Wojciech Tylbor Kubrakiewicz / Found Images
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.
Born in 1974 in Warsaw. From 1996 to 2001, he studied at the Faculty of Painting of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. In 2001, he received his diploma. Since 2001, he has been acting as an associate lecturer at the Faculty of Graphic Arts of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. In 2010, he was awarded a Doctorate. In 2016, he took a position of Visiting Professor at the Indiana University, USA.
He has had seventeen solo exhibitions both in Poland and abroad and has as well shown his works in more than eighty group exhibitions. In 2017, he received a Special Prize at the 16th Lessedra World Art Print Annual—Mini Print. In 2015, he won the Grand Prix at the 7th Splitgraphic International Graphic Art Biennial in Croatia. In 2012, he was awarded distinction at the 12th Gielniak Graphic Art Competition in Poland. In 2008, he was awarded a Museums and Collections Services Acquisition Award at the Edmonton Print International contest in Canada. He won several awards at local Polish printmaking contests. His works are in the collection of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Guanlan International Print Biennial, International Graphic Triennial in Cracow and the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts.
His works can be considered figurative, but oriented towards abstraction. Journey, time and memory are motives that dominate his oeuvre where the echoes of distant peregrinations are equally important as the processing of everyday experience. Fascinated by the world of objects, he uses them in his works almost arbitrary, building a collection of curiosities, or reducing them to symbols.
He specialises in the traditional techniques of intaglio printing, relief print and silkscreen. To a lesser extent, he also works with drawing, photography and tattoos.