Still Life is the first solo exhibition of Michal Budny (°1976, Poland) at the gallery space of Geukens & De Vil, and moreover in Belgium. The artist presents various works in contrasting materials, playing with temperature, weight and texture. Each single piece is presented in a well-considered manner and exists autonomously as well as in relationship to each other, almost like an installation, whereby the relationship towards the architecture of the space is of grand importance.
Budny’s work appears formal and austere but it is charged with poetical meaning. The artist always starts from a specific idea or concept but rather than forcing the viewer into a preconceived framework, Budny opens an intimate dialogue through the ambiguous use of materials and forms.
A dark circle-shaped stage in rubber with a distinctive smell but a surprising soft texture, ephemeral ‘bricks’ in fragile cardboard that change colour when being exposed to daylight, or cold rusted metal combined with an almost invisible piece of yarn, ready to snap when you would step into the work. These are only a few examples of dubious materials that exist in relation to recurring forms and motifs such as the circle – an infinite structure – or an intersection of cuts almost appearing as beams of light within the frame of the circle but also within traditional portraits hanging on the wall. All these elements are part of a game between the artist and the viewer whereby each work tells a narrative and captures an energy that comes across as positive and negative, delicate and harsh, distant and intimate at the same time.
Michal Budny does not provide the viewer with clear-cut answers; moreover, his exhibition evokes questions and forces to approach each work from a personal background coloured by subjective ideas and experiences. What does this material or form remind me off? What do I feel when I look at this work? Who is the author of this still life? Thinking about these questions can be applied on to the whole exhibition leading one to ask: what is it exactly that determines a still life?