Polish artist’s retrospective opens in Paris

An exhibition of the works of Jaroslaw Kozlowski, who is called  a "pioneer of conceptual art in Poland," has opened at the RCM gallery in Paris.

"I was in Poland last year, and it was then that I personally met with Professor Kozlowski, someone whom I had heard about for a long time. He’s someone who counts in art," said Robert Murphy, co-owner of the Paris RCM gallery, which is almost adjacent to the Orsay Museum.

It isn’t only he and his wife, Camille Murphy, who manages the gallery with him, who highly value Kozlowski. Anka Ptaszkowska, the legendary founder of the Foksal Gallery, recalled that Konrad Fischer (1939-96), discoverer of numerous talents and one of the most influential art dealers of his generation, "spoke about Kozlowski in superlatives, as the most interesting Polish artist."

Jaroslaw Kozlowski took part in the Parisian Young Biennale in 1977 and already showed his work in Lyon and Toulouse, but the current exhibition is his first individual exhibition in the French capital.
 
The artist began his series „Absent” in 1967, while a student at the College of Fine Arts in Poznan, west-central Poland. If it were not for the rectangular cut-outs, the canvases, covered with thick, irregular layers of paint, they could be qualified as landscapes or as classic abstract works.

"It was a period in which I was very interested in existentialism," recalls Jaroslaw Kozlowski. "I wanted to free myself from the gaze of others, it was also an attempt to overcome illusions for materialism, which is even more evident in the thick layers of paint," he explains.

Camille Murphy finds "something very Central European," in these canvasses , “a sadness, associated with Auschwitz." The artist rejects such an interpretation.
 
Humor and irony are not unique in his reflective work. They can be found in "Figures of Rhetoric," the three-dimensional, black compositions which refer in their elegance to modernism, but impose, as the author claims, "a false image of their materiality." "And this is because they are made of cardboard covered with old newspapers, they are a kind of camouflage," says Kozlowski.

The most spectacular part of the exhibition in the RCM gallery is the LED display, with the announcement "no news from Warsaw, no news from Paris" ... etc. Another joke and another wringing of the hands over the world? ...