Bartosz Kokosiński is a painter and creator of art installations and videos. He was born in 1984 in Siewierz.
Painter and creator of art installations and videos. He was born in 1984 in Siewierz.
Kokosiński lives and creates in Warsaw. He studied at the Kraków Academy of Fine Arts, where he graduated from the Faculty of Painting in 2009 from the studios of Professor Andrzej Bednarczyk and Witold Stelmachniewicz. He belonged to the Kraków-based Silnia artistic group.
The artist held the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage Scholarship (2002, 2007, 2012) three times and received a grant from the Canadian Elisabeth Greenshields Foundation (2006). In 2003 Kokosiński was awarded at the 41st ‘Bielska Jesień’ Biennale (a regular merit and a patronage redactions merit: ‘ARTLUK’, ‘EXIT’ and ’OBIEG’). In 2014, he won first prize at the ‘Young Art Compass’ for young artists. His works are displayed in the following national galleries: Galeria Bielska BWA in Bielsko-Biała, Zachęta Sztuki Współczesnej in Szczecin, Bunkier Sztuki in Kraków and Centrum Rzeźby Polskiej in Orońsk.
Kokosiński raises questions about the phenomenon of painting, reflecting on its artistic status and meaning. He is not interested in the illustrative aspect of the medium of painting but in the very process of painting, the physicality of the matter that the painting is made of. The artist deforms his art: bends its structure, turns linens inside out and stuffs them with various objects. His works are sometimes defected, ‘sick’, and present their own imperfectness to viewers, e.g. weak, unstable fundaments and exfoliating paint. Kokosiński’s paintings are authentic as records of experiences and emotions, doubts and reattempts to establish one’s own language within a medium that does not accept compromises.
In his works the artist creatively refers to tradition of painting by discussing its conventions, experimenting with its formats and overstepping the accepted borders of painting. Kokosiński has created an individual and easily-recognizable style that uses innovative formal strategies as useful tools for reflection on the status of painting in the contemporary world and indirectly on the condition of men in the world of today. The artist asks about the relation between art and over-artistic reality, underlining the importance of such terms as hybridity, excess and overproduction.
The most important aspect of Kokosiński’s practices is intermedia: connecting classic paintings with objects already created or objects found, that combined emphasize the material or even the processual side of works of art. Most of Kokosiński’s paintings have a classical form – painted with paint on canvas stretched on wooden frames. In his cycles, Kokosiński refers to classical motives, such as landscapes, still life, battle scenes and religious paintings. However, there is no traditionally understood pictorialness as the illusion has been exchanged with particular elements of material reality.
Already during his studies the artist created the cycle The Illnesses of Painting (2007) that juxtaposes portraits of people with skin diseases before and during their sickness. Blisters and pimples are also visible on the front of badly installed canvas – like the sickness has touched the paintings as well – the paint is exfoliating whereas the wooden frames are contorted. His next series were Twisted Life (2007-2008), which shows car accidents painted on bulging frames, Skins (2010) and finally the most recognizable of his pieces: Paintings Devouring Reality (2011).
Paintings Devouring Reality are canvases that blur boundaries between traditionally understood painting and objects. The latter is close to the inside, absorbing various objects that possess their own stories taken from someone else’s history and reality and from a different context.
The first painting of the series was originally started in 2010, but Kokosiński was disappointed with the result and decided to destroy it. The burning canvas was an act of aggression but also an outcome of genuine helplessness that he could not find a satisfactory relation with painting. It was also a purifying gesture that had the potential for transmutation. The artist came back to the burning thread in 2012 with the cycle Burnt Photographs, this time treating fire symbolically and painting its effects on canvas.
Author: Ewa Gorządek, February 2016, translated by Antoni Wiśniewski
Selected individual exhibitions:
2016 Dysfunctional Matter
, Knoll Galerie Wien, Vienna
2015 Nothing is Real, Everything is Possible
, Water Tower Gallery, Konin
, ABC Gallery, Poznań
, KnollGalerieWien, Wiedeń, Austria
2013 Kinky Dropping Thoughts
(Thomas Bernhard), Galeria Promocyjna, Warsaw
- Bilder fressen Wirklichkeit
, Club der Polnischen Versager, Berlin
, ABC Gallery, Poznań
2012 Uncontrolled Content
, Młode Forum Sztuki, Lublin
- (Dis)order of things
, Bunkier Sztuki, Kraków
2011 Some Pictures Don't Want to be Painted
, BWA Contemporary Art Gallery, Katowice
2011 (NO) BODY (NO) SOUL (NO) ART
, Small Gallery, Słupsk
2010 In Shape
, Sztygarka City Museum, Dąbrowa Górnicza
2010 For the Beginning - the End
, Nova Gallery, Kraków
2007 Shame of Repetition
, Nova Gallery, Kraków