"Part III: Interiority" group show May 19th – Jun 17th, CHARLIE SMITH LONDON | London, 336 Old Street, 2nd Floor

CHARLIE SMITH LONDON presents the third in a trilogy of interconnected exhibitions, representing a collection of survey shows investigating the city, landscape and interiors.

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"I Am Not Going to Please You" solo show, Fri Dec 09 - Sun Jan 22 envoy enterprises | 87 Rivington St, New York

Known in the international art world for his darkly romantic, humorous and provocative paintings, Marcin Cienski introduces the viewer to his personal demons and fears in his solo exhibition I am Not Going to Please You.
Currently, society as a whole is dealing with demons. An acute awareness of traditional cultural values clashing with contemporary values is leading to a number of conflicts. The political climate of the 30’s is being revisited with the vulgarity of a reality show posing as entertainment. Manners of conduct, long considered the norm for decency and a civilized society, are being thrown out of the window by those meant to set an example. Traditional culture is collapsing and politicians, for their personal gain, play on humankind’s inherent fear of the unknown, by encouraging divisiveness, hatred and resentment towards people who think and act differently. Cienski states:” Fear often is our main motivation and life coach. It can push us to oppress individuals and destroy nations. Stigma of being different can turn a person into a demon in the eyes of an oppressor. Demons are also real, spiritual entities that can hunt us. Posses us. These days demons left their infernal home and now run in packs being more active, hungrier, and madder than ever.”

At a distance, the artist’s paintings look almost photographic in detail. Close-up, they illustrate a bold and dynamic brushwork resulting in a more ‘painterly’ look. Take a few steps away from the paintings and something happens. Through a great sense of depth and intrigue, Cienski introduces us to a universe marked by alienation, absurdity and irony. His strange cast of figures, engaged in mysterious actions, can be interpreted in many ways. Coal Mask (2016), for example, can be seen as an ironic, critical examination of the decline of the coal industry, leaving a dumbstruck worker with nothing but dirt on his face. Or it can be seen as a metaphor for the masks men take on in front of others. The narrative of Late Guest (2016) is riddled with double-takes. It is an alarming work, which appears to hint at a fiery apocalypse. A man, covered with a mask and a hood, seems to be posing for his portrait right upon entering the dark room of a house. One can but derive that the late guest is not exactly an invited much less a wanted guest. The icy silence and Gothic aspect of the painting is interlaced with today’s reality, even though the scene could be dating back a hundred years ago. Innocently called Take it off (2016), a man in a sinister and extremely deliberate stance, his face covered by a horse head, raises his right arm as if pointing to some imminent doom. Lance (2016), a bearded man in a skull mask, is portrayed using the "be aware that you are about to die ' motif from the Baroque period. By darkening the shadows and transfixing Lance in a blinding shaft of light, the work is reminiscent of Caravaggio's tenebrism. And then there are the frightening paintings of actual demons. Regardless of the actual subjects, Cienski’s paintings are exquisitely made in the old master tradition. They are beautiful with a cruel edge. They exude absolute mystery. Through the enigmatic rituals in which fiction and reality mingle, the bizarre alienation and ominous tension, the viewer becomes a lonely wanderer in the artist’s landscapes of desolation, but also a receptacle of all the suffering and misery of the world.

Marcin Cienski (Poland, 1976) is a painter living and working in Pennsylvania. He graduated from the Fine Arts Academy in Krakow, Poland. The artist has exhibited in institutions such as the Kunstverein Tiergarten in Berlin, Germany; Museum Abtei in Liesborn, Germany and Kunsthalle Rostock in Rostock Germany as well as in commercial galleries in Norway, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Hungary, Belgium and the United Kingdom.

"Hounted Barn" solo show, 16 January - 27 February 2016, jochen Hempel gallery, Leipzig, germany

»Spuk in der Scheune«

Das Thema der Ausstellung beruht auf einer Legende – oder vielleicht sogar wahren Geschichte –, die seit Jahrhunderten in meiner Familie umgeht. Es war dies eine Adelsfamilie mit einem Palast und viel Land im östlichen Teil Polens (heute Ukraine). Diese Gegend ist berühmt für ihre Hexenjagden und Verbrennungen von Frauen, die der Hexerei bezichtigt wurden.
So hatte der Legende nach einer meiner Vorfahren irgendeinen Streit mit einer örtlichen Schamanin (womöglich Liebeshändel, aber wer weiß?). Daraufhin belegten sie und ihre Hexengefährtinnen die Tiere auf dem Hof meines Vorfahren mit einem Zauber. Die Kuh gab saure Milch, und die Ziegen begannen Menschen anzugreifen. Mein Urgroßvater wollte nicht nachgeben, und der Streit spitzte sich
immer mehr zu. Daraufhin belegte eine Hexe der »Szeptucha« genannten Sorte (eine »Einflüsterin«, wie es sie in Polen noch immer gibt, wo sie jedoch meist als gute Hexen gilt, die weiße Magie betreibt und den Menschen hilft) ein Kind meines Urgroßvaters mit einem Zauber. Das Kind wurde zusehends schwächer und stand schon am Rande des Todes. Es half nur ein Besuch in einer heiligen Stätte des Schlosses – da brach ein katholischer Bischof den Zauber. Nun geriet die Hexe in Zorn, und sie und ihre Hexengefährtinnen legten Feuer im Schloss, das bis auf die Grundfesten niederbrannte. Meine Familie musste es wieder aufbauen, aber seine frühere Größe hat es nie wieder erlangt.

Danach verschwand die Hexe, wobei aber unklar ist, ob sie gejagt und ins Gefängnis gesteckt oder gar auf dem Scheiterhaufen verbrannt wurde. Niemand spricht darüber.
Im alten Polen war es ein weit verbreiteter Glaube, dass Hexen kleine Kinder stehlen, oder, wenn man ihnen kein Geld gibt, Menschen mit diesem oder jenem Zauber belegen. Kleine Kinder mussten blaue Bänder um die Handgelenke tragen, um sich vor dem so genannten »bösen Blick« zu schützen. Letztmalig wurde in Polen eine Hexe am Ende des 19. Jahrhundert verbrannt.
Hexen nannte man »Baba Jaga« oder »Szeptucha«. Für gewöhnlich wurden sie als hässliche alte Frauen dargestellt – oft zahnlos oder ganz im Gegenteil mit Metallzähnen –, die in einem abgeschiedenen
Teil des Dorfes lebten, häufig nahe einem Sumpf oder Wald. Sie konnten auf Besen fliegen, und der Teufel war ihr Liebhaber und Gebieter. Zuweilen konnten sie sich jedoch auch in schöne junge Frauen verwandeln.
Auf eben diese Weise zeige ich sie in meinen Gemälden, wie sie Tieren einen bösen Zauber einflüstern, Flüche ausbringen und Schlösser niederbrennen. Manche glaubten, sie hätten Wölfe oder gar Werwölfe zu ihren Bediensteten. Auch das kommt in einem der Bilder vor. In der Ausstellung können Sie zu Stein erstarrte Tiere in einem alten Stall sehen.
Um diesen Effekt zu erzielen, nahm ich mitten im tiefsten, sehr kalten Winter ein Foto in einer Scheune nahe Krakau auf. Der Geruch nach Tieren und die Wärme ihrer Körper waren eine unglaubliche
Erfahrung. Stilistisch beziehen sich die Gemälde mit ihren vielen kontrastierenden Lichtern und Schatten auf die alten Meister.


“Haunted Barn”

The theme of the show is based on a legend – or potentially a true story – that has been in my family for centuries. They were a noble family with a palace and a lot of land in the eastern part of Poland (now Ukraine). That region is famous for witch hunting and the burning of women accused of witchcraft.
So the legend goes that one of my ancestors had some kind of argument with a local shaman woman (potentially an affair, but who knows?). As a result she and her fellow witches cast a spell on animals on my ancestor’s farm. The cow would produce sour milk and the goats started attacking people. My great-grandfather did not want to back down and the argument became worse and worse. As a result a kind of witch called Szeptucha –”Whisperer” (they do still exist in Poland, but they are mostly considered to be good witches, doing white magic and helping people) – put a spell on a child of my great grandfather. The child stared to get weak and was on the edge of death. The only thing that helped was a visit to a castle sanctuary – and a Catholic bishop broke the spell. The witch was angry and she and her fellow witches set the castle on fire and it burnt to the ground. My family had to rebuild it, but it never returned to its former greatness.

After that the witch disappeared, although it is unclear if she was followed and kept in prison or even burned on a stake. Nobody talks about it.
In old Poland it was a very popular belief that witches would steal babies, or, if not given money, cast various spells on a person. Babies had to wear blue ribbons around their wrists to be protected from a so called “evil eye”. The last witch burning in Poland was at the end of 19th century.
Witches were called Baba Jaga, or Szeptucha. Usually they were portrayed as old, ugly ladies, often with no teeth, or on the contrary, with metal teeth, living in a secluded part of a village, often close to swamp or forest. They could fly on a broom and the devil was their lover and master. Sometimes, however, they could transform themselves into young, pretty women.
In my paintings I show them like this, whispering bad spells to animals, casting spells and burning down castles. Some people believed they had wolves or even werewolves as their servants. That is also in one of the paintings. In the show you can see petrified animals in an old stable.
To achieve that effect I took a photo in a barn near Kraków in the middle of very cold winter. The smell of animals and the warmth of their bodies was an incredible experience. Stylistically, the paintings
refer to old masters with a lot of contrasting light and shadow. 

I am a Lie and I am Gold Curated by Marco Breuer, Yossi Milo Gallery, NYC
I am a Lie and I am Gold
Curated by Marco Breuer
December 11, 2015 - January 23, 2016
Opening Reception: Friday, December 11, 5:00-8:00pm 
I am a Lie and I am Gold is an exhibition about photography without the inclusion of a single photograph. Curated by artist Marco Breuer, the exhibition features works on paper, paintings, sculptures, textiles, and installations by 27 artists whose diverse practices engage with the idea that photography is a principle, not a product.

At the heart of I am a Lie and I am Gold is the question: how has photography influenced our perception, what we see, and how we see it? Many artists have a complicated relationship to the medium, at times working less with and more against photography. This exhibition looks at a broad set of ideas related to the medium of photography, including the deluge of news media images, the camera fetish, the photograph as translation, the unique vs. the copy, and the photographic record as fiction. The title of the exhibition is from the song I am a Photograph by Amanda Lear.
 
Artists included in the exhibition: Joe Amrhein, Marina Berio, Mel Bochner, Nathalie Boutté, Matthew Brandt, Davide Cantoni, Marcin Cienski, Daniel Davidson, Kirsten Everberg, Natalie Frank, Erik Hanson, Eberhard Havekost, Arnold Helbling, Johannes Kahrs, Mark Khaisman, Wayne Koestenbaum, Sze Tsung Leong, Glenn Ligon, Cynthia Lin, Anna Plesset, Frank Selby, Greg Smith, Molly Springfield, Julianne Swartz, Alison Elizabeth Taylor, Jim Torok, and Martin Wilner.
 
The curator of this exhibition, artist Marco Breuer, has exhibited widely throughout the United States and Europe. Last month he received the inaugural Larry Sultan Photography Award. Breuer's work is in numerous public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC; the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart, Germany.
  

For more information about the exhibition, please visit our website.
 
We hope to see you!

Yossi Milo Gallery
245 Tenth Avenue NYC 10001 / 212.414.0370 / yossimilo.com 
Museum show Kunstverein Tiergarten 13.03.2015 - 18.04.2015, Berlin, Germany.

Kunstverein Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany.
"Die Zimmer der Nomaden" curated by Claudia Beelitz

http://www.kunstverein-tiergarten.de/?cat=ausstellung&id=128

museum show January 30 - May 3 2015 Leipzig, Germany

"Nocturne - Richard Stipl at Kunsthalle der Sparkasse Leipzig"

http://www.kunsthalle-sparkasse.de/aktuell.html

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