Ryszard Grzyb. Beast in the human cage. Portraits and screens.

21 February - 25 May 2014

“…Grzyb’s painting has recently come closer to his poetry than ever before. In the portraits which form the core of the present exhibition one finds but the afterimages of his earlier African vibrancy and naïve brutality, of the carefree expression of his childlike scribbling or ‘the joyous and exuberant spirit of poetic anarchy’ and ‘jarring, bright colors’. Despite their lingering expressionism (towards which Ryszard seems naturally predisposed), the portraits’ mood is sincere and informed by an idiosyncratic but real existential harmony and the artistic distance towards the world is tinted with stylish irony. Perhaps it is the effect of the passage of time since it appears that – not untypically – the rebellious artist has matured into a modern master.

This does not imply that Ryszard Grzyb has completely changed his idiom. His unique style has retained its signature characteristics: his robust sensuality underlain by psychological subtexts and his unfailing sense of color. Grzyb’s personality has always been strong, I daresay exceptionally strong.

In my opinion, his approach has changed in the sense that his treatment of the narrative aspect has come closer to realism which is understandable considering the rules of the genre. But this shift is not mimetic. The portraits have retained the defining elements of Grzyb’s style: his lively imagination and powerful expression; his proclivity for deformation bordering on geometrical abstraction and taste for introducing non-realistic motifs. The paintings tend towards realism but not caricature. They revel in creativity but not spontaneity. They captivate with color orchestrated carefully and subtly rather than intuitively. They strike with the treatment of form which is simultaneously monumental and elegantly stylized.”

Krzysztof Lipka

Fragment of an essay from the catalogue.


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