I have been writing about the work of Tomasz Górnicki for some time now, and his projects, whether collaborative or not, never stop amazing me. I don’t know if it is the apparent darkness and nostalgia his sculptures emanate or maybe just their enigmatic character, but one thing is clear, you cannot ignore them. The same applies to False Prophet, a haunting collaboration between Tomasz Górnicki and the Monstfur collective that is definitely capable of awakening the same emotions.
The installation is part of an ongoing project driven by Iron Oxide, an independent organisation consisting of artists and curators whose aim is to push contemporary art forward. Curated by Jan Sętowski, Iron Oxide includes the participation of talented artists like Monstfur collective, Tomasz Górnicki, Simpson and Seikon.
As stated by Iron Oxide, “Street art without street is just art.” Having this in mind and confronted with the fact that street art – once an independent and vehement art genre, has become both submissive and devoid of character – the artists embarked on a journey through Europe carrying out illegal art interventions in order to bring some of its old spirit back.
Starting in Poland, they travelled to Paris, passing by the Netherlands and finally stopping in Berlin, where they created a series of installations at the amazing Chemiewerk Rüdersdorf, an abandoned chemical factory once owned by Nazis. After WWII, it became property of the Soviets and served as the film set of Jude Law’s movie “Enemy at the Gates”. The new setting couldn’t be more perfect.
According to Górnicki, the vision of the interior of the old factory was overwhelming and resembled an abandoned Gothic cathedral. Inspired by this, and driven by an anti-religious feeling, the artists decided to create around a dozen of installations based on the idea of God, fitting Górnicki’s ongoing “Archetype” series that deal with concepts like origin, personality, death, sex, hope, parenthood and religion.
As a result, the artists created an altar in a place that, according to them, echoes the image of a postnuclear Notre-Dame, part of an ancient religion with “a forgotten God no one prays to anymore. A false God or prophet, a liar, trying to posses lost and hopeless people minds, bringing them to perdition.” In this sense the new piece, False Prophet, fits perfectly with the surrealistic and apocalyptic setting of the old factory.
In addition to False Prophet, Górnicki created two other installations at Chemiewerk Rüdersdorf, Exit? and XY. The last one depicting a quite dialogue or confrontation between female and male nature, and as you can see the images are equally stunning.
And finally we have a third installation, that titled Exit? and created in collaboration with Simpson, makes reference to the current political situation in Europe. As expressed by the artists:
“All around Europe we can see movements calling to exit the Union. This is the time of difficult decisions, where there are many questions, but very few answers. Will the higher ideas resist general disappointment?” Well, that’s a good question.
About the artists
Tomasz Górnicki ( born 1986) is one of the most interesting sculptors of the Young Generation in Poland, who combines classic workshop education gained at the Faculty of Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, with creation, imagination and courage in the field of aesthetic experiments. In his work he seamlessly moves among different techniques and materials alternately using marble, clay, bronze and steel. Górnicki is also one of few sculptors in Europe, who so uncompromisingly annexes the space of the street in the need of his creativity.
MONSTFUR is an indigenous organism of artland, subsisting on the byproducts of modern life and the cultural carrion of generations past. It expresses itself on the rusted steel sheets and redundant signage and finally walls. Paintings created by Collective can be found at prestigious fairs like Stroke Art Fair in Munich, where the objects are exhibited alongside high-profile artists such as Banksy. In 2015 Monstfur was awarded the Grand Prix in the competition Stencil Art Prize organized by Ambush Gallery in Sydney. Their artworks have been presented at solo and group exhibitions in Berlin, Paris, Stockholm, Sydney and Warsaw. They have also found their place in major museum collections in Poland (m.in. Muzeum Śląskie w Katowicach).
Simpson. A quite anonymous Polish artist whose artworks includes paintings on canvas and murals, using acrylics, stencil and the symbolism of popular culture. Frequent subjects in his works are themes like the unequal distribution of power, the growth of governments and international institutions, and their destructive influence on the free market and society in general.
Info and images courtesy of Tomasz Górnicki. Stay tuned for more very soon.
Founder and editor of Urbanite. Street Art lover who after the finishing her MA thesis on the muralist movement in the 1920-50s, developed a fascination for street art and graffiti that eventually led to collaborations with different art blogs, including the creation of this one.