Piotr Nowak is an artist of the middle generation, working on the international art scene, graduate of the Faculty of Ceramics and Glass at the Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw and the Faculty of Visual Arts at the National Academy of Fine Arts in Oslo. He has shown his works in South Korea, Venezuela, Taiwan, Portugal, Belgium, Spain, Denmark, Norway and others. At present he lives and works in Oslo. He gained fame thanks to large-scale architectural and sculptural works became inherent part of the public space of the Norwegian capital. Weighing over two tonnes, the ceramic brain became a landmark of Oslo, a recognisable point of meetings and background for keepsake photographs, and the enormous 12-metre long pince-nez made of acid-resistant steel was hung on the wall of a Norwegian school. Many works created by Nowak are too large to fit a traditional studio. The artist makes them in factory shop floors from which they set off into the world.
The Essence of the Clash has the character of a review journey across Nowak’s oeuvre, and in this way across his diverse experiences from 2008 to 2022. The arrangement of the exhibition is based on methodically divided space in which the tension is built by a gradation of works: from emotionally lighter ones, situated closer to the entrance, to the harder, even intimate ones, at the far end of the gallery. The oldest of the presented works was made during the artist’s studies, when he had a year-long artistic scholarship at the University in Porto, Portugal, whereas the latest one was created in Orońsko.
The exhibition is a culmination of the project presented in the years 2019-2020 at the Art Gallery in Olsztyn as well as at the Science and Art Centre Stara Kopalnia/Former Mine in Wałbrzych. The Orońsko edition encompasses small scale ceramic sculptures and intermedia installations which Piotr Nowak created while on artistic residencies among others in South Korea, China and France, interactive objects, video projections, documentation of monumental outdoor activities as well as his original experimental and educational workshops in the perception of virtual reality.
What characterizes Nowak’s work is an empirical approach to the ceramic medium, which requires great precision in handicraft. The artist redefines the potential of clay in a modular system and marks new boundaries in the strength of the material. Through his works, the artist wishes to draw the viewers‘ attention to the existence of systems conditioning the way of perception, the relationships between sensory perception and the capacity of human imagination as well as to the boundaries between the contradictions dormant in each human.
The exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated album publication produced jointly by: Art Gallery in Olsztyn, Art and Science Centre Stara Kopalnia in Wałbrzych and the Centre of Polish Sculpture in Orońsko.
Co-finansed by the the Minister of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland