Ireneusz Bęc | RECOVERY | Galeria Olympia | 3 April – 3 May 2014

If painters return to their works it is usually in order to change something, to improve something, to add something. Ireneusz Bęc is no different. Except that instead of adding something, he is taking away. The subsequent layers of paint disappear from canvases which are often very old, painted more than a quarter of a century ago. He himself says: "I was curious about how I used to paint." Some paintings gave in completely – and there are only grey canvases left which look like they did a quarter of a century ago. Others, because the painter painted over them with a different kind of paint which is difficult to remove, proved to be more stubborn and now show new colours, new images, new compositions. Nothing more could be removed from them. As the artist himself says: "I worked until they said to me: this is it, we will not let you go any further."


Ireneusz Bęc is into a kind of recycling of his own paintings. He does not act like most painters, who in most cases in the absence of canvases paint over old paintings. That's not what he wants. Bęc leaves his old paintings which he made many years ago, only removing from only layer after layer of paint down to the point where further removal is technically impossible as it would cause damage to the canvas and the destruction of the painting. The painter unveils their new character, which is surprising for him as well, as chance comes into play here.

Bęc's paintings never grow old because they are in constant use. The artist is continually using them, changing them to make them useful and therefore, let's not be afraid to use the word, alive. Until the final moment, when they can be no longer used due to limited strength of the fabric from which they are made. At this point they find their way into the gallery to hang on walls, and from there tell their story.
Jan Kawiorski
  • Ireneusz Bęc, 2010-2014, oil and gentian on canvas , 115x110

    Ireneusz Bęc, 2010-2014,

  • Ireneusz Bęc, 1986-2014, oil and gentian on canvas, 128x119

    Ireneusz Bęc 1986-2014

  • Ireneusz Bęc, 2002-2014, oil and gentian on canvas , 130x140

    Ireneusz Bęc, 2002-2014,

  • Ireneusz Bęc, 2013-2014, oil and gentian on canvas , 140x130

    Ireneusz Bęc, 2013-2014,

  • Ireneusz Bęc, 1993-2012, oil and gentian on canvas, 142x102

    Ireneusz Bęc, 1993-2012,

  • Ireneusz Bęc, 1986-2014, oil and gentian on canvas,  145x130

    Ireneusz Bęc, 1986-2014,

  • Ireneusz Bęc, 1999-2014, oil and gentian on canvas, 141x99

    Ireneusz Bęc, 1999-2014,

  • Ireneusz Bęc, A.R.B. Figure X 1990, 2013, oil and gentian on canvas,  180x160

    Ireneusz Bęc, A.R.B. Figure X 1990, 2013