In his monumental photographs, taken with a large-format analogue camera, Paweł Bownik examines “artificiality” in photography. Drawing inspiration from the classic iconography of historical still lifes, and genre painting, as well as the aesthetics of 1940s American cinema, he questions historical norms of representation. Carefully dissecting the elementary components of his subjects, his work is driven by his attention to minutiae. Flowers are disassembled, only to be surgically reconstructed – without hiding their artificiality. Alternatively, he challenges the historical narratives symbolized by traditional costumes. Turning them inside-out introduces the possibility of a different reading: In their reversed state, the intricate embroideries not only reveal their materiality, but also speak of their socio-historical context. Undercoat encompasses Bownik's work from the past decade, informed by the artist’s awareness of the underlying patterns that give form to our surroundings and how we perceive them.

Warsaw-based artist PAWEŁ BOWNIK (b.1977) studied philosophy and sociology in Lublin, as well as photography and multimedia at the Poznań Academy of Fine Arts. His work has been exhibited in numerous group shows in Poland and beyond.

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