Karl Marx Vs. Moby-Dick. Analysis of Forms and Deconstruction of Ideas

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  • Friday, October 26, 2018 - Sunday, March 31, 2019

What links a white whale and a bearded German philosopher? Moby-Dick and Karl Marx are regular motifs in the artworks of Krzysztof M. Bednarski – sculptor, auctioneer and creator of installations, objects and posters who divides his time between Rome and Warsaw. In 1978, Bednarski presented his graduation work at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw titled Total Portrait of Karl Marx mocking the socially-engaged style of art popular at the time. The image of the unkempt founder of scientific socialism, reached for by Bednarski in his subsequent works, tends to stir a sense of unease; although Marx’s ideas were guided by a genuine concern for the wellbeing of people everywhere, they became an inspiration for unimaginable political and social wrongdoings. The motif of Melville’s sperm whale first appears in Bednarski’s work in the 1980s following the artist’s trip to Africa and his (unrelated) discovery of a shipwreck on the banks of the Vistula. The simple, smooth, almost mirror-like object encourages reflection on human nature and its perversions. The exhibition at MOCAK showcases the artist’s skill at extracting new meanings from the same forms by subjecting them to evolving sculptural techniques and irony-laden intellectual games. (dd)

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