Featuring new work by a key figure among today’s young Polish artists, Tomasz Kowalski is the artist’s first solo museum show in the United States and includes a series of paintings inspired by Polish theater and stage design.
Kowalski’s paintings, sculptures, and works on paper are as informed by expressionism, surrealism, and graphic design as they are by his autobiography. Throughout his work, domestic objects such as clothes, stationery, books, newspapers, and other household items are often anthropomorphized into a cast of recurring agents. At CAM, Kowalski will present paintings of acrylic and oil on canvas that incorporate unusual materials such as resin and fabric, calling attention to their sculptural as well as theatrical qualities.
Kowalski often employs dramatic framing—both in terms of the physical shapes of his objects as well as a skewed pictorial scale and perspective—to construct dreamlike and otherworldly scenes. His use of such traditional techniques as welding, assemblage, and relief, lends his work an air of timelessness. The results are by turns both strange and mildly sinister, depicting the pleasures and sorrows of everyday experience as well the fantasy of inhabiting a life far from one’s own.
Tomasz Kowalski (b. 1984, Szczebrzeszyn, Poland) lives and works in Warsaw and Szczebrzeszyn, Poland. His work has been featured in solo exhibitions at the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, Poland (2011); Centre of Contemporary Art Znaki Czasu, Torun, Poland; and Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany (both 2009); as well as in group exhibitions at Zamek Culture Centre, Poznan, Poland; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria; Austrian Cultural Forum, New York (all 2012); De Appel, Amsterdam, Netherlands; HMKV, Dortmund, Germany (both 2011); and S.M.A.K. Ghent, Belgium (2010). His work is in the collections of Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; MUMOK – Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna, Austria; Frac des Pays de la Loire, Nantes, France; and MOCAK, Museum of Contemporary Art, Krakow, Poland.
Tomasz Kowalski is organized for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis by Kelly Shindler, Associate Curator.