A painter who uses her canvas to create a diary of her emotional states, much like a painted autobiography. Creates photographs and drawings as well.
Malarka, tworzy na płótnach dziennik swoich stanów emocjonalnych, malarską autobiografię. Autorka fotografii i rysunków.
Born on 5th February 1976 in Warsaw. Studied at the Faculty of Graphic Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw between 1996 and 2001, finished with a degree in painting. Lives and works in Warsaw, collaborates with Raster Gallery.
Agata Bogacka's thesis consisted of a series of paintings that were variations on known works from art history, such as The Death of Marat by Jacques-Louis David, The Luncheon on the Grass and Olympia by Édouard Manet. The characters in Bogacka's paintings are her peers: they use mobile phones, Marat has dreadlocks, and on Olympia's body you can see marks left by a bathing suit.
Bogacka's thesis paintings demonstrated an expressive and original style, which is characteristic of the artist's technique. She uses oil on canvas, creating flat spots of colour with a strong, graphic outline in front of a usually homogenous background. Her paintings are synthetic and poster-like; the artist uses a limited range of colours, among which shades of grey are dominant. The highly stylised form is used to construct complex inventive narratives, which refer to the artist's own life. The composition of the paintings is carefully thought out, devoid of any unnecessary details.Prior to painting, Bogacka organises photo shoots with models, who are usually close relatives, friends or people with whom she has had or still has an emotional bond.
Bogacka's paintings are seemingly a chronicle of banal events occurring in a person’s private, social life. However, an attentive viewer will notice that each image resembles a rebus puzzle, which helps you find a ‘key’that then allows you to read the hidden reflection or commentary constituting the author's ironic, sometimes emotionally bitter self-portrait. The heroine of many of Bogacka's works is a young girl, the artist's stand-in.
Agata Bogacka's autobiographic or even narcissistic work tells the story of a girl from a big city and her complicated emotional, erotic and social relationships, characterised by superficiality and coldness. The persistently recurring motif of Bogacka's paintings is a desire to establish a close bond with other people and create successful relationships, which in reality turns out to be impossible.
At the Rzeczywiście, Młodzi Są Realistami (The Young Are Realists, Really) exhibition Bogacka presented a series of four paintings entitled Agata 2001. One featured the artist's self-portrait:a naked woman lying with a mobile phone in hand,while the other three canvases depicted naked men. The male nudes are Bogacka's partners with whom she was emotionally involved in the year 2001. This very intimate relationship that Bogacka shares with the viewer is not an optimistic story; it deals with loneliness, distance and disappointment.
Bogacka's individual exhibition Ja Krwawię! (I'm Bleeding, 20013) at the Ujazdowski Castle – Centre for Contemporary Art consisted of 16 paintings created in the previous two years. All canvases combined autobiographical themes, sometimes bordering on exhibitionism. Bogacka pictured herself, but not as a melancholic person disappointed in subsequent unsuccessful relationships. Instead she was a woman aware of her attractiveness, who addresses herself through body and physiology. The eponymous blood is a symbol of life, and the statement ‘I'm bleeding!’simply means ‘I'm alive!’.
The exhibition Pamiętniki / Diaries from 2011 presented AgataBogacka’s newest paintings, a part of which were influenced by family histories either remembered or rediscovered after many years, and an interest on the artist’s part in her own genealogy. The autobiographical elements in the exhibition were used as a pretext for a more universal reflection on the human memory. The painter is interested in the ways in which we record and then recreate from memory certain images, and the distortions that result from this process.
One of the key inspirations is a document found in her family archive: A notebook belonging to Paulina Żuławska, the artist’s grandmother, from the time of the Warsaw Uprising. Żuławska’s description of a route she had to take became an entry point for a piece in which Bogacka tried to reconstruct said route. She has also painted similar 'painting-maps' on the basis of the diary of Jonas Mekas, as well as the wartime recollections of Thomas Buergenthal.
The artist also made a symbolic attempt to assemble fragments of her aunt Hanna Żuławska's broken sculpture in paintings based on the preserved photographs from her exhibitions. From old family photographs, the artist put together something resembling a family tree in the form of a collage assembled from pictures of only women.
Paintings / Obrazy (2017) was AgataBogacka's first individual exhibition of paintings in Warsaw in six years. She expanded on themes that had been raised at the Tłum (Crowd – trans. HSz) exhibition organized in January that same year at BWA ZielonaGóra. Bogacka's paintings were based on geometric figure, which suggest the shape of a face. The title of the exhibition referred to daily, disturbing news about the gatherings of people: refugees, demonstrators, evacuations. However, the eponymous crowd isn't seen from a safe distance, but is almost claustrophobic. Bogacka's more recent pieces from the Paintings / Obrazy exhibition were also a sign of a radical change in the artist's philosophy, emphasis on color, gradient and the layering of various parts.
Związek / Connection is Agata Bogacka's first exhibition at the Pola Magnetyczne gallery. It deepened the artist's recent exploration of abstract and geometric painting. The exhibition featured 13 paintings created especially for the gallery. The title of the exhibition may refer to the intimate, complex relationship between two people close to each other. However, the artist encourages a broader interpretation, which includes other ways of coexistence: relations with space, objects, political views or the world. Personal experiences translate into abstract surfaces, where shapes remain in opposition or one dominates the other. Even if there are common points or similarities, the gradients cut off individual planes from each other, making them aware of the multilayered relationship between them.
Selected solo exhibtions:
- 2019 – Związek / Relationship, Galeria Pola Magnetyczne, Warsaw
- 2017 – Paintings / Obrazy, Galeria Dawid Radziszewski, Warsaw; Tłum, BWA Zielona Góra
- 2014 – The Egg, IstitutoBuena Bista, Curacao
- 2012 – Paintings / Obrazy, Galeria Ring, Legnica
- 2011 – Topos, Państwowa Galeria Sztuki, Sopot; Diaries, Aando Fine Art, Berlin; Pamiętniki / Diaries, Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw
- 2009 – Spacer / Walk, Galeria Platan, Budapeszt; Powroty, Galeria Bwa, Zielona Góra
Selected group exhibitions:
- 2019 – Stany Skupienia / States of Focus, Muzeum Współczesne, Wrocław; Farba Znaczy Krew / Paint,AlsoKnown As Blood, Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej, Warsaw; Szczęście Rodzi Się w Jelitach, Galeria Arsenał, Poznań
- 2018 – Dzikość Serca: Portret I Autoportret W Polsce Po 1989 Roku / Wild At Heart: Portait And Autoportait in Poland After 1989, Zachęta – National Gallery of Art, Warsaw; Articulations – Recently Painted Works, GaleriaGlassyard, Budapeszt
- 2017 – Co z Tą Abstrakcją? / What With ThisAbstraction?, Fundacja Stefana Gierowskiego, Warsaw
- 2016 – Artyści z Boreliozą / Artists With Lyme, Galeria Dawid Radziszewski, Warsaw; VerdichtungAando Fine Art, Berlin
- 2015 – Mirroring – Drawings, Aando Fine Art, Berlin, De
- 2014 – Archiwa Najtlajfu:Warsaw W Budowie 6, Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej, Warsaw; Real Focus – Młoda Polska Fotografia, Galeria Ego, Poznań; Breathing, Aando Fine Art, Berlin; Miłość Własna: Artyści Kochają Siebie / Personal Love: Artists Loving Themselves, Państwowa Galeria Sztuki, Sopot; Dzień Jest Za Krótki - Kilka Opowieści Autobiograficznych / The Day is Too Short – A Few Autobiographical Tales, Galeria Miejska Arsenał, Poznań; Dzień Jest Za Krótki - Kilka Opowieści Autobiograficznych, Bwa Sokół, Nowy Sącz; Dzień Jest Za Krótki - Kilka Opowieści Autobiograficznych, Bwa, Kielce; Dzień Jest Za Krótki - Kilka Opowieści Autobiograficznych, Białostocki Ośrodek Kultury, Białystok
- 2013 – Malarze Ilustracji, Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej, Warsaw; Dzień Jest Za Krótki (Kilka Opowieści Autobiograficznych), Galeria Bwa, Jelenia Góra; Dzień Jest Za Krótki (Kilka Opowieści Autobiograficznych), Muzeum Współczesne, Wrocław; Caution! Things May Appear Different Than They Are, Auf Aeg Halle, Nurnberg; Where I Come From, Polish Illustration Focus, Illustrative Festival, Berlin;
- 2012 – Urwany Film / Interrupted Film, Galeria Awangarda BWA, Wrocław; Chora Sztuka, Galeria Jerozolima, Warsaw; Tell Me Something, Aando Fine Art, Berlin
- 2010 – Ostatni Film, Galeria Raster, Warsaw; Rauchen Verboten! – Pali Się!, Galeria Klimy Bocheńskiej, Warsaw; Rzeczy Budzą Uczucia / Things Evoke Feelings, CCA Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw; Fitting In Space, Zico House, 98weeks Research Project Space, Beirut
- 2009 – Manifest Zwierzęcy / Animal Manifesto, Galeria Raster, Warsaw; Fancy Success, Bunkier Sztuki, Kraków; Międzynarodowa Kolekcja Sztuki Współczesnej: Edycja 5 / International Collection of Contemporary Art: 5th Edition, CCA Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw
Author: Ewa Gorządek, March 2004. Translated and updated by: HSz, 2019