The „Newspaper Illustrations” display works as an attempt to recapitulate Marek Starzyk’s complex oeuvre consists of paintings, drawings, prints and computer graphics. It is also the first retrospective after a sudden death of the artist in 2011.
Born in 1960 in Warsaw Starzyk spent most of his adult life in Wrocław where he graduated from the State College of Fine Arts (called The Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Fine Arts presently) in 1988 and co-created the local milieu. Despite his active role in the art circle Starzyk never based his artistic attitude entirely on identifying with dominant tendencies – no matter if it was a popular in the 80s neo-expressionistic style or new strategies that flourished right after 1989. From the very beginning the independence and a precious ability to speak his own voice were appreciated by Starzyk’s teacher – prof. Andrzej Klimczak-Dobrzaniecki, who emphasizes that Starzyk had intentionally became an individual artist very early on and that his ambition was to stand out of the approved strategies and calculations.
Marek Starzyk’s works can be located distinctly in a long tradition of a journalistic art. His artpieces are repeatedly comments of the current affairs – both political and socio-cultural determinations of the reality, at the same time they are also filed with references to literature, philosophy and history. They are not however a tender reflection on contemporaneity but rather a resolute critic of particular manners or social weaknesses. Oppressive mechanisms operating in the reality, interpersonal relations based on tensions, hierarchy, dependencies or manipulations were issues that interested Starzyk the most. What’s more, choices that were made within individual medium – regardless if it was painting, print or drawing - always correlated with the subject matter and recaptured nerves and anxiety perceptible mostly in the narrative linocuts. Thus the highly expressive way of composing, strong line, deforming and aggressive colors determined the aesthetic of lots of his works.
The „Newspaper Illustrations” exhibition includes artworks from three different areas of Starzyk oeuvre: the cycle of a so called assemblage paintings that were made from the late 80s., linocuts and mixed media prints dated mostly on the decade of the 1990s, and last but not least a large series of computer graphics created in the early 2000s, when forced by the disease artist was able to work only in an isolated home space.