In his monumental photographs, taken with a large-format analogue camera, Pawel Bownik examines “artificiality” in photography. Drawing inspiration from the classic iconography of historical still lifes, 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 invokes 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.
About the Author
Warsaw-based artist PAWEL BOWNIK (*1977) studied philosophy and sociology in Lublin, as well as photography and multimedia at the Poznan Academy of Fine Arts. His work has been exhibited in numerous group shows in Poland, i.a. in the Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw (2014). Recent solo exhibitions include Bownik: Colours of Lost Time at BWA Warsaw (2019), and the presentation of his Reverse and Disassembly series at Ravestijn Gallery, Amsterdam (2017).
About the Publisher
Hatje Cantz is an international publisher of illustrated books on art, architecture, photography, design, and visual culture, founded by Gerd Hatje in Stuttgart in 1945. Since its inception, Hatje Cantz has been developing and publishing illustrated books with a special focus on quality, both in terms of content and production.