Conjuring up Sculpture

BWA Gallery in Bydgoszcz, 09.02–11.03.2018
Curator: Jagna Domżalska

The exhibition “Conjuring up Sculpture” is a meeting of two artists – Dorota Buczkowska and Michał Smandek – who have for years followed each other’s careers with great interest, noticing a similarity between visual forms used by them. Both of them, creating spatial situations, use installation and photography. The artists achieve similar effects with the use of different means and goal pursuit.
The works made by Dorota Buczkowska result from her sensual exploration of matter, contact with it and trying to understand where form is hidden in a given material, which the artist is supposed to bring out. Michał Smandek searches for forms and situations which he provokes using physical forces and potential of the place, in which he finds himself in a given moment.
A common feature of the works of art that “meet” at the exhibition is shaping, inducing and conjuring up sculpture, which potential existence is sensed by artists in a given place.

Jagna Domżalska


Both Dorota Buczkowska and Michał Smandek can be distinguished by their respect to existing space. Their activities derive from fascination and reflective gazing at the studied space. The artists combine what’s existing with materiality generated by them. Images created by them, frequently based on a traditionally balanced composition, are at the same time carriers of emotional and intellectual meanings.

It is a unique way of completing composition or blending in, which allows for advanced selection of the place. It appears that forms, which in some sense come from outside, incorporate into materiality of the surrounding, and are used to expand its interpretation. In this case, materiality is understood as a carrier of presence and impulse for exploration and discovery. Activities of the artists are used to check the surrounding, its potential and susceptibility to redefinition. It’s an exceptional movement, which takes place through introduction of new components, seems to discover layering, possibility of the studied place. It is a unique, symbiotic union between an object / artistic activity and the place, which can come into being provided that potential is both sensed and consciously found. This leads to dialogue and constant exchange.

Forms, which can be regarded as abstract, blend in the scenery, sometimes making them unreal, but at other times they become more recognizable and can be named. We can witness an unusual communication, in which what is recognized, existing, abstract and new coexists, deepening its being. It takes place in the scope of both composition and intellectual-emotional areas. It can be described as taming through adding/dialectics, and such additivity has no features of arbitrary appropriation or subordination.

Smandek moves and travels to find places that have potential for art. The artist’s movement is the first gesture made toward the place, given to it. Another one is “stop” as the opposition to dynamics, but also capturing into emotional possession, recording and documenting. This lack of motion, gentle rationalization is also provided with hidden movement, evolution of the place and forms present in it.

Buczkowska accepts an unpredictable element, in some way “giving away” elements created by her, which nature absorbs, incorporating them smoothly to its motion. Refined dynamics, observation of changes and transformation seem to be these factors that make possible combining, establishing a close relationship between the artist’s gesture and potential of place and nature.

Buczkowska creates forms that are more rounded, soft, drifting, whereas Smandek features linear, constructive shapes, where sometimes an austere, metal structure changes into a graphic, geometric, subtle gesture of composition. This specific architecture and line drawing blend in the explored landscape, organize space, followed by integration of gestures, which means joint composition through coexistence and stop.

A situation, created by the artists, in the moment of direct, personal FINDING of a place, means also annexation of apparent oppositions – heaviness and lightness, stability and ephemerality, existence and creation. Buczkowska and Smandek trigger the research process, which constitutes value per se, just like a gesture or trace left in space, which origin gets obliterated.

Dorota Buczkowska and Michał Smandek, fulfilling the need of artistic expression, respect the space in which they function. It is a type of composing though the potential of sculpture, which materiality, weight, and interference are marked only to the extent that is required to feel this place. Viewing these artworks gives a sense of stopping in deep feeling and blending in the existing rhythm, free and unconstrained, but also balanced following. Works of art made by both artists originate from careful observation, and their activities, carried out in space, seem to ask the fundamental questions about gesture, composition, the study of nature, and exchange. In the case of these artists, it means searching for relations with space through the gesture of “conjuring up sculpture,” namely signaling its materiality and embodiment, taken from individual potential of place. The meaning of sculpture in this case expands and penetrates space, assimilating into it. It is a unique type of diffusion of sculpting elements in the surrounding, nature, which seems to accept and absorb them. These works are based on personal experiencing of place, going deep into it, which leads to development of a gesture that “returns” to the place that is explored, unites with it, generates energy and absorbs it in the same time. It is a type of intentional coincidence and subtle concretization that allow for integration, collectivity of creative work with nature.

Karolina Pikosz

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