being ones own numerator and denominator

Artist Tomasz Cichowski

When the title multimedia artist sits comfortably with the Polish artist Cichowski it has not just something to do with him having graduated in multimedia art. No more importantly, it reflects the fact that the artist is equally comfortable creating art in multiple media.

Through the years he has applied himself to abstract painting and drawings, art objects and installations, fine art photography and video art. To him it all makes sense as mark making.

For such an individual – who insists on carrying on with this multi-faceted approach to art – it is a celebration of creativity. As such, it is not sensationally rare amongst artists. But for reaching fame and acclaim, the habit is a little uphill in comparison to being a one-trick pony. Paradoxically, art critics and collectors find your unique style much more marketable when it is more predictable — or dare we say repetitive? In his case, and for us, it is ultimately a good thing that he doesn’t follow conventional art market wisdom.

While predictability is not Tomasz Cichowski’s bag, there is however periods in which one medium takes over from another. E.g. there are bouts of drawing:


And then lately, photography and painting have occupied him the most. Whatever he does, there is never a dull moment. Nor is there any fear of experimenting. It means, for instance, that there is much beauty to be captured along the artistic path. Occasionally, the opportunity arises to lampoon our consumerism with a hilarious prank or two, and other moments again call for a more sombre note.

The artist was born in 1971 and graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan. Like so many European artists, he has a string of successful exhibitions behind him in his own country and abroad. So far so good. But again he defies the stereotypical fine artist, because he alternates in choice of medium. Like Gerhard Richter he also gets away with going from the very literal concept to the more abstract and back again. Interestingly, it leaves the oeuvre as something that has little other than the artist’s intellect in common. In one exhibition the contribution centred on video art, another on performance art, a third on a series of photographs and a fourth on abstract paintings.

Notably, HURT_ART was an installation project; and as a concept it homed in on the hollow gratification of consumerism like a heat-seeking missile. As the artist states:

Every day is dominated by consumption. Families consume their time in supermarkets chasing promotions and sales wondering where the time has gone. The chance to purchase something at a bargain price becomes their life bargain.

PET, yet another theme, addressed human existence in our age. It entered a dialogue with us about our own perfectly imperfect bodies, and our ability to edit our artificial egos in hyperspace. In Cichowski’s installation, the two were edited and mass produced as prints on boxes. The artist then chose to stack them in a pile on a transport pallet in the middle of an exhibition space.

You can find more information about the artist by visiting his website.