Albert Oszek | Biography, Exhibitions, News

WHAT`S NEW?

The Social Trilogy
Lufcik Gallery,
Warsaw

23.01.2017 – 09.02.2017
https://owzpap.org/

Topography of Freedom
Szyb Wilson Gallery,
Katowice

08.04 – 31.05.2016
www.szybwilson.org
Topography of freedom, Szyb Wilson Gallery

Ni Dieu, Ni Maître
Urania,
Berlin

09.01.2016
https://gruppetendenzenberlin.wordpress.com/

Attached to Exercise,
POSK Gallery,
London

27.06 – 10.07.2015
www.posk.org/c5/pl/galeria/
London

VOM JUNG UND ALT SEIN
Künstlerverein Walkmühle e.V,
Wiesbaden

18.09 – 18.10.2015
www.walkmuehle.net/
einladungskarte_b

Art Transfer,
Kunsthallen Rottstr. 5,
Bochum

02.10 – 16.10.2014
www.rottstr5.de
Transfer, Kunsthallen Rottstr. 5, Bochum

Works

Limbus

albert_oszek_alecto_acrylic_200x150_2012

The Infantilisators

albert_oszek_infantilisator_object_70cm_2012 (1)

Bumvertising

Albert_Oszek_Kloszard_Nr_2

Bestiarium

albert_oszek_beelzebub_print_50x40_2002

In action

Adbusting

albert_oszek_situation_object_70cm_2013 (2)

TEXTS

“Transfer of ideas”

Magazine Artluk 1(33) 2015

[…] Sensitivity to social issues is apparent in Albert Oszek’s painting. In the gallery, the artist presented a series of paintings and objects entitled Limbo – Voices of the Forgotten, the theme of which corresponds to Luc Boltanski’s cantata Les Limbes. In his work, the French sociologist created a metaphor of an impoverished life of suspension in the void caused by the exclusion from the society. In the eponymous limbo, people are waiting for selection, hoping that when its result is favourable, they will be able to leave their current place of stay, start a happy life and enjoy a better social status. Awaiting the verdict, they find themselves small niches – this may be a newspaper placed on the floor, a bus stop shelter, a few disused tires, an old mattress tucked into a corner, or a large doll house. We are led to all these places by the character of a wanderer, who meets persons dear to him, one by one.
The song of the wanderer intertwines with the anguished voices of the forgotten, who sing, among others, about forced expropriation, disqualification and ceaseless waiting. Albert Oszek’s work refers to particular fragments of Boltanski’s poems. In his canvases, the artist presented the inhabitants of the limbo, while the objects located in the gallery space, prepared especially for the event (tires, a mattress, a doll house with the figure of a woman reading obituaries) visualised the places in which the unfortunate people dwelled. The figures are presented in a way which suggests their belonging to the underworld of the dead – thus, the artist symbolically points to the social death awaiting all the excluded, whether due to economic reasons or any other ones. The aura of sorrow, dejection and melancholy prevalent in this work is meant to reflect modern neuroses and frustrations. […]

Paweł Jagiełło

Ghoulish Children

Albert Oszek “The Infantilisators“

Art is like life – moments of surprise, or of amazement, stay in the memory the longest. Whatever is new, so far unnoticed, or peculiar stimulates the eye, while whatever is unusual arouses questions and provokes. This is the case with the output of the artist Albert Oszek, born in 1974, a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow. His new series of works entitled “The Infantilisators“ comprises paintings in which he applies classic painterly means to express an entirely novel content.Oszek has developed his painterly repertoire on the basis of classic modernism. The energy of the expressionist and symblist painting of the past – like the one present in the works by Francisco de Goya or James Ensor – flows out of his art . However, Oszek tackles the theme valid today – the contemporary world and life. Life here and now. Oszek is an artist, whose symbolics is rooted in reality. The author asks: What does consumerism do to people? What objects are we surrounded with? What will happen to us?

Albert Oszek does not depict people, but masks, models for which can be found, for example, in the ritual art of the Pacific islands: horrifying, demonic figures, stereotypical and devoid of individual features. Essentially, these figures tell about the condition of the society. Oszek’s hybrids oscillate between the human world and another one, which we are not really able to understand. The figures surround themselves with the objects of contemporary daily life – they wear suits, push prams, they consume. They are ghoulish children, repulsive clowns of the consumerist society,

The theme undertaken by Oszek is the manipulation of man – the ever increasing power of cosumerism. His critique of modernity is based on the concept of the ‘infantilisation‘ of the society, a concept used by the American political scientist Benjamin R. Barber in his book Consumed. The mental trauma sustained – as we may find out looking at the series of acrylic paintings and objects – is irreversible. Alien powers have taken control.

The creatures – the monsters – stare at us from the paintings, smiling moronically, their mouths open in which predatory teeth gleam. Their boundless narcism inspires with fear. It is a challenge to view the paintings. After all, it is us who end up ridiculed – with the mastery of a virtuoso, a keen eye and no mercy.

Marc Peschke

“About Civilization of Plenty” Magazine EXIT No. 2 (94) 2013

About Civilization of Plenty

Hosts of exalted aesthetes who expect only visual bliss from art shouldn’t bother with Albert Oszek’s works. His pieces don’t satisfy escapist fantasies, they are not fulfilled through harmonious formalism nor do they levitate at the heights of esoteric abstraction.Instead, his art is about something – a statement set in a certain context, a comment on what is happening here and now. The artist doesn’t relate only to specific situations but more importantly calls a spade a spade – a rare virtue in contemporary painting. Two (cycles) series deserve attention in particular, as they constitute a detached view of the civilization of plenty and present man who dwells in it entangled in the mechanisms of mass culture. The ideological significance of these works is further emphasized by their form derived from both Pop Art and Expressionism.

Paintings from the series “The Infantilizators” are populated by the contemporary consumer-men, individuals shocked by the surrounding reality, overwhelmed with an excess of stimuli, their faces frozen in a bizarre grimace combining greed and surprise. Goggleeyed and with bared teeth, the characters resemble zombies – hypnotized creatures, stripped off any free will or conscience, automatically responding to external stimuli. In case of infantilizers, the stimuli are of course audio-visual and come from the mass media, billboards and shop windows attacking the consumers from all sides with offers of yet another product without which our lives will surely be deficient. Interestingly enough, all this takes place against a plain background of homogeneous color. The whole abundance of products is usually reduced to a single item – the character’s facial expression reveals the rest.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the title of the series brings to mind Benjamin R. Barber’s book Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole, which is an attempt at a critical analysis of the socio-economic situation in the Western World. As Barber points out, large corporations ensure that they reduce adult consumers of goods and entertainment to children who easily act upon the impulse to own, and that children themselves are raised to be ready-made consumers never allowed to confront their infantile id ruled by the pleasure principle and determined to satisfy its basic drives. A similar thought can be found in Albert Oszek’s paintings, whose subjects include adults with child-like mentality, or children whose ability to critically assess the usefulness of material goods is disabled at the early stages of development. Another cycle with similar connotations is “Bumvertising” – a series of works depicting wellknown corporate logos often painted on the packaging held by tramps. Following a strictly journalistic line of analysis of Oszek’s works, one inevitably associates these particular pieces with another important book of the last decade, namely No Logo – the “alter-globalist bible” by Naomi Klein. Indeed, it seems impossible to escape the impression that under a thick layer of paint, there is a distinct element of civilian protest against the ubiquitous logo, which for many people sensitive to the nuances of the contemporary culture has become the symbol of unbridled capitalism and arrogance of the business world.

Since the homeless don’t participate in the neverending ritual of exchange, they don’t propel the market, thus being useless to advertisers – beyond their area of interest or influence. In the reality dominated by mass culture vagrants are second-class citizens – they are not a tar-get group to be lured into buying a product or lifestyle. At the same time, using objects manufactured for advertising purposes – in this case bags – they become living billboards, unwittingly publicizing the corporate logotype. The artist skillfully utilizes the resulting contrast between an evidence of overproduction and the still unresolved social issue stemming from huge disproportions in wealth distribution.

I strongly advise those who might think Oszek’s art borders on moralizing or blatant journalism to look at the canvases again and see how wrong they are. The carefully designed visual form where homogeneous backgrounds and poster-like simplicity harmoniously coexist with the freedom of expression visible in the way silhouettes and faces are depicted. A brave use of color completes the rest and lends the paintings a strong decorative aspect, though (fortunately) it is difficult to imagine they could exist in a purely aesthetic context. It is good to know that someone still uses an easel to create art that can’t be reduced to mere postage stamp images.

Paweł Jagiełło

BIOGRAPHY

Albert Oszek

1974 born in Katowice
Lives and works in Düsseldorf and Warsaw
2008 – 2010 Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow
Post-Diploma Studies, Faculty of Painting
1997 – 2002 University of Silesia in Katowice
Faculty of Art, Master’s degree in Graphic Design
1994 – 1996 Post – secondary vocational school in Iserlohn
Graphic Designer Assistant

 

Solo Exhibitions

2015 Limbo – Voices of The Forgotten, Color Generator, Bochum
2014 Art Transfer / The Infantilisators, Kunsthallen Rottstr. 5, Bochum
2013 Wanderer, Ars Nova Gallery, Łódź
2012 Adbusting, Ether Gallery, Warsaw
Attack of The Stoneheads, ZPAP ArtNova2 Gallery, Katowice
2011 The Infantilisators, Eternia Gallery, Łódź
Bumvertising, Free Culture Festival, Łódź
Consumer society, European Network Academy for Social
Movements, Freiburg University
The Infantilisators, Przytyck Gallery, Tarnowskie Góry
2010 Angels & Animals, Strych Gallery, Będzin
Logo – Homo – Totem, Strefart Gallery, Tychy
2006 Bestiarium, Tohunga Gallery, Katowice

 

Group Exhibitions

2016 Topography of Freedom, Szyb Wilson Gallery, Katowice
Ni Dieu, Ni Maître, Urania, Berlin
2015 Being young and old, Künstlerverein Walkmühle, Wiesbaden,
Attached to Exercise, POSK Gallery, London
Animalis, BWA Gallery, Nowy Targ
2014 Art Transfer, Szyb Wilson Gallery, Katowice
Animalis, MM Gallery, Chorzów
2013 Crash, Freies Kunst Territorium Gallery, Bochum
Adbusting Situations, Fundation Gallery Hyperion, Katowice
Crash, Szyb Wilson Gallery, Katowice
2012 Picture Architecture, Art Gallery “Bez Podziału”, Dąbrowa Górnicza
Phantasmagoria, Castle Museum, Będzin
Where are we coming from? Who are we? Where are we going to?, Castle Chapel Gallery, Szydłowiec
Unusual, Na Starówce Gallery, Żory
2011 1946-2011 Decades, History of Katowice Museum
Let’s get to know, Widzimisie Gallery, Siedlce
Ground Art Festival, Lufcik Gallery, Warsaw
Slot Art Festival, Artkatedra, Lubiąż
Identity, Strych Gallery, Będzin
Imaginary Garden – Museums at Night, Atrium of Academy of Music, Katowice
Identities, Stara Fabryka Drutu Gallery, Gliwice
2010 Art in dots, Termo Organika, Cracow
2008 Circus, Art Week Jesteburg, Heimathaus Gallery, Jesteburg
Good America – Bad America, Noah Gallery, Augsburg
2004 Pre-contest exhibition, “Höhler-Biennale 2005”, Gera

 

Scholarships / Awards

2014 III Award at the Triennial of Painting “Animalis”, Chorzów
2012 Award of the City of Szczecin President, 24th Festival of Polish Modern Painting, Szczecin
2012 Scholarship of the Marshal of the Silesian Voivodeship, Katowice
2009 Award at Vincent van Gogh National Art Contest, Rybnik Power Station’s Fundation
1995 Award at art contest, Bezirksforum der BAG Arnsberg

CONTACT

Albert Oszek

info@albertoszek.com

Galeria Ether
www.galeriaether.com
Tel. + 48 698 783 738
ul. Kopernika 36/40
00-328 Warsaw
Poland
etnograf@pro.wp.pl

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