The Milking of Van Gogh – opening night

The exhibition, organized by HOS Gallery, opened on 14 December 2018.

The joking and surprising title for the cycle of paintings by the duo Osiowski/Słonecka, which served as the title of their first joint exhibition in December 2018, can also be treated as a sort of manifesto for #grupawolno. The word “milking”, which is often used colloquially as a synonym of “extorting” or “exploiting,” was chosen as a result of the group members’ reflection on the fluid boundary between representation and abstraction as well as the role of art and renowned artists in the twenty-first-century. The focus around a seemingly trivial matter that is a painter’s portrait reproduced by the paint company on their labels has led Osiowski and Słonecka to considerations on the consequences of bringing that image to the canvas. Does a cutout of a logo which promotes a product by using Van Gogh’s face become a work of art due to the artists’ gesture, or does it remain a fragment of packaging? In one of his texts, Osiowski has mentioned a lecture on the role of aesthetics, given once in London by Timothy Binkley. Particularly, Osiowski recalled one poignant sentence. “The cows in Turner’s paintings can be seen, but not milked” – said Binkley. #grupawolno’s series is an expression of their belief that a separate order of art exists, one that is a commentary rather than a reflection of reality. The illusion created by it cannot be considered in terms of interest and usefulness, which are an indispensable aspect of everyday life.
At the exhibition, the artists presented over one hundred joint works and over a dozen of individual works each.
The opening night was accompanied by a happening by Antoni Gustowski with his band and the vocalist Zuzanna Iłenda. Gustowski had composed his music to Marcin Osiowski’s texts.