Michał Budny (born 1976) and Kajetan Sosnowski (1913–1987) meet for the first time. This joint exhibition combines the latest objects by Budny with Sosnowski’s “sewn paintings” and reveals the intriguing shared strains in their works. This symbiotic confrontation re-examines the existing positions of both artists in the history of art, disclosing the broader, art-historical context of Budny’s practice and restoring to contemporary relevance the original and still underappreciated work of Sosnowski.
The common denominator for both figures is an imposing clarity of vision, the expressiveness of simple but subtle forms, and a purist relationship to the material as the physical essence of the work. The tactile and emotional content of temperature, colour, light, weight, density and softness inheres in organic materials and their structure—in natural canvas, rubber, wood or steel. The works of both artists, seemingly abstract, in various ways defy easy classifications of genre. They operate through images and masses but use little painting or sculpting.
Budny’s most recent sculptural objects are a kind of spatial choreography. The individual figures—masses—are based on the simplest gestures, motions of the hands or arms, executed within a circumference of opening, gathering, grasping, embracing. They allude to relations and emotions. Sosnowski’s sewn paintings similarly combine fundamental gestures of cutting, sewing, and stretching, alluding to actions associated with the creation of clothing and enshrouding of the body. This humanistic dimension of Budny’s and Sosnowski’s compositions generally finds its origins in an abstract drawing—noted on paper or only conceptualized—as a type of minimalist score, the simplest recording of an idea.
Kajetan Sosnowski worked on his sewn paintings from the mid-1970s. He executed them himself using a sewing machine and different varieties of linen and cotton canvas. He created three different series of these works: Katalipomena (the simplest compositions sewn from matching pieces of raw canvas), Interventions (paintings from a single piece of material sewn to form folds on its surface), and Equivalent Arrangements (compositions based on mathematical proportions, sewn from varied, often multicoloured canvases). The inspiration for creation of paintings from raw material was his stay at the plein-air in Jagniątków, Lower Silesia, in 1975, with the theme of environmental protection. Katalipomena (from the Greek for preserving or protecting) was intended by the artist as a project with an ecological message, “an homage to the perfection of nature,” as he put it. Focusing on the natural structure of linen or cotton, the drawing of warp and weft, takes on an essential, nearly cosmological meaning here. A similar organic thinking about material characterizes the works of Michał Budny. In both instances, addressing the physical properties of natural materials is an attempt to restore balance—environmental and spiritual.