements of the exhibition are the drawing triptych “Start of Lamps” (2022-2023) and the installation “Standby Map II” (2023). „Start of Lamps” consists of three takes of one scene – an evening meeting of children in a park between blocks of flats – from different points of view. Each subsequent drawing extends the field of view building up an impression of looking around in the three-dimensional space. The content of the depiction is a distorted childhood memory powered by the logic of a lucid dream.

“Standby Map II” has been executed for the Urbane Kunst Ruhr festival in Essen, Germany. The work installed in a kiosk window on the tramway loop brought to mind a one-person bed that levitates over a trapezoid tram map of the city. For the current exhibition, the installation is stripped of the context of public space and the related scenographic procedures.

The entire exhibition is pervaded by a dreamlike atmosphere created by non-obvious juxtapositions and a play with scale, but it should not be forgotten that Bąkowski’s aesthetic choices stem from his interest in the problems of perception and are subject to strict formal assumptions.