Agenda

Mikołaj Sobczak

Sobczak’s practice combines painting, video and performance art. In his performative work – frequently in collaboration with Germany based artist Nicholas Grafia whose work is informed by his Filipino and African-American background – Sobczak employs avant-garde concepts of postwar Polish theatre (such as Tadeusz Kantor) for his contemporary concerns about queerness in a time of political radicalisation.

His paintings are equally invested with theatricality, complex figuration staged in dense tableaux, often based on the compositions of 19th century paintings, juxtaposed with popular culture subjects. Sobczak’s central project is to create contemporary history paintings by populating his paintings with representations of outstanding protagonist of LGBTQ activism, queer and emancipatory countercultural milieus and resistance movements, in imaginative company with provocatively phantasmic characters and creatures representing Sobczak’s genuine vision of transgressive utopia. Simultaneously, these new visionary communities are mirrored in the distorted images of an underworld of regressive and ambiguous political narrative depicted in mannerist and infernal mise-en-scenes.

 

Mikołaj Sobczak (b. 1989) graduated the Academy of Fine Arts Warsaw (PL) in the Studio of Spatial Activities, followed by a scholarship at Universität der Künste Berlin (DE), and studied as well at Kunstakademie Münster (DE). He is also a resident artist at Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam (NL). He works in video, paintings and ceramics, often including performative collaborative actions as well. His most recent exhibitions include shows at Kunsthalle Münster (DE), Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin), MUDAM (Luxembourg), Museum of Modern Art (Warsaw), Museum Ludwig (Cologne).

In his work, Sobczak is focused on political issues and historical policy. Emphasizing the perspective and life of marginalized subjects, he builds narratives, and tracks down the reasons for current global and social issues.

Shedhalle – Mikołaj Sobczak

Mikołaj Sobczak - photo: Joeri Bosma

Shedhalle – Mikołaj Sobczak

Mikołaj Sobczak - Zombie Speech (watercolor on paper, 2019, courtesy of the artist and Polana Institute)

Shedhalle – Mikołaj Sobczak

Mikołaj Sobczak - The Teachers (watercolor on paper, 2020, courtesy of the artist and Polana Institute)

Shedhalle – Mikołaj Sobczak

Mikołaj Sobczak - Zombie and Bokor (watercolor on paper, 2021, courtesy of the artist and Polana Institute)

Shedhalle – Mikołaj Sobczak

Mikołaj Sobczak - The Doomed Ones (video, 2018, courtesy of the artist and Polana Institute)

Shedhalle – Mikołaj Sobczak

Mikołaj Sobczak - Upiór (installation view, Rijks Open, 2022)
photo: Sander van Wettum

Shedhalle – Mikołaj Sobczak

Mikołaj Sobczak - Leibeigene (Kunsthalle Muenster, courtesy of the artist and Kunsthalle Muenster) photo: Volker Renner

Shedhalle – Mikołaj Sobczak

Mikołaj Sobczak - Leibeigene (Kunsthalle Muenster, courtesy of the artist and Kunsthalle Muenster) photo: Volker Renner