Ufo art gallery kraków



Tomek Baran


Michał Sosna

Poster by: 

Tomek Baran

12.08 – 25.09.2022

UFO art gallery, Cracow

installation views


The title of the exhibition at the UFO Art Gallery once again touches upon the specificity of your work: the use of industrial paints and the use of found objects. It is something you have already made your audience accustomed to, and what do they mean in the subtitle?

I let the audience in behind the scenes. It is a bit like buying a film on DVD, with a half hour of bonus material showing the production process – the making of the film, rejected scenes or the director’s version.

Is figurative painting also a kind of behind-the-scenes presentation of a view usually inaccessible to the public? You have never shown works of this type before.

Already halfway through my university course, I had given up figurative painting. Since 2007, I have not shown such paintings in end-of-year exhibitions, either. It turns out that I am doing this for the first time in fifteen years.

So, it’s a jubilee of sorts…

After 15 years, you are exhibiting a figurative painting for the first time and showing a bottom. Why precisely this part of the body?

It is my own bum. I found the fragment of the door it is painted on opposite the flat of Marysia Ciborowska and Dominik Kopera, who run the UFO gallery. I took it to the studio and wondered how to elaborate on it if the bathroom door and window were already finished. I thought I would paint a bare bottom because that’s what you can see there. And then I added the caption MEKRURY [MERCURY].

Does this have anything to do with Freddie Mercury?

It is a group of three works that I titled with the names of the planets. The first was Saturn.

For some time, I was creating works using underpants, which I somehow found strangely interesting. For example, with Ola Korzelska, we had an idea to collect worn underpants from artists, package them up, and sell them in a vending machine. In Saturn, I used sports jockstraps, covering only the genitals but showing the whole bottom. In the gay world, they function as erotic gadgets. I got them from Rafał, and they had previously been used in a performance of two female performers, Agata Grabowska and Katarzyna Szugajew. I already had ready painting support, and when I wondered how to incorporate them into it, the pattern on the fixing strip made me think of Saturn’s rings. That’s how I arranged them, and that’s where the title came from. Following up on that cosmic theme, I added glitter.

And what was on the painting support?

The largest part of the painting support is a plank that Filip Rybkowski and Emilia Kina gave to Marta Antoniak, and later she gave to me. On this board, there are smaller boards that I discarded while working on earlier paintings. In selected places, I glued fabric over them, and on top of that, there was also some Hammerite alkyd and oil paint.

Which painting was next?

The next one was Venus.

It was created, among other things, from a towel that I also got from someone. The two large holes you can see are left after circles that were cut out to be used in a completely different work. But I concluded that I would definitely use the towel itself with these holes for something, too. So, I applied it to a painting I had previously shown in 2017 at Le Guern in an exhibition of works by myself and the already deceased Piotr Grzybowski. It came back to me from the gallery, lay around for a while, and I decided to use it. A kind of recycling of my own work… Mercury is the closing painting of this planetary-mythological cycle. Apparently so, but I work on all the paintings in parallel. It is difficult to say that there is a strict sequence of creation here.

Returning to the question of the title, where did it come from?

It doesn’t come to mind as the first association, but Mercury is a Greco-Roman deity whose union with Venus produced a child who was both male and female. In Greek, it is Hermes and Aphrodite, and their child was actually Hermaphrodite.

Does Saturn somehow fit into the gender themes, too?

It does, indeed. Painting this picture during the pandemic, I thought it was also a bit about another pandemic – the wave of AIDS in the gay community of the 1980s. About Saturn eating his own children, as in Goya’s work.


  • creates spatial painting objects. Their starting point is the loom itself, to which the artist nails subsequent elements. As a result, when the canvas is stretched, the appearance of the surface changes radically. The whole is completed with a frame created by the artist.



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