The works of Rafał Bujnowski continually engage in a dialogue with the fundamental properties of painting. The artist is interested in what paintings are essentially for, how they function in architectural and social space, but also the manner of their creation. These considerations have led him to radical solutions and far-reaching formal restraint. The phenomenon of his painting consists in the constant balancing between representation and the illusion of representation. The painting process, often purely mechanical, leads to surprising results and launches another, symmetrical, process of reading the completed painting, which depends on the variable lighting, distance, and the involvement of the viewer.
The motif of the human figure returns in Bujnowski’s latest works, and the minimalism of the painterly means is used this time for a rather existential reflection. The ink compositions from the title series Man on Tree are a metaphor of entanglement, but also of a peculiar asylum and concealment, all depicted with the simplest artistic means. Similarly, Candles have an ambiguous nature—brilliant studies of smoke drifting over an extinguished wick, made with a single stroke of the brush. These works reveal a contemplative potential and a symbolism not seen before in Bujnowski.
After many years, the painter also tries an entirely different range of hues. The series of tondos Dandelions offers a colouristic and energetic counterbalance to the other works. At the same time, in Bujnowski’s signature manner, the paintings capture a glimmering state of momentary rapture, a flash of light and emotion. As with the ethereal image of drifting smoke or the figure disappearing among the branches, here too the lapidary motif conveys meta-painting content. The legible traces of the brush are not only a record of the process of constructing the painting, but also a documentation of painterly meditation in the quest for the most accurate and telling gesture—a fundamental mark of interpersonal communication.