Painter, performance artist, creator of installations, art theorist, educator. Born June 13, 1956, in Białystok; resides in Warsaw.
Painter, performance artists, creator of installations, art theoretician, educator. Born June 13, 1956, in Bialystok; resides in Warsaw.
Between 1976 and 1981, Woźniak studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw under Stefan Gierowski. From 1982 to 1988, he taught painting technique at his alma mater. In 1982, he joined the Gruppa artistic group, taking part in practically all of its exhibitions and actions and co-editing its publication titled "Oj dobrze już" / "All Right Already." Between 1985 and 1989 (with interruptions), Woźniak worked with Marek Sobczyk on creating the polychromatic murals in the Neo-Uniate Orthodox Church located in the town of Kostomłoty in the Podlasie region of Poland. He spent 1986 on scholarship in West Berlin with colleague Ryszard Grzyb. In 1991/92 he taught at the private Szkoła Sztuki / School of Art in Warsaw, which was founded and managed by artists Jaroslaw Modzelewski and Marek Sobczyk. Since 1992/93 he has been running the painting studio at the Institute of Art Education of the Higher School of Education in Zielona Góra.
Wozniak's early works, dating from 1982-1985, were marked by great variety of form and subject matter compared to those of other members of Gruppa. His "poster-like" paintings were non-figurative, built of signs and emblems, usually political or mocking in tone (Nowa fala popierdala / The New Wave is Pissing Along, Czerwony rogalik co ranek na śniadanie / A Red Croissant for Breakfast Everyday, Polak w czadzie / A Pole in Fumes). Around the same time, he created compositions that were limited in color range and produced with diluted, dripping paint (Entuzjazm sztuki / The Enthusiasm of Art, Dzieweczko wstań / Stand Up, Girlie, Nowofalowy portret Jurija Andropowa / A New Wave Portrait of Yuri Andropov). Yet, other canvasses were marked by the caricatured deformation of figures (Debil / Idiot, Geniusz / Genius, Trzygłowy egzekutor / The Three-Headed Collector, Portret budowniczego arki / Portrait of an Arc Builder). In 1985, the artist produced large format "papers" in which he highlighted gestures of struggle, conciliation, blessing, and the like (Rozbij czaszkę / Crack That Skull, Braterstwo broni / Brotherhood of Arms, Kain i Abel / Cain and Abel).
In 1986 and 1987, Expressionism began to dominate Woźniak's paintings. The works he created at this time were richly textured, a feature resulting from the rushed and spontaneous manner in which he produced them and the sharp colors he used (Cenie sobie to wewnętrzne doznanie / I Really Value This Inner Experience, Pojedynek o kosc biodrowa / Duel for a Hip Bone, Kontur wewnetrzny / Inner Contour). This period was crowned by the dramatic Dom dla nieuleczalnie chorych - pamieci Katarzyny Kobro / The House for the Incurably Ill - In Memory of Katarzyna Kobro, a work which won him a prize at the "Droga i Prawda" / The Road and the Truth exhibition in Wroclaw.
While on scholarship in West Berlin (1986), the artist began to paint in a symbolic and metaphorical style, something he developed on between 1987 and 1989. While drawing heavily on Christian symbolism (Bramy raju / The Gates of Paradise, the triptych Przemiana / Transformation, a series with the Fallen Angel), he developed unique compositional arrangements that nevertheless seemed to retain a high, "sacral" tone (Poprzedni ja / The Previous Me, Budowniczy / Builder, Ciele / The Calf). In his series "Meble" / "Furniture" (1989-1990) and in later compositions depicting empty interiors (Drabina / The Ladder, Kominek / The Chimney, etc.), the artist almost entirely stopped representing figures. His paintings from 1991 and 1992 (Rdzeń / Core, Stos / Pile, Biblioteka / Library and others) are one dimensional and toned down in color. In the 1990s, the artist's interests shifted to installations. At times, he would build these out of his own, old works, as he did for a solo exhibition held at the House of the Visual Artist in Warsaw in 1995.
Selected exhibitions and awards:
- 1987 - 2. Biennale "Droga i Prawda" / 2. "The Road and the Truth" Biennale, Wroclaw (1st prize)
- 1987, 1991 - 2. and 4. New Art Biennale, BWA, Zielona Gora
- 1987 - Co slychac / What's Up, Former Norblin Factory, Warsaw
- 1988 - "Realizm radykalny. Abstrakcja konkretna / Radical Realism - Concrete Abstraction", National Museum, Warsaw
- 1988 - "Polish Realities", Third Eye Centre, Glasgow
- 1992 - "Gruppa 1982-1991", Zachęta National Gallery of Contemporary Art, Warsaw
- 1993 - 1. Biennale of Small Photographic Forms, Poznan (1st prize)
Author: Maryla Sitkowska, Museum of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, June 2002