“Megalomania” is a sculptural study of size, ambition and fragility. Through each individual work, which have all been created especially for the exhibition, Brzeski, in his own particular and masterful style, faces off with figures and materials that appear in various ways hyperbolic, even imagined. The greatest, in terms of size (the word greatness meaning also size in Polish), of all the works on show is, in fact, titled “Imagined Greatness” ; a gigantic figure of a dwarf made out of thin steel rods. The same material was used for the sculpture of a sword swallower, in which a blade of sword immersed in a laboratory flask containing hydrochloric acid, is being slowly digested. The “Whisper from the Back of the Head” and “I Speak Things” are surrealist studies of heads sculpted out of solid blocks of steel, within which words and whispers take on a real, physical weight. “Losing Face”, a large piece made of rusty metal bars, describes the state of disintegration and uncertainty in an almost literary fashion. Last but not least, a composition with a rusty easel and a spider web, with its resident lurking in wait.
The disruption of scale and weight, the fanciful use of material, the transference of drawing into the physical space and an obsessive imagination that revolves around the human figure—these are the standard elements of Brzeski’s craft. For this show, the artist makes an additional gesture in dividing the exhibition space into two parts. One part contains all the objects included in the show, while the other remains empty. It’s a subversive tactic meant to deprive his own works of a comfortable space in which to dwell, composing, instead, a sort of painting spread against the gallery wall. At the same time, he sets into motion a subsequent level of illusion, urging the viewer to read the whole as a staged drama featuring the artist, his sculptures and his dilemmas. The acts of performing and posing fit right in to the megalomania of the title – a universal phenomenon that is, by the same token, ideal fodder for insects and corrosion.
“Through the use of spatial, physical size,” says Brzeski, “I refer to how we measure our potential, the ratio of size to other great forces at work within us. In particular, these two major opposing forces: on the one hand the feeling of Godliness and “I can do anything”, and on the other, “I am nothing and I’ve messed it all up again”. And these two forces get in the others’ way, with one leading at first, only to give way to the other.”