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12 May 2011

Wojciech Gilewicz's SALE at BWA Wroclaw, Poland

'Intrude', video still, 2008, courtesy of the artist

Wojciech Gilewicz: SALE
BWA Wroclaw Galleries of Contemporary Art


Wojciech Gilewicz SALE exhibition: 15 April - 15 May Closing event to be held during Museums' Night on 14th May 2011, 6:00 PM - midnight
Exhibition is open on Sunday, May, 15th 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. curator: Piotr Stasiowski

Piotr Stasiowski
+48 71 790 25 82
+48 71 790 25 90

BWA Awangarda
Wita Stwosza 32
50-149 Wroclaw

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In his previous projects, Wojciech Gilewicz experimented with realism by setting his radical, mimetic paintings into the urban tissue, and allowing them to merge irrevocably. In his latest exhibition, he turns this process on its head, bringing both himself and his work to the windows of Wrocław's BWA Awangarda Gallery. Throughout the month of the exhibition, he will be painting in the gallery, revealing his technique to a more or less accidental audience of visitors and passers-by, and his presence in the space will be an immanent and performative part of the show. At the same time, he extends an invitation to anyone who would like to try their hand at painting, offering them a ready, blank canvas in the gallery space. Any paintings thus created by members of the public under the artist's watchful eye will be signed by Gilewicz himself, reflecting a practice found in the studios of the art world's leading lights. This participative element is also a reference to several of his earlier projects in urban spaces, where he left painting supports in randomly selected places in expectation of the fact that urban and atmospheric conditions, as well as the grassroots actions of anonymous passers-by, would fill in the blank canvases. The process he wants to put into effect in BWA is designed to answer the question as to whether a similar situation, when repeated in a gallery space, will alter in meaning. The nature of the shared act of painting will be that of a willing contact with a traditional medium and a spontaneous stimulus to paint, the intended effect of which will be to create a kind of anonymous palimpsest of an artist multiplied. In a sense, the undertaking will call into question the role of the artist in creating their works and their moral responsibility for the substance of their canvas.

Elsewhere in the gallery, projects which Gilewicz has been working on and continually adding to over the past few years will be on display, projects such as his oft-repainted series of monochromes, LTZSP. Calling upon Barnett Newman's classic paintings of fields of colour, he reinterprets the postulate for the complete opening up of the image and its liberation from the framework of composition and from any arrangement whatsoever which stands in contradiction to the spirit of free choice. The work, which he began at the Zachęta Fine Arts Association in Lublin in 2009, involved completely repainting the canvas a uniform color time and again. Video documentation reveals the process; the painting itself, however, hides many layers laid one on top of another and imperceptible to the viewer. Newman often emphasized the social dimension of his work, which is free from all enforced interpretation and created discourse. Gilewicz's 'productions', played out in the presence of an audience, often on the very streets of the city, gain an additional meaning in this same, social sense.

Gilewicz's picture-replicas of cheap, mass-produced objects will be also presented at the exhibition. The real objects will be located near the paintings and there will be information on the 'market' prices of both the prototypes and their representations. And thus a paradox will arise, whereby it is the reproduction, and not its genuine source, which is markedly more highly valued. It will also demonstrate the way in which painted images that 'reproduce' reality attain the status of originals and acquire an additional artistic value.

Video documentation of selected projects carried out by Wojciech Gilewicz during residencies in recent years will also be shown. Working on his paintings in Shanghai, Ivano-Frankivsk in Ukraine, Bat Yam in Israel, and in New York, he poses questions, in a variety of ways, about the state of the modern painting and its relation to the reality to which it is dedicated. The work, which often took the form of ephemeral actions on the streets of a city, was recorded with a video camera. The films thus created are not only documentary in nature, but they also stand alongside the paintings as works of art in their own right.

On the one hand, the 'Sale' of the title is intended as a clearance of the ideals of the artist's romantic status, questioning his role in creatio ex nihilo. On the other hand, though, the 'sale' will be treated as a reference to the mass and repeated production of objects deprived of the individual features and character of their originals. By repainting successive layers on to the canvas, or by recreating random objects by means of the painter's medium, the distinction between the original and the reproduction will be made and re-elaborated once again in the times beyond the modernist and postmodernist fever.

The exhibition in BWA Awangarda Gallery will have added value in the form of a film. To be made by Educational Television (, it will document the painting process and the workshops which will be held with young people and will have its first public screening on the exhibition's closing day, 15th May 2011. As a training film, it will be widely promoted in Polish schools as a teaching aid for art classes. A DVD will be created for Poland's cultural institutions with a view to its use in independent educational activities bringing an innovative and fresh approach to the medium of painting.

Piotr Stasiowski

Wojciech Gilewicz, painter, photographer, creator of installations and videomaker, was born in 1974 in Bilgoraj, a small town in south-eastern Poland. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, first in Poznan (1994-1996) and then in Warsaw, graduating in painting, with photography as a subsidiary subject, in 1999. He lives and works in Warsaw and New York. (

The leitmotif of Wojciech Gilewicz's work is the desire to show how relative and changeable our perception of the surrounding world is and how fluid the boundaries between reality and its artistic representation can be. It invites reflection on the mechanisms governing our perception and on the cultural determinants of the way we see things.

curator: Piotr Stasiowski
educational workshops coordinator: Joanna Stembalska
educational film for the exhibition by: Telewizja PlePle in cooperation with Karolina Vysata
graphic projects: Rafał Sosin
translated by Danuta Krzywicka, proofreading Caryl Swift

BWA Awangarda

ul. Wita Stwosza 32
50-149 Wroclaw, POLAND

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