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"Route Phantom"

Wojciech Bąkowski

Neuer Essener Kunstverein
May 07,2023 - July 30,2023

May 7, 2023 July 30, 2023

The sound of a whistling and rattling old heater is unmistakable in the exhibition Route Phantom by the Polish artist Wojciech Bąkowski at Neuer Essener Kunstverein. At the centre of the exhibition space, the artist used simple means to install the paper sculpture emitting this monotonous noise, which is as familiar as it is uncanny. About twenty charcoal drawings on sanded cardboard, created over the last three years, round off the exhibition. These dream notes reveal vague, seemingly morbid scenes and gloomy landscapes that evoke feelings of unease: a city submerged in water, long corridors leading nowhere, hazy silhouettes of figures in dark rooms, and train tracks again and again. In a dense web of referential motifs, daydreams are associated with memories of the post-communist urban space in which the artist grew up.

Wojciech Bąkowski is an internationally successful artist, musician, and poet, who was a member of the Polish artist collective PENERSTWO. In developing his works, he frequently takes as a point of departure the subjective experience of everyday life in childhood and the present day. He is particularly fascinated by ways of influencing consciousness – such as through the method of lucid dreaming – and of modulating his own perceptual processes. His artwork thus reflects, as it were, the opportunity to translate an internal cycle into an artistic form, while also posing existential questions about the modes of humans’ being-in-the-world.

The solo exhibition Route Phantom by Wojciech Bąkowski is a cooperation between Urbane Künste Ruhr and Neuer Essener Kunstverein in the context of Ruhr Ding: Schlaf.