Tomasz Vetulani »

There is no threat

Weapons and colour

24 Oct.-15 Dec. 2017


Tomasz Vetulani's work balances between two fascinating axes, producing an image of an artist juggling various means of expression. From intriguing and expressive objects, made by him from, say, hot white glue or black silicon, with strong social and political connotations - to subtle images-objects, evoking fleeting states, where the sensitive eye of the artist touches the sublimation of certain senses and undoubted beauty.

 

Vetulani is a rebellious artist: when we admire beautiful faces, forms, wide-framed Dutch landscapes, he says "and now for something you haven’t expected." The spectator is awakened from a reverie and confronted with an object of mysterious ugliness, like silicone heads of the pope.

Postage stamps, integrated circuits, or aluminium plates which serve as a medium for the image force one to ask about the artist’s intent. Undoubtedly there is a sense of humour and teasing, but also a perspective to himself as a creator who is not afraid to put everything at stake, using non-durable or unusual materials such as sponges or adhesive tape. These art informel and Fluxus elements show without a shade of doubt that Vetulani is an artist who is impossible to pigeonhole.

Tomasz Vetulani takes deliberate measures to destroy the obvious beauty of the human figure, showing its elusive, non-obvious character. Pure beauty is sometimes impossible to bear. The artist is aware of this and thus paints beautiful female portraits on integrated circuits (showing the so-called computer widows) or on aluminium plates. His paintings have something of the delicacy, subtlety and fragility of Paul Delvaux's drawings. These are the phenomena that oscillate on the opposite axis of Vetulani's interest: beauty and eroticism without a hint of vulgarity are extremely refined. Numerous formal games, the structure of glued paper, silicone, aluminium, help the artist disarm beauty and dethrone it, showing cracks in it.

Inspirations, analogies and connotations are proof of the fascinating journey of the artist, who reaches for numerous media and resources, building his own, separate and independent language. These certainly include Turner, through the wide, liberated Dutch landscape, with a subtle colour scheme. It's a "free", landscape created in its own language.

References to Anselm Kiefer, mainly based on the contrast of beauty and ugliness, by combining noble materials with industrial ones and beautiful, classic figures set against destruction, interesting material breaks with the use of aluminium as a medium, show the wide range of Vetulani's interests.

On the other hand, objects made of unusual materials such as hot glue juxtaposed with what they depict give rise to consternation and a sense of instability. And they almost invite us to recall Beuys.

 

The bilocation of the artist’s perspective, his view of Poland from the country which is becoming his second home, through the distance of space, time and somewhat different social norms allow him to perceive certain phenomena more sharply and clearly. Tomasz Vetulani looks at contemporary Poland (importantly, not at Poland in general) with criticism but also with concern: it is my country and I must expose the absurd and the abuse, especially the visual ones, I must disagree with the trivialisation and misappropriation of meanings.

 

This is undoubtedly a reference to the political landscape of a society within a self-imposed deadlock. This is a post-transformation, hybrid nightmare of awakening of a "new" social identity sometimes made up of mistakenly conceived pride in conjunction with our numerous fears and complexes. Vetulani presents it aggressively and provocatively for instance in the form of a small silicone tank painted on paper. He also exposes in this context the misappropriation of national symbols currently treated with inadequate respect. Hence his eagle made of gel on sponge or pistols made of wine cork. Our great gestures and words take on grotesque forms. The artist sees it, but he does not scoff at it: he notices it and demythologises it.

Vetulani stays up to date. It's the look of a man and an artist watching from a distance. Fortunately there is beauty that no one can destroy, hidden somewhere between the watchful eye of the artist and his work.