Rafał Wilk focuses his art work – video installations, animations, and paintings – on seemingly insignificant events from the past and the present. He picks out the little traces of irony in everyday life, directing his attention to what usually happens in the background. He perceives daily occurrences from a dreamlike perspective, which allows him to disturb the standard notions, principles, and laws we live by. The artist generates emotions and sensations that enrich our real-world experience with all that is uncanny and inexpressible, and yet forming an intrinsic part of our reality.
In his latest paintings, presented at the exhibition titled “Under this island there is another island”, Rafał Wilk portrays urban and house plants, which have so far served as a meaningful background of his artworks. He takes a closer look at our relationships with the surrounding vegetation, entangling it into broad and versatile contexts.
By contemplating his nearest natural environment, Rafał Wilk goes beyond the anthropocentric viewpoint and blurs the borders between the order of culture and nature. He is interested in greenery planted among modern buildings for aesthetic pleasure or pot plants grown on window sills, much more than in nature reserves separated from city life. The plants in his paintings are not chosen at random. They are, for example, plants that purify the air or have healing powers (aloe) or magical properties (pilea, crassula). Tamed and domesticated, the plants have lost their original functions, shapes, and meanings.
In the “Under this island there is another island” exhibition, Rafał Wilk uses the plants around us as a pretext to place emphasis on the process of defragmentation and deterioration, which has gradually affected our social and personal relationships these days. They frequently consist of distant and separated elements, areas, islands, which form a whole only because they are our experience. We have lost continuity and consistency that normally result from natural cycles and connections. At times, though, something forces us to stop and see things the way they are – to notice the causes and effects of our actions.
(born 1979) A graduate of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Zielona Góra.
He has shown his projects in Poland and abroad, incl. Wroclaw Contemporary Museum, BWA Zielona Góra, Center of Polish Sculpture in Orońsko, Gdańsk City Gallery and “Zachęta” National Gallery of Art in Warsaw. Hi is a Grand Prix of the Painting of the Year competition winner, organized by “Art & Business” (2005), Scholarship of the Minister of Culture (2009, 2020), Scholarship of the City of Warsaw (2014, 2019).
His works are in private and institutional collections.
Rafał Wilk . Under this island there is another island
Opening hours: 13–19