An analysis of aesthetic aspect of mobile devices evolution shows that they are a synthesis of the solutions artists had been working on for much longer than the past two decades. These include the abstract iconography, the touch screen savers simulating techniques of mindfulness or nervous system soothing mobile wallpapers. Not to mention photo editing apps offering multiple image editing tools, including filters and overlays, which make possible to look like a Hollywood movie star. Kitschy gadgets designed to make users feel better do not exhaust a vast array of possibilities offered within democratic representations of the world, which gradually have been taking over not only our consciousness but also our dreams and attention, as Jonathan Crary points out.
Rafał Labijak is one of those painters who recognises the irremovable footprint of this civilization change. In his case, the impulse to create art comes from the strong need to shift attention from smartphone screen back to the traditional artistic painting. Being aware of the impact that socio-technological changes have on the ways we concentrate and get distracted, in his figurative paintings he prompts us to focus on social relationships. In his abstract works, in turn, the visual attributes of electronic screens are being harnessed in order to shift the viewer's attention back to the medium of paintings. Besides family portraits and post-industrial landscapes, this artist by vocation and an engineer by education creates abstract paintings whose format is inspired by the shape of the smartphone screen. Smartphone-shaped canvas, called by Labijak throws into the screens, not only emphasises material and artisanal dimension of the dialogue with great technological hossa, but also encourage us 'to reinvent' our focus by taking critical approach towards low aesthetic value of the digital special effects. Currently, Labijak's painting project enters into a dialogue with the realities determined by the pandemic situation, in which digital technology in an unprecedented scope defines the framework for social communication.
Rafał Labijak (born 1968) is Poznań based painter who works also abroad (Berlin, Czech Republic); in 2015-2016 he was working in a studio located in a revitalized former steel works and coal mining complex in the Dolni Vitkovice district in Ostrava.
In 1992 he graduated from the Poznań University of Technology. In 2004-2005 he audited the classes at VIII Painting Studio led by professor Józef Walczak at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań. In 2014 he took part in Workshops and the Encounters of Arts and Social Activities organized by professor Janusz Marciniak (the University of Arts in Poznań) and Signum Foundation.
In his paintings, Labijak investigates the questions related to social relationships in the smartphone revolution era, mediatisation of virtual reality, communication in postmodern world, post-industrial landscapes, attention and its deficiency. He uses traditional painting techniques, such as oil and acrylic on canvas, and experiments with his own technique as well.
2013 Ignacy Kraszewski Museum and Studio in Poznań. Curator: Janusz Marciniak
2016 Rafał Labijak`s painting. Curator: Wojciech Gorączniak. Ostrava, Dolni Oblast Vitkovice. Catalogue: Rafał Labijak: painting, ed. W. Gorączniak, R. Labijak, J. Marciniak, trans. M. Turski, Poznań-Ostrava 2016.
2016 Collegium Physicum UAM; Exhibition in One Image Gallery
2018 Refektarz Gallery, Krotoszyn, Empathy: Art and Life. Curator: Janusz Marciniak. The exhibition was accompanied by catalogue.
Oct 2 2020 - Nov 15 2020
State Art Gallery
Pl. Zdrojowy 2, Sopot
Pl. Zdrojowy 2, Sopot