5-28 September 2014
Vernissage: 4 Sepember at 7.00 pm


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Take Swing on the Thread of Life is the premiere exhibition of works created within the period of 10 years (from December 2001 to June 2011) by Jan Dobkowski. The series consists of 383 drawings in pencil on handmade paper, all measuring 36 by 47 cm, and differing only in hue.


Jan Dobkowski, one of the drawings from the series, 2011


The following are excerpts from the yet unpublished text Take a Swing on the Thread of Life by Janusz Zagrodzki, provided especially for the catalogue devoted to the exhibition of Jan Dobkowski' works (scheduled to be held this September in Galeria Bielska BWA).

"(...) The Take a Swing on the Thread of Life series constitutes both a development and complement of the artist's earlier sets of drawings. It is a reflection of the new visions crystallising in his mind, an illumination of personal experience, a sort of spiritual contemplation, allowing him to register images at will as they come and go. Dobkowski periodically excludes himself from the shackles of reality, surrounding himself by intimate being, a magical territory, where the hand, guided by expanded consciousness, draws revealed figures and signs. The drawings from [this] series were created over the course of nearly ten years, starting from December 2001. The artist marked the successive pieces with a self-invoked substance of life. The being in question is placed in a conventional, inter-subjective space. Each of its fragments, transposed to paper, has the same dimensions of 36 x 47 centimetres. Using the secret knowledge generated by the energy of art, the artist enclosed in the coiling lines the potential attributes of the forces and phenomena that are constantly present in both the cosmos and in human existence on Earth. He transformed these attributes into unique figural images, symbolic incarnations of multifarious being. Although the description predetermines nothing, allowing for free composition and shunning academic rules and tenets, the ‘omnipresent' line never leaves the selected area, confined only by the edges of the drawing. The channelling of events continues incessantly, on a stream-of-consciousness basis, until the moment of fulfilment, completion of the cycle, when the series of revelations is stopped and everything has already been told. The last instalment of this spectacle of visual sensations concludes with sheet no. 383, made on June 28, 2011. A highly suggestive authorial commentary on the monotony of the real world, the series conveys the artist's personal interpretation but also the form of something not entirely determinate, something that can be identified with the ‘character of life'. Like all languages of the world, Dobkowski's visual idiom, filled with his unique combination of linear shapes, is both highly complex and incredibly simple. If we accept his notion of visual language as a free play of unruly lines, building the events of an imaginary world, we can hardly expect polite or stereotypical behaviour from the protagonists so evoked. Imbued with life, the line invites us to play a flexible, open philosophical game.
The figures depicted by the artist manifest a process of inner transmutation, progressing from analysis to synthesis, transforming the rules of human life, with the sexual characteristics mingling freely, into an ornament-enriched comprehensive image. Even though Dobkowski's drawings refer to a widely construed creational cosmogony, they demarcate another chain of correlations by combining the spiritual with the erotic. The artist includes eroticism - the manifestations of which are inextricably bound up with the essence of constantly renewing life - in the sphere of the sacred."


Jan Dobkowski was born in Łomża, 1942. His artistic pursuits include painting, drawing and action planning. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw; honours degree under Professor Jan Cybis for winner of Rector's Award in 1968; winner of the C. K. Norwid Art Criticism Award (1978) and the Jan Cybis Award for Lifetime Achievement (1994); awarded the Silver Medal for Merit to Culture - Gloria Artis (2013).

Between 1967 and 2014 the works by Jan Dobkowski were exhibited in nearly 200 solo exhibitions and over 200 group exhibitions in public and private institutions and galleries in Poland and abroad.


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