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Opening Hours

Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm


Art Agenda Nova
Batorego 2, Krakow


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Bartek Buczek

About exhibition

Bartek Buczek was bothering with the notion of time in which you do not know what to do. In this state, the stammer was persistently searching for shaky and hysterical places. The black yellow found in his body made itself felt. It is worth remembering that her disastrous outflows corresponded to melancholy temperament. They were attributed to Saturn, who, along with the artists, also patronized villains, slaves, merchants and gravediggers.

Buczek’s older brother, he taught him many unprofitable things. For example, forty terms for snow, used depending on its flowability, color and time in which it fell. He suggested making mutant snowmen. He ordered the big snowball to be pushed into his native village, burned on his thigh with a sign of red-hot iron, enter fearlessly into the green cave.
In the small mirror that he had constructed under his influence, a thin sheet of glass separated two kilograms of mercury from the faces of random people moving towards it. Few people knew that poisoning with this beautiful liquid initially results in weakness, headache and limb pain. Then tremors and inconsistencies in walking appear. There are also progressive sleep disorders, impairment of concentration, impaired memory, changes in personality. Acute poisoning causes pneumonia and bronchitis leading to respiratory failure. The struggle with mercury fascinated Buczka mainly through its reflective properties. The silvery mass displayed dated features and shadows on the faces that were in it. The most distant, badly lit peripheries, unwanted recesses, capillaries of character, which had never been known before, were revealed in it.
Looking at his reflection, Buczek created a cool self-portrait. He washed on it with colors and painted water drops on its surface. The wet painting imprisoned his ideas in watery areas. Sticking to this delightful, drawn-out sadness seemed to Buczek a way to strip away the next layer of reality. Exposing her swampy, feverish interior. He also followed the mechanics of his brain. He cataloged and scanned all spoken words and behaviors. Nothing grew in his throat and more and more often did not let him speak. The objects he touched were getting damp, heavy and cold.
In the end, anxious for a long time pushed him to search for a brother he never had.

Curator: Marta Lisok

Mad Hatter or a total artist?
Dorota Śliwińska

The latest exhibition “Swallow anxiety” in Nova Gallery presents the works of Bartek Buczek – there is painting, video, spatial work and intriguing, not quite an ordinary mirror. This set makes me think of Buczka a total, versatile artist. Or is it just the Mad Hatter, drugged with mercury vapor?
The swallow is a symbol of freedom or longing for freedom, and in China it supposedly symbolized the relationship between the elder and the younger brother. Anxiety – perhaps related to freedom, fascination with the mystery of a place that somehow seems dangerous to the artist. This freedom is strange, full of fear and uncertainty.
Monochrome, gray painting Buczek immediately introduces into a state of melancholy, anxiety. Perhaps it is due to the color, and perhaps due to the presented stories. What connects images is the same format, canvas shape and gray. Four scenes and one self-portrait. Everyone tells a separate event, but they are bound by the atmosphere of uncertainty and the alienation of the places presented. This feeling of strangeness is intensified by a realistic presentation of scenes, strong contrast and chiaroscuro contrasts – and what is the purpose of the artist in these paintings? On one of the canvases, the man rolls a monstrous snowball on the side of the mountain, where in the distance, in the valley, there is a village. Is a superhero saving people or maybe a type from a dark star? It is difficult to assess …
The artist painted a self-portrait in which the hyper-realism hits. The photographic accuracy of recreating the image in combination with the large drops of water (located on the surface of the canvas) evokes an unstoppable desire to wipe the image. It is a game with the viewer and the viewer, an illusion of a certain situation, and although it has already had a fairly long history in the history of painting, it still has its power of influence.
Two other paintings show visionary landscapes straight from literature or science fiction movies. Whirling or angular forms fill the whole frame, not letting focus on what is around. Some sense of confusion is compensated by traces drawn between geometric shapes on one of the paintings, like the way in the maze. You can not see either the beginning or the end, you do not know what is lurking around the bend. This also seems to be painting. A labyrinth in which the only certain thing is uncertainty.
In a separate room, which is allowed by the architecture of the gallery, curator Marta Lisok put a short video titled “Title.” “Crying woman” with milk tears from cardboard box, which is usually set on the shelves of refrigerators. Crying Madonna? Interesting. Buczek plays in this work with the phenomenon of “crying” paintings or sculptures, usually considered a miracle. Each such event is thoroughly examined by masses of scientific and unscientific specialists. In the end, for lack of rational explanation, they are considered a miracle. Here this miracle is disarmed, happens on an ordinary carton with milk. The secret is hidden in two holes made by a pin through which milk is filtered. Ot all miracle, but how effective.
Bartek Buczek appears in this exhibition as an artist experimenting with construction and science in the literal sense. One of the presented works is a mirror. It is not an ordinary mirror that everybody looks at every day. There is pure mercury behind a small glass pane. Although used since antiquity, it was only in the 19th century that its negative impact on the human body was specified [1]. At that time, a hatter was a popular profession at the time, in other words a person making felt hats from felt. Paradoxically, diseases of this professional group influenced the determination of symptoms caused by inhalation of mercury vapor. The so-called “mad hatter’s syndrome” initially manifested in headaches, trembling hands, mood swings or extreme depression. Mercury was used when felting wool, and poorly ventilated rooms accumulated heated metal vapors. Fascination with mercury, and especially its properties changing the personality of a person, has become ever greater. Bartek Buczek placed this dangerous metal in a mirror that can be as harmful to the human psyche as mercury [2].
“Cave” is one of the most interesting elements of this exhibition. An intricate spatial cardboard construction that resembles a tunnel with “bent” walls. In combination with the light placed in the interior, the whole takes on expression and becomes something openwork, without losing the impression of solidity of the structure. Here, Buczek also enjoys creating objects from the borderline of art and science. It leaves the viewer with a mixed feeling of fascination with the construction and mystery of the elaborate “cave”.
The variety of works and specific themes as well as interesting artistic treatments make you want to penetrate deeper into this strange world. In spite of the uncertainty, not fully defined situations served in the works, Bartek Buczek appears like a mad hatter, possessed by his idea of a crazy riddle about the cave.
The variety of works and specific themes as well as interesting artistic treatments make you want to penetrate deeper into this strange world. In spite of the uncertainty, not fully defined situations served in the works, Bartek Buczek appears like a Mad Hatter, possessed by his idea of a crazy riddle about the crow. Undermining logic or looking for it where it should not be theoretically seems to be Buczek’s artistic strategy. The creation of enigmatic stories can become a good adventure in which many things are likely to happen.

Bartek Buczek, Swallowing Anxiety
Art Agenda Nova, Krakow
1-29 April 2011

[1] On the functioning of the mirror in culture they wrote: – Mark Pendergrast, Mirror mirror: a history of the human love affair with reflection, Basic Books, 2004; Mieczysław Wallis, History of the Mirror and its role in various fields of culture, Art and Film Publishing, Warsaw 1973.
[2] L. Connealy, The Mad Hatter Syndrome: Mercury and the Biological Toxicity, www.naturalnews.com/016544.html of 06/01/2006