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Michal Bohdankiewicz “Lavori”, NEOCHROME, Torino, to november 7, 2015.

Bohdankiewicz investigates a visual vocabulary perceived as a pre-imaginary inner sensation, free of denotative references, which even comes prior to the vision of the artist, who forges on in his research driven by the “gaze” of the body, where the mind seems to fall short due to its density of misleading logical constructs.

Bohdankiewicz seeks formal harmony by starting with inner listening, through dynamics of perception that guide him along an immediate, honest path, but one also leading to responsibilities. Behind this exploration we can see the need for an “ethical choice” that becomes indispensable to grant—or, more precisely, to restore—the balance of already latent parts to the painting: form, color and material. Helped along by intuition in their becoming, they interact to reveal an aesthetic the Polish painter likes to associate with the intrinsic dynamics of nature:

“I don’t think my paintings are abstract. I see them as explorations of nature. Kaihō Yūshō [1] believed that above all else, the beauty of nature lies in balance. I’m far from big universal truths, but I believe in the solitary experience of investigation, and that it can be a pathway to what is essential for all of us – we have solid proofs for this in history of art and literature. I want to pursue that timeless quality.”

So the artist feels he has a true exploratory mission that can be carried out by rejecting analytical study in favor of a passionate, humble, experiential practice of painting. The values of Japanese culture, particularly the concept of wabi-sabi [2], are an extraordinary resource for Bohdankiewicz, who frees his mind to become the expressive medium of the work himself, not vice versa:

“I want to grasp it in an experiential way and to understand it intuitively. Blue can be painted in a million ways, and every time it will do something else, so there’s a lot to explore. I don’t work with meaning, I work with paint. Just as a dancer dances, a singer sings, I paint. I do not try to say anything with the works. All I can hope to achieve is to make a good painting. I want my paintings to be free of ideas, but at the same time I’m aware that being free from ideas is in itself the big idea.”

[1] Kaihō Yūshō (1533–1615) is a Japanese painter of the Azuchi–Momoyama period.
[2] Wabi-sabi values:
Fukinsei (asymmetry, irregularity)
Kanso (simplicity)
Koko (basic; weathered)
Shizen (without pretense; natural) Yugen (subtly profound grace) Datsuzoku (freedom)
Seijaku (tranquility)

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Images copyright the artist / NEOCHROME Turin 2015

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