Wojciech Tylbor-Kubrakiewicz, the winner of the main Grand prix award at the last seventh edition of Splitgraphic in 2015, this years has his solo exhibition, where the artist will exhibit some of his graphic oeuvre as a part of the 8th Splitgraphic programme.
Polish artist and graphic art professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and Indiana University will exhibit his print series entitled Found Images, that include the awarded works from 2015, as well as new works produced during his last two years as a guest professor in the USA. Series found images has already begun in 2013, and the prints chosen for this exhibition, around 15 graphic works, will follow the development of the artist’s graphic and artistic language.
Kubrakiewicz’s graphic oeuvre is inspired by his journeys, especially this series of found images, that he finds in the Far East, Japan and in the Zen gardens of Kyoto. His prints are based on the duality of graphic elements and images that are reflected in the duality of graphic techniques the artist uses.
His own creativity stems from his own journeys, where artist “brings and collects” various artefacts, museum objects, parts of architecture, or just ordinary items he encounters. He abstracts all of these items to create symbols and graphic signs. They are fragments, quotations of his travels and experiences, which often carry the meaning of exclusion from the surroundings and culture where he has found them. The artist connects these found objects and symbols he has turned into graphic signs with the scenery he finds in his hometown. By unifying “the other” and “the familiar and known,” Kubrakiewicz deals with the realization we all encounter when visiting a foreign culture – we will never be a part of it; we will always be looking in from the outside, just as we do not allow the visitors to our town “inside” our own culture and life. However, Kubrakiewicz’s synthesis creates a new context for known and unknown, and superposes these two elements on his prints by using different aesthetic approaches. Urban landscape of the city, in this case Warsaw, motives like the warehouse, alleys, sidewalks are superimposed with items brought from travels, the unattractive versus the exotic. These new graphic signs are not placed in a particular order on the surface of the prints, they are scattered, and they reappear on different prints, in different combinations as a memento of the journey asserted by the titles of some them Reconstruction, Voyager, and Fragments…
Duality of images and graphic signs is reflected on the level of graphic techniques too – digital print and linocut. Precise lines of the linocut grey, repeating lines that outline motives of urban landscape. Kubrakiewicz writes about the influence of Zen gardens:
I work extensively with photography. Fascinated with old masters’ prints and contemporary mass media I transform images into line works. This duality is further highlighted by the combination of classical printmaking techniques and modern strategies. The horizontal austerity of the lines cut in linoleum, their consistency and predictability bring to mind a pattern of a Zen garden imprinted in the sand, where groups of rocks placed seemingly at random appear like islands. Composing process is never finished. I am searching without the need to discover. (Artist’s statement)
New works created in the USA are also exhibited along with the prints from the series found images. These are silkscreen prints, which delineate the same differences between Europe and North America as with Europe and the Far East, and evoke the same feeling of exclusion. The artist tries to deal with this exclusion in the same way as before, by diving into the visual culture without the need to understand it. Newly printed silkscreens are marked with strong, intense, flat colours combined with graphic elements from his previous works. They are based again on the superposition of various elements, matrices, photographs, however they assume new social and cultural surrounding and show how it affects the artist.
Awarded series found images by Wojciech Tylbor-Kubrakiewicz exhibited on splitgraphic biennial promotes contemporary tendencies in printmaking: reflection on the usage of the graphic sign, reproducibility of graphic works, repetition as questioning of originality (originality being one of the main characteristics of art in general), respect for classical printmaking techniques, but conscious and serious utilisation of contemporary ways of expression – digital print. Moreover, Kubrakiewicz’s graphic oeuvre corresponds to the modernity of the gallery space Salon Galić that Splitgraphic is using for the first time for its exhibitions, and in collaboration with Croatian Association of Artists Split (HULU-Split), which is important for developing a network on the local level of artistic production.