Michał Stonawski. What I Am Seeing Is Not What I See

Temporary exhibitions

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  • Saturday, July 23, 2022 - Sunday, October 2, 2022

We invite you to the exhibition What I Am Seeing Is Not What I See at Bunkier Sztuki which is the first such comprehensive presentation of the work of the Krakow artist Michał Stonawski. It comprises more than 50 works created in the last 15 years. The worn-out furniture and the floor of his studio at the Faculty of Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow – covered with layers of paint – became the main motif of his earliest paintings; this was the beginning of the artist’s strategy, which continues to this day, of confronting the viewer with the raw aesthetics of everyday life.

Michał Stonawski searches for beauty in the process of decay. The artist depicts mass-produced, utilitarian objects with the utmost precision, exposing traces of the passage of time and destruction. He constructs three-dimensional painting objects from oil paintings; this process has resulted in cardboard boxes, cupboards, crates and even a waste container. In doing so, he plays a game with the viewer based on illusion and surprise, but also sentiment and memories. This is particularly evident in the painterly portraits of books, which bear witness to the relationship between book and owner.

In the nooks and crannies of the cellars of the Potocki Palace, these realistic objects may be invisible to the viewer and it is only their peculiar presence in this place that makes us realise that what we are seeing may not be a piece of furniture, but a painterly object. Michał Stonawski’s works prove that beauty can be found in unexpected places. This art provokes questions about the role of the artist and the significance of their decisions as well as the purpose, the function and, ultimately, the limits of art.

Michał Stonawski (b. 1984) – painting, drawing, objects and installations. Graduate of the Faculty of Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow (2010 – diploma with honours in Prof. Leszek Misiak’s studio and the Rector’s Medal; 2015 – doctoral degree). Teacher of drawing and painting at the High School of Fine Arts in Krakow. His works can be found in the collections of, among others, Bunkier Sztuki, MOCAK as well as in numerous private collections.

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