HE WAS NINETEEN YEARS OLD AND HE CALLED YOU CHIKICHIKICHIKITA, 2017
STRONGWOMAN AKA BENDING THE PIPE (RAPHAEL REMIX), 2017
bas-reliefs / 2017
bunker in Brzeźno’s Haffner Park
For Rafał Dominik, the aesthetics of popular culture, particularly its outermost registers, verging on kitsch, serve as an infinite source of fantasy and creative inspiration. After all, pop-cultural images often say much more about the society than even the most significant artefacts of art. In his artistic practice, Dominik engages in a series of remixes: he combines old and contemporary motifs using a broad array of presentation techniques. For the NARRACJE Festival, the artist prepared three bas-reliefs showing genre scenes, reaching for both tacky and solemn motifs in the process (disco polo music and Raphael’s paintings, respectively). The title of the first work, He Was Nineteen Years Old And He Called You Chikichikichikita is a direct quote from a disco polo song by Michał Gielniak, sung to the melody of Carrapicho’s hit Tic Tici Ta (Bate Forte o Tambor). The second bas-relief cites Raphael’s The Marriage of the Virgin, referring to the figure found in the bottom-right corner of the original painting: the gesture of breaking a twig symbolises Mary’s rejection of suitors. Rafał Dominik titled his work Strongwoman aka Bending the Pipe (Raphael Remix). The third work, PowerCube(™), depicts fight scenes. It comprises three bas-reliefs placed on different sides of a stone cube. “This object emanates with bad energy, but for a good purpose,” adds the artist.
The three works are not only similar owing to the medium – etching in stone – but, most importantly, to the manner of depicting persons. The primitive-like style of the bas-reliefs seems to allude to the New Wild (Die Neue Wilde), a trend in painting that emerged in the late 1970s – its representatives often reached for historical and mythological themes which became brutalised in their works. Scenes presented by Dominik are also somewhat brutal, and the artist additionally placed them in the military surroundings of the Beach Battery (Strandbatterie). Many inhabitants of the district recall the bunkers in Brzeźno Park as a cult spot, be it for drinking wine in the 1980s or techno raves organised there in the 1990s, whose traces survive in the form of numerous colourful inscriptions.
Rafał Dominik (b. 1985)
is a painter, sculptor and graphic artist. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw (studio headed by Leon Tarasewicz). He creates animated films, paintings (including digital ones), collages, music (he co-founded a disco polo band called Galactics) and sculptures. A huge fan of pop culture, he treats art as an important element of social life and many of his works are devoted to disseminating it. He wants to make art that is accessible and understandable. Dominik’s works have been exhibited in the most important Polish contemporary art institutions and abroad. He lives in Warsaw.