Marcin Maciejowski

b. 1974
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“As for my approach in visual arts to an established reality, it is not critical in a negative sense; it is meant more to advertise and promote reality itself (...)"

Born in 1974, Polish artist Marcin Maciejowski is renowned for his humorous and candid observations conveyed in his realistic paintings that draw from commercials, television series, newspapers, the internet, art history and his own experiences. In 1994, he began studying architecture at Krakow’s University of Technology, where he met Rafał Bujnowski and Wilhelm Sasnal—who are both now, like Maciejowski, among the most recognised Polish artists of their generation. When the three of them transferred to Krakow’s Academy of Fine Arts in 1996, they formed the Ładnie Group with Marek Firek and Józef Tomczyk. The five painters rejected the myth of the modernist artist-genius and interrogated the power of art to change the world.

In the early stages of his practice, Maciejowski painted from observation; now he paints from projected images, which allows his final works to become more faithful to their original references. However, he does not attempt to create photorealistic reproductions—he leaves visible and evocative brushstrokes to activate the viewer’s imagination. Currently, Maciejowski is affiliated with the Zderzak Gallery in Krakow and Galerie Mayer Kainer in Vienna.

Grupa Ładnie, Oświęcim (Nice Group, Auschwitz), 1999/2006

oil on canvas, 130 x 160 cm
on loan from a private collection

The Grupa Ładnie painting entitled Oświęcim (made in 1999/2006) was based on a photograph taken when the four members of the group were visiting Józef Tomczyk “Kurosawa”, who was living with his brother in Oświęcim (Auschwitz) at the time. Maciejowski first painted a smaller version of the photo in 1999, making a larger canvas of it when Józef Tomczyk “Kurosawa” died in 2006.