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ALTER EGO – PAWEŁ ŁYJAK

5th  August – 15th  Okt. 2017

Curator: Bartek Jarmoliński

This artist, who belongs to the young generation most often reaches for stories from his childhood. And these are complex stories in which the author is the main character. Actually, Paweł Łyjak creates a widely understood self-portrait from his life story. Regardless of the motifs presented in the paintings, graphics, drawings, whether they contain his likenesses or representations of other people, they all describe the author’s complex personality. Being a collector, a gatherer of unnecessary, somewhat worn out, useless items, the author creates objects and sets of objects with an unfamiliar history that anyone can create by themselves. In Łyjak's work, the past is always present. 

 

Personality as an internal regulation system that brings things together, integrates feelings, thoughts and behaviour, defines each person and determines everyone’s individuality. This individuality is made up of many elements, directly connected with the past, with experiences, events and the process of self-understanding. Influence of childhood and relationships with the immediate surroundings and the experiences with the world at this time of life affect the development of everyone’s personality. A certain kind of reckoning  with the past defines to a large extent Paweł Łyjak's works. This artist, who belongs to the young generation most often reaches for stories from his childhood. And these are complex stories in which the author is the main character. Actually, Paweł Łyjak creates a widely understood self-portrait from his life story. Regardless of the motifs presented in the paintings, graphics, drawings, whether they contain his likenesses or representations of other people, they all describe the author’s complex personality. Being a collector, a gatherer of unnecessary, somewhat worn out, useless items, the author creates objects and sets of objects with an unfamiliar history that anyone can create by themselves. In Łyjak's work, the past is always present. Using old photographs, including his own childhood pictures, he creates a story about a man who, as a child, created his world in which he found everything he needed, everything that protected him from danger. In "The Display case", a portrait photo from the author's childhood, placed by him in the frame of the display case, is the beginning of a symbolic story, using the photo of the boy who is put between and on the pin for hanging keys. It is a hiding place where the boy hid from the external to be able to tame it and dress "the hurt" parts of himself. The use of a miniature photograph of a beautiful little boy, on which the author painted the traces of the passage of time, destruction, all the way to the partially visible details, presents childhood bliss. If not for a title, it would be difficult to know who Łyjak actually presented in his work. And it is ... Benito, Benito Mussolini. Similarly to the Italian dictator, he presented Benito’s ideological prototype, that is Adolf Hitler. The image of a charmingly dressed seated German appears among a composition made up of stripes. The second part of the work entitled "First Holy Communion" is a faceless painting of the author, depicting a boy in a jacket and a stance typical of first communion photos. Instead of the face, the tablecloth on which the painting was made appears. There are stripes in this pattern too. Reference to the clothes of people imprisoned in extermination camps during the second World War is visible right away. Childhood, which was supposed to be a land of happiness, an idyll, and the oasis of good ... turned out to be a trauma, a barrier to get used to and to overcome in adulthood. Paweł Łyjak consciously draws on his own and "collected" history, creates his own portrait, being an investigator, narrator and main character of the history, and he finds characters who become his "Alter Ego"./ Bartek Jarmoliński