Mateusz Szczypiński is a painter, a visual artist living and working in Krakow. In 2009 he graduated in art history from the Jagiellonian University, and in 2012, in painting from the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. He is represented by Warsaw’s lokal_30 gallery. His works have been displayed by many galleries in Poland and abroad. He draws from quotes and works that have entered mass consciousness. He alludes to motifs from art history, especially the 1950s and the first avant-garde. He is interested in the moment when the work of art still had a set position, and the artist was perceived as a genius or a demiurge. He explores the relationship between the sacred and the profane, the copy and the original.
The Night Is Ours from the Utopia series, 2012, collage, mixed technique, diptych
Twilight of the Gods from the Utopia series, 2012, collage, mixed technique, diptych
These works are from the Utopia series, which the artist has been making since 2012: collages on paper, paintings, prints, and art books. The artist makes his collages from archival photographs from newspapers and books. Szczypiński looks at today’s dynamic technological city, praised by the Italian Futurists. The overlapping segments of high-rises, buildings, and public facilities occupy nearly the whole of the composition, leaving just a narrow strip of sky and horizon, torn apart by the big city lights. The artist shows the expansiveness of the urban fabric, its layering and perilous multiplication as a dystopia. The metropolis overwhelms people with its size, pressing them into paved spaces. In this way, the artist strikes up a dialogue with the tradition of modernism and the first avant-garde, dazzled by technological capabilities and trying to design new utopian housing estates out of concrete and glass.
Portrait, 2013, oil on canvas
Mateusz Szczypiński’s picture is a portrait of a man in a shirt and tie. In place of the head, the artist has put abstract, colorful, organic forms that deconstruct the classic portrait. They suggest an intense thought process. The tactic of deconstructing the human figure and joining realist painting with the abstract is often used in other pictures by the artist, with their muted, deformed faces of children at school or people in the crowds of city streets. It is also reminiscent of the Polish painting of that decade, which, after the Bielsko Fall Painting Biennial in 2013, was dubbed “Surrealist-Baroque.”
Schoolboy, 2014, oil on canvas
Mateusz Szczypiński’s Schoolboy depicts an abstract figure in a school outfit, and comes from the ABC series, where the artist reflected on the institution of the school. He shows the absurdity of socializing children and young people in elementary school, which involves wiping out all manner of individuality and adapting them to the rigid rules of society. The teachers are presented as molders who are competent or even flawless, who have the right to feel superior to their students. Ultimately, they only replicate the social hierarchies and destroy all creativity. The figures in Szczypiński’s pictures are constrained, deformed, subject to violence.
Dutch Proverbs, 2017, oil on canvas
This picture comes from the Museum painting series, in which Szczypiński alludes to famous works in European art and processes them, using Cubist-style collage elements. In this way, the artist creates his own impressions of the classics. He also plays with the collage tradition, which he sees as more than combining bits of paper; it is also a remix of various styles and aesthetics. The pictures from the PURO collection draw from Pieter Bruegel’s picture of the same title, also known as Topsy Turvy World, in which the Renaissance artist critiqued the Dutch bourgeoisie in his inimitable fashion.