Karolina Jabłońska, Tomasz Kręcicki, Cyryl Polaczek<br>POTENCY

Hel­lish Road, Ear­th­worms, The Night­mare, Stran­gling, Snake & Tit—we are showing these and other works pain­ted in recent months, weeks and days in an exhibition of three young artists wor­king in the Kraków district of Zabłocie. The “potency” from the title is the name of the small gal­lery they foun­ded together and have operated for the last couple of years, but also an expres­sion of a ravenous appetite: for unfeigned emotions, for pain­ting every day and grab­bing pic­tures by the throat.

They are linked by the place they studied—the Faculty of Pain­ting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków—and by the city where they set­tled after finishing their studies. But what links them first and foremost is a zeal for exploring various pain­terly means of inter­preting reality and their belief that its tor­turous dark side is decidedly more intriguing.


The pain­tings of Karolina Jabłońska (born 1991, graduated 2015) allude to the creative freedom of Art Brut, Neo-​Expressionism and the con­fes­sional art of feminists and female moder­nists. Intense pink and its fleshy hue bring out the dark eroticism of the works, aboun­ding in scenes of heigh­tened sen­sitivity, ecstatic violence and distur­bing hal­lucinations. A lyrical sub­ject here, appearing in many of the pain­tings, is a con­tem­porary young girl with huge brown eyes. Their over-sizing—whether it hides terror or excess curiosity—assumes an almost obses­sive charac­ter. The sweet sul­triness of Karolina’s pain­ting draws energy from the literary threads she traces and from the immediate reac­tion to an over-​controlled and testosterone-​drenched reality.


Tomasz Kręcicki (born 1990, graduated 2015) con­structs his pain­tings with intel­lec­tual precision, con­sciously manipulating conven­tions of depiction—from Pop Art to minimalism and pop-​banalism. At the centre of the artist’s interest are objects and props so ordinary that he can effec­tively play on their images: to mythologize the everyday and to throw into doubt its poetic beauty eagerly exploited by artists. A series of pain­tings are com­posed as film stills displaying an unexpec­ted, delirious war­ping of reality: levitating slices of salami, cigarette butts fal­ling from lips, or mon­strous fin­ger­tips. The suc­cinct­ness and explicit­ness of these works is best cap­tures by the title of one of them: O, fuck!


Afterimages of old instruments of tor­ture and reminiscen­ces of old pain­ting appear in the works of Cyryl Polaczek (born 1989, graduated 2014). The tech­nical meticulousness drawn from them leads to ver­satile, refined pain­terly effects. The artist penetratin­gly observes the sub­stance and texture of the paint to serve as the foun­dation for striking, car­toon com­positions made with a thin paint­brush or a nail. Clots of paint and other random imper­fec­tions of pain­ting also become a point of depar­ture for fur­ther works in which they form for exam­ple an illusionist effect of a swarm of insects clin­ging to the sur­face of the pain­ting. A sub­cutaneous anxiety seeps from these coloristically sub­lime works, but the essen­tial action of the pain­tings plays out on the skin itself—the thick, pain­terly surface.

Cyryl Polaczek, Snake & Tit, 2017, oil on canvas, 35 x 25 cm

Tomasz Kręcicki, O fuck!, 2016, oil on canvas, 85 x 100 cm

2017 exhibitions

Karolina Jabłońska, Tomasz Kręcicki, Cyryl Polaczek


Poster image: Karolina Jabłońska, Eye, 2017, oil on canvas, 150 x 150 cm