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Kunsthalle Münster presents Mikołaj Sobczak: Leibeigene

October 16, 2022–January 22, 2023

Performance: January 22, 4–6pm, Mikołaj Sobczak + Nicholas Grafia

Mikoaj Sobczak primarily engages with the representation of historical events in a variety of media, including paintings, videos, performances, drawings, and ceramics. Leibeigene is the artist’s first institutional solo exhibition outside of Poland, organized by Kunsthalle Münster to showcase the numerous sides of his body of work. Through his works, Sobczak raises issues of a modern collective culture of memory and identity. He broadens the narrative patterns that underlie conventional, canonical, and instrumentalized history to encompass moments of emancipation by making references to actual events as well as fictional narratives like fairy tales, sagas, and myths. He recognizes the essential necessity to critically examine historiography through its ongoing reformulation as an artist dedicated to enlarging historical grand tales.

Sobczak’s artwork urges us to participate in the formation of history at a time when political extremism is on the rise. By utilizing the distinctive characteristics of the genre for his works, he subverts the tradition of classical history painting in his paintings. His condensed renditions frequently take inspiration from the arrangements of famous paintings; the quotations are then assembled in a collage-like fashion and placed in fresh situations, including by being juxtaposed with counterculture or popular culture symbols. His works are characterized by a somewhat complex iconography with figures drawn from a range of contexts—every person, every place, and every object has its own tale. As the chosen artistic medium, collage discloses historical tidbits, permits the telling of history(s) in all of its diversity, and so breaks with the historical simplicity of events. History doesn’t appear to be fully told or concluded in this instance. On the contrary, it offers a variety of references that the observer might connect with. Sobczak spends his time to narratives that go beyond the political allegories of accepted historiography. By portraying notable figures from LGBTQI+ activism, queer and emancipatory countercultural milieus, and resistance movements in imaginative company with amazing characters and animals that embody the vision of a global utopia, he generates contemporary historical imagery. His attention is primarily drawn to individuals who have been ignored or excluded from history.

Curator: Merle Radtke

Assistance: Constanze Venjakob

Kunsthalle Münster
Hafenweg 28, 5th floor
48155 Münster
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 12–6pm

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