Paweł Książek’s main medium is painting, though he can be easily called an interdisciplinary artist. His interests lie in the roots of modernism. On the basis of archival photographs and film, Książek finds common motifs for seemingly disparate themes, which he in turn connects in a collage-like-way on canvas. Before Książek reaches for his brush, he seeks out iconographic sources on the Internet, in books, films (most often of the 1920s), and music. The research process is, for Książek, the main focus. He carefully excavates images to compile information that eventually converges on a core problem. His series of paintings and objects serve as an eloquent and powerfully executed formal record of this process. As such, his work is full of quotes and allusions: for example, the artist combines Black Metal music with modernism (the De Stijl vs. Black Metal series), German Expressionist cinema with modernist architecture of Central/Eastern Europe (Silent Utopia) or South America (Constructions), or the performances of Marina Abramović and Valie Export with the films of the Jackass series (N.N. vs. Artists).
Książek effectively blends pop and high culture, and the past with visions of the future. This means that we might call him a conceptual painter.
He treats painting as research into visual source materials, as the final stage of a long process of iconographic research. As he himself says: "I am a phantasmatic detective creating a local vision with an unidentified ‘eye.’ I inquire into the potential of artistic creativity and the artistic potential of amateurs. It is the artists who have postulated the intimate link between life and art.” Książek brings this postulate to life—and to the canvas.
Paweł Książek (*1973) studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow and Hochschule für Gestaltung in Offenbach am Main. Lives and works in Krakow and Szczecin. Książek creates paintings, collages and installations. His works problematise a broad array of issues: from Modernist utopias, to the history of the avant-garde and architecture, to contemporary music and sociology. The varied styles and topics of his pieces are determined by conceptual reflection.
Lecturer at the Academy of Art in Szczecin since 2014, associate professor since 2020. Książek was a resident at Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin (2011) and SOArt in Austria (2013). Holder of the scholarship of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage in 2008. His works have been presented at more than a dozen individual exhibitions at: Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg (2009); Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art, Krakow (2008); Art Stations Foundation, Poznań (2009); Polish Institute in Berlin (2012); Art Basel Statements in Basel (2009), Foksal Gallery, Warsaw (2020) among other venues, as well as dozens of group exhibitions at such institutions as the National Museum in Krakow; National Museum in Szczecin; MAXXI, Rome; Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten, Marl; Arnold Schönberg Centre, Vienna; Sean Kelly Gallery, New York; MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art, Krakow; Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin.