Mikołaj Małek

Painter, draughtsman, assemblage and installation artist.

Born in Brwinow, Poland in 1983. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in 2009. In 2014 he gained scholarship from Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. The exhibitions he has had include solo shows at CCA Kronika, Bytom, the Bunkier Sztuki, Krakow, the Otwarta Pracownia, Krakow and group shows at MOCAK, Krakow, Zderzak Gallery, Krakow, CCA Kronika, Bytom and the Princes Czartoryski Museum, Krakow among others. He explores the question of imagination and the dynamic relationship between the imagined and the real. His artistic practice includes building models, installations, small interferences, sketches and references to literature, which once transformed, appear in his narrative works. He lives and works in Warsaw, Poland.


Mikołaj Małek – Artist Statement

As a visual artist, I work on the margins of the media of painting and sculpture, employing for the purpose left-over and abandoned elements, both iconographic and material.  So one can claim that my creative method rests largely in compounding fragment remaining after a collapse of one-in-many micro-worlds or after a decomposition of memory.

As an archaeologist, I excavate apparently insignificant, forgotten content and forms belonging to a dated era (the 1980s and ‘90s) and combine them into sculpture-installation structures, or into representations in the shape of painting and drawing compositions.

I consider manners of ordering chaos. I invoke childhood experiences and, as in Gombrowicz’s Cosmos, I propose a paper-chase, a tracking of senses that has been displaced alongside becoming an adult and an abandonment of the primal world order. I symbolically re-create the fragile order of apparent chance and I investigate the role of chance in the process of cognition.

As essential aspect of my assemblages is their provisionality, imperfection, error. I use coloured resin casts of machine parts, toys, objects of everyday use and organic elements such as feathers or plant seeds. Of these I create constellations, in which the reflected encounters the primal.

In my painting, I employ a limited palette. As in the case of mock-up construction, I build a painting or drawing record of the process of emergence or re-composition of a world out of remains. Drawing on motifs from old magazines, manuals, board games, adds, photographs and memories, I paint a potentiality of encounter. Following the non-linear operation of memory and dream narrative, I juxtapose in individual paintings apparently distant elements, which I make intimate in this peculiar reality.