Wlodzimierz Pawlak, Anatomia samolotu/ Airplane's Anatomy

Wlodzimierz Pawlak

Pawlak was born on April 15, 1957 in Korytowo, a town in the Zyrardow region of Poland. He lives in Korytowo and Warsaw.

From 1972 to 1978, he studied at a technological secondary school, and during his studies he developed an interest in painting. From 1979 to 1980, he began studies as an auditing student in the workshop of Rajmund Ziemski in the Institute of Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Between 1980 and 1985, he studied to receive his diploma in the same studio. Beginning in 1986 he became a teacher at the Institute for Industrial Design at his alma mater (till 2007).

While still a student, at the end of 1982, he became a member of the artist collective Gruppa. He was a participant in almost every one of their exhibitions and actions, and co-edited the publication “All Right Already,” which included verses, manifestos, and texts of lectures. As part of Gruppa he took part in the independent art movements of the 1980’s. During this time, he was able to establish himself as an artist sensitive to the social and political implications of martial law. He commented on the political situation by utilizing unrefined, straightforward metaphor. Pawlak’s student thesis paintings were a series titled “Painted Images” (1985). The artist had the intention (not realized) to paint over them in the presence of his diploma committee. Doing so would have been a gesture of destruction, while at the same time expressing solidarity with the anonymous painters of political slogans on walls. In a series of paintings created between 1986 and 1987, he applied a treatment that covered his composition in a layer of paint, which was an original kind of appropriation that strengthened in art the aesthetic of motifs painted as political slogans on walls. In a radical change in medium, his next cycle of work was “Didactic surface” (1987-1988). In this series, he filled a gridded surface with ideograms, maps, and other characters symbolizing knowledge and
culture. Quite a contrast to negative sketches on chalkboards. Immediately after the cycle, his next period of creation was uniform in composition, in contrast to his previous nonfigurative Diaries (from 1989 to today.) At the same time he created a series of collages under the same title, composed of tubes of paint, pencils, tickets, receipts, boxes of matches, postcards, etc. At the beginning of the 1990’s, he also created a series of white paintings, expanding later to other colors. In the middle of 1991, in a group of paintings related to the subject of Władysław Strzemiński, the artist engaged a dialogue with the history of art in Poland, selecting a chapter heavily immersed in politics.

Text by Maryla Sitkowska

Exhibitions at Propaganda:

Airplane Anatomy

Blue the Most Beautiful Color in the World

Oh, It’s All Right Now

Small is Big


In Between