paintings, although seemingly abstract, consist of many small elements
with symbolic features. They are a record of the artist's experiences,
thoughts and journeys: both physical and spiritual. That is why his art
is sometimes referred to as: a "symbolic abstractionism".
This catalogue is an invitation to travel together through the artist's
work. However, we should start from the beginning: from 1980's and his
"Letters". Who else is writing letters today? Not emails sent
in a hurry, not formal notifications, received from offices, banks and
companies? Who else conducts correspondence, handwritten, calligraphic,
thoughtful? Who shares their thoughts, secrets with others, or discusses
topics that concern them? One of the possible answers may be the artist
- Bogdan Korczowski. Bogdan has been conducting
correspondence, real or imaginary, since 1980. In each of his paintings,
not only from the "Ecriture" series, he sends artistic messages:
to Kazimierz Malewicz, to Tadeusz Kantor, to You. In return, he asks the
recipient to respond in the form of an artistic experience. His letters
are written on canvas, full of simple pictograms, ideograms and signs.
What is their meaning, are they symbols? That depends only on the viewer.
Symbols differ from a pictogram, ideogram or sign in that they have an
additional hidden meaning.
It is worth remembering, when looking at the artist's next canvases and
their titles. The symbol of this land could be: a Cross, as well as the
Star of David, brought by the painter to a legible and simple "X"
sign or hexagram. Referring to the first words of the Bible, which say:
"In the beginning was the Word", can be translated to: "In
the beginning was a pictogram" - a simple drawing, to which the artist
gave basic and then symbolic meaning. The level, at which a message from
Bogdan Korczowski will be read, depends only on the knowledge, experience
and associations of the recipient.
Korczowski is extremely closely associated with his hometown, Kraków,
which he describes in the following words: "I was born in Central
Europe, I come from a small continent of many cultures". It is a
place where different cultures and communities coexist in harmony with
each other for centuries. Tadeusz Kantor, a painter admired by Korczowski,
is one of the most versatile Polish artists, an author of texts and theatre
plays, as well as a performer, lived and worked here.
Korczowski himself considers Kraków to
be a cosmopolitan city. Nevertheless, the world that surrounds us, our
little homeland, is only a small fragment of the cosmos, which he depicted
in the series of canvases "Orbium Coelestium" , "Laniakea"
The first man who thoroughly, systematically and analytically explored
space, and then wrote down his observations and conclusions, was Nicolaus
Copernicus. In 1533, the manuscript of his revolutionary work: "De
revolutionibus orbium coelestium" was completed. Heavenly spheres
are also of interest to Korczowski. This is a topic repeatedly discussed
and analysed in his paintings, which contain circles or slices of circles.
Again, therefore, we can see objects simplified to an easily recognizable
sign, most often depicted in yellowish, ochre colours. Is this a polemic
with Nicolaus Copernicus, as in the case of "Letters to Kazimierz
Malewicz", or an attempt to explore the rules governing the world,
the state or the city? Rules, that even the erudite cannot break free
from? What to do then? Maybe it is worth following in the footsteps of
great explorers and, like Marco Polo, redefine the world around us.
Based on the diaries of this Venetian merchant, who lived in the years
1254-1324, the first "Describing the World" was written. Studying
the paintings of Bogdan Korczowski, one can get the impression that they
are, in fact, a record of the artist's internal journey, they are his
own work of life - a description of the surrounding reality. Travel educates.
Korczowski, in his subsequent works, is heading towards Eastern cultures,
especially towards Buddhism, as can be seen in the paintings entitled
NAMMYO. Buddhist practices, defined in 1253 by Nichiren Daishonin , say
that "Namu" - means sacrifice and "Myoho" - mystical
law. So, it's time for a spiritual journey, from which it is also worth
sending the Letter: thoughtful, carefully written down or, as the artist
Ultimately, however, thanks to art, Bogdan Korczowski returns from every
journey to his habitat. And it doesn't really matter, if it's Kraków,
Paris or New York. As Tadeusz Kantor claimed: "My HOME was and is