Painter, creator of experimental music. Born 1989 in Tarnów.
Malarz, twórca muzyki eksperymentalnej.
In the years 2008-2013, he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków. He graduated from professor Henryk Ożóg’s copperplate printing workshop at the Faculty of Graphic Arts, and later from professor Jerzy Kucia’s animated film workshop. In 2013, he took part in the copperplate engraving course in Burg Beeskow in Germany.
Kukla’s painting combines many opposing concepts and styles (abstract and figuration, expression and harmony, form and anti-form) in a surprising way.
Stylistically and ideologically, his paintings fit into genres such as landscape painting and still life. Important elements of their visual constructions are the factors of formation and disintegration, processualy composed in time and space. The painter’s large-format oil paintings take a lot from nature in a broad sense on one hand, and on the other – from the world of artifacts, products of culture and civilization. The most common reference brought up by art historians and critics in the context of the artist’s work is Surrealism. In his art, he evokes the names of classic Polish surrealists such as Erna Rosenstein, Jerzy Kujawski or Alfred Lenica. It is also close to other representatives of the same generation of painters and Kukla’s peers, such as Irmina Staś and Sławomir Pawszak.
In the text accompanying Kukla’s Mutiny on the Bounty exhibition in BWA Sokół, Magdalena Kownecka notes:
Kamil Kukla’s paintings are the consequence of a contemporary adaptation of surrealist arithmetic – fairy-tale wildlife, the wonders of instinct and evolution, the moment of surprise. […] The full-of-momentum landscapes are left for us to behold in a form which is enclosed, composed. There is no natural order in them. The landscape is transformed into still life enormous in size, with scenography front to the viewer.
Kamil Kukla’s art is both sensual and predatory. The richness of form and puzzling content on the border of fulfilment and excess is construed with the use of thick paint, vigorous brushstrokes and sensitivity to colour. Kukla’s paintings bring to mind 'pictorial flesh', composed from the paint’s bloody meat and colour.
Although his works are most often relegated to various abstract movements, they are strongly connected to figurative painting and representational art. The painter appropriates the works of the old masters, especially the ones from the Baroque era – painters such as Frans Snyders or Peter Paul Rubens. This is why one can recognize echoes of Baroque still life and nudes. Another important reference for the artist’s works are Zdenek Burian’s illustrations – a Czech painter and illustrator famous for his paleontological reconstructions. The artworks inspired by prehistory are a motionless 'staging' of the creation of the form or a 'study' on its geological past.
Katarzyna Wincenciak notes that you can’t be indifferent to Kukla’s alluring structures of shapes and colours:
The unconsumed energy present in the painting and the biomorphic elements are processed until they become entirely infused into the work’s structure. Only after a closer inspection, we are able to recognize in this or other form an outline of something which was previously a fragment of a plant or flesh..
The artist was awarded the Grey House Foundation Prize in the 6th competition for the most interesting artistic personality (2016). In the justification, the jury emphasized Kukla’s artistic stance as very mature formally, further explaining the verdict as follows:
Formally the pieces are really is exceptional, enigmatic in a sense. […] On the one hand, they echo American painting from the late 1980s, and on the other – a certain element of Neo-Abstract art and Expressionism. In actuality, however, Kamil pursues a certain genre of anti-still life, because what he portrays in his paintings, although not possible to represent, emanates into the plane of hyper-nature which undergoes change or harmonizes itself with the landscape, which is very corporeal, tangible and sensual, conjuring up an almost hallucinatory effect.
One of Kamil Kukla’s most recent and biggest exhibitions was his solo display titled U+1F351 PEACH, organized as part of Bank Pekao Project Room in the Center for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw in 2017. Apart from painting, the exhibition featured time-lapse films, digital graphics and an audio installation. Organic and digital motifs visible in media as varied as moving and still image and sound, complemented each other and formed layers, ultimately becoming 'post-human hybrids'.
Piotr Policht, the exhibition’s curator, commented on the exhibited works as follows:
Glossy, oblong, assiduously finished shapes are accompanied by nervous, impasted brush strokes. Fragmented bodies reduced to their sexual organs are luscious, but also swollen, reddened, livid, faded and afflicted. […] They depict a world taken straight out of mangas for the adolescent, in which everyday reality merges with otherworldliness, cuteness with violence and prudery with exaggerated sexuality.
Kukla succeeded in many competitions, such as the Youth Art Biennale 'Rybie Oko' 9 in Ustka, 2017 (honourary mention) and the 24th Polish Young Painters Review PROMOCJE 2014 in Legnica (3rd place). He is the finalist of the Hestia Artistic Journey competition in Sopot, held in 2013. In August 2017, he did an artistic residency at the Dukley Art Center in Kotor, Montenegro. His works are part of the collections of the MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków, National Museum in Gdańsk and numerous private collections.
Autor: Michał Jachuła, styczeń 2018
Selected solo exhibitions:
- 2017 – U+1F351 PEACH, Center for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw
- 2016 – Decay Ratio, Knoll Gallery, Budapest
- 2016 – Mutiny on the Bounty, BWA Sokół, Nowy Sącz
- 2016 – Mass Extinction, Knoll Gallery, Vienna
- 2014 – Still life, AS Gallery, Kraków
- 2014 – Curriculum vitae, Regional Public Library, Kraków
- 2008 – Painting, BWA Municipal Gallery in Tarnów
Selected group exhibitons:
- 2017 – 43rd Painting Biennale Bielska Jesień 2017, BWA Bielsko-Biała Gallery
- 2017 – Youth Art Biennale Rybie Oko 9, Baltic Contemporary Art Gallery in Słupsk
- 2016 – KA-MU-FLAŻ, Szara Kamienica in Kraków
- 2015 – Artists from Krakow: The Generation 1980–1990, MOCAK, Kraków
- 2015 – Order out of Chaos, Le Guern Gallery, Warsaw
- 2013 – Second International Mezzotint Festival, Yekaterinburg, Russia
- 2013 – Variography, Palace of the Arts, Kraków
Originally written in Polish by Michał Jachuła, Jan 2018, translated by Patryk Grabowski, Apr 2018