Cities have always been an enduring preoccupation for Stanislaw Lewkowicz (1956, Hoensbroek, The Netherlands). In his recent and on-going series, titled Fragmentarische herinneringen (fragmented recollections) Lewkowicz offers predominantly different perspectives of street views and views of rooms. These unrealistic city-pics give the urban experience, full of cacophony of noises, a new face and the feeling of memory a sense of significance. Marked by a seemingly rhythm of natural facades, however, all are underpinned by the same personal approach to the medium of lithography and photography.
Stanislaw Lewkowicz’s photographs/lithographs are indistinct hybrid art works in a way that they have an intimate feel. At the same time they distance themselves from the viewer, and perhaps even the artist. A cool result that comes from Lewkowicz’s technique of working the photographic origins with his lithographic technique with the image, making it a merger between photography and lithography, or even the blurring of figuration and abstraction, that captures the literally and conceptually meaning of his work at the same time.
What defines his art works is the revelation of the different undercurrents beneath the surface; the ineligible; the invisible beauty that one cannot put into words. To decipher his works, one usually tries to decipher the photograph; this is most of the time an arbitrary picture that Lewkowicz took on one of his travels. But being the groundwork for the final work of art, his photographs are aimed towards a conceptual theme he is after.
The technique of lithography gives Lewkowicz a chance to work with his hands on the original photograph. In this way, his technique is a mechanism for Lewkowicz to plunge himself deeper in his subject matter, an engagement that starts personal but transforms itself to refer beyond himself to more general conditions of society. The photograph is thus the perfect image of personal detachment and the beginning of Lewkowicz’s focus on working towards the lithographic end-result that shows the people’s collective interest in most of the time cultural achievements or memories of the past.
This is evident in his BAIGNEURS series he made in 2012. At this show in Flatland we can 'see' the Russian immigrant workers who are enjoying a free afternoon on the beach on the west coast of the Island of Elba, amid mostly Italian tourists. But as with Lewkowicz' other work, there is a detachment of the subject, thus of the immigrant workers towards a conceptual meaning of Europe, its workers, and the future.
Biography Stanislaw Lewkowicz
(1956, Hoensbroek, The Netherlands)
Stanislaw Lewkowicz studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Utrecht, The Netherlands. Before this he worked at the age of 16 as a fresh deck cadet for the shipping line the Koninklijke Java China Pakketvaart. From Durban (South Africa) where he was stationed, he was booked on to the giant freighters and even merchant marine ships. After Lewkowicz finished his studies in Utrecht, he continued his education at the Academy of Warsaw in Poland but was forced to leave due to the explosive political situation in Poland and subsequently the closure of the university. Lewkowicz travelled for a couple of years through Europe, working as a farm or land labourer and sometimes even industrial worker. After this rough life, Lewkowicz settled in Amsterdam where he still lives and works.
Stanislaw Lewkowicz exhibitions include twice a show in the 1980s at Museum Fodor, Amsterdam (today’s FOAM Amsterdam); other shows include those at the Museum Het Valkhof, Nijmegen (2006); Stedelijk Museum Roermond, Roermond (2005); the 2nd Guanlan International Print Biennial, in Shenzhen, China, organized by the China Artists Association and curated by Zhao Jiachun, in 2009.
Apart from private collections, his work is in the permanent collection of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, The Netherlands; the Centraal Museum, Utrecht, The Netherlands and the Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, The Netherlands. In 1986 and 1988 Lewkowicz was awarded the Dutch graphics award and in 1988 the International Award for Marine Painting in Antwerp.