Konrad Maciejewicz has been chosen to represent Poland in the international edition of the Henkel Art.Award. The first-prize winner is going to be announced in late 2013.
Konrad Maciejewicz, My Evil Mother / My Good Mother, image courtesy of the artist
Ten years ago, collage was a largely forgotten technique. Jan Dziaczkowski, who died tragically two years ago, was one artist who was then engaged in collecting and cutting up old magazines and postcards. Nowadays, collage has become one of the most popular techniques among artists born in 1980s.
Collage work by Konrad Maciejewicz, who won the Polish edition of Henkel Art.Award in early July 2013, serves as an example for this phenomenon. The artist now vies among the international competitors for the main Henkel award, given each December.
Maciejewicz’s first exhibition was his solo show Asylum, organized at the Galeria Biała in Lublin. He uses Polish women’s magazines from the 1960s, '70s and '80s for his collages, which balance between painting and photography – the apparently poor colours of his source material provide his pieces with unique character. "He seems to be equally interested in [magazines’] technologically imperfect imagery, as in the air of oddity, or even terror, they evoke", says Magda Kardasz, curator of the artist's solo show Transform Me at the Zachęta Project Room in Warsaw in 2012. "They are far from the adorable retro images made in the recently popular decoupage technique".
Maciejewicz’s artworks have been selected for the Henkel Art.Award 2013's final stage by jury members Hanna Wróblewska, director of the Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Michał Jachuła, curator from Arsenał Gallery in Białystok, and Stach Szabłowski, the Centre for Contemporary Art at Ujazdowski Castle’s curator. The jury had gone through 200 submissions, divided into five categories: painting, photography, drawing, video and installation.
Konrad Maciejewicz, Untitled, 2011, image courtesy of the artist
Hanna Wróblewska, jury head for the Henkel Art.Award in Poland, says,
Thanks to the open character of the competition at this early stage, we have been able to view a lot of artist applications, which otherwise we probably wouldn’t have come across. On these occasions we always have an opportunity to experience an adventure of sorts, to discover something unknown, fresh, new, and impressive. [...] Nevertheless, we are truly confident about our choices.
Konrad Maciejewicz, Untitled, 2012, collage on paper
The jury explains that Maciejewicz has earned this nomination thanks to his "unfettered imagination rendered into the language of collage, and thanks to the daring use of the historically and artistically loaded vanitas theme, heavily exploited by baroque and surrealist artists. The visual aspects and meaning behind Maciejewicz’s works, which take root in the conscious and entirely controlled artistic process, introduce new and original quality to contemporary art."
As a winner of the Polish stage of the competition, Maciejewicz will receive 5,000 złoty (about 1,200 euro). As with nominated artists from 22 other countries, his work will be sent to Vienna. The jury for the international competition will first select 5 finalists. The winner will then be announced during the final ceremony in early December. First prize involves prestigious rewards, including a solo exhibition at Vienna’s Mumok museum and a check for 7,000 euro.
The Henkel Art.Award is an art competition targeted at artists from 23 countries of Central and Eastern Europe. It is organized by the manufacturing firm Henkel in cooperation with the KulturKontakt Austria foundation and the Mumok museum. Artists from 18 to 40 have the opportunity to submit their works that cover any subject matter.
Konrad Maciejewicz (born 1980 in Lubartów) graduated from the Marie Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin in 2004. He has participated in exhibitions in venues such as Galeria Biała in Lublin (2011) and Zachęta Project Room in Warsaw (2012), as well as the 6th Triennale of Young Artists in Orońsko. He lives and works in Warsaw.
Sources: Henkel Art.Award, Zachęta National Gallery of Art, own materials
Author: Agnieszka Sural, 4.07.2013
Translated by: AM