Joanna Buchowska

Works Bio

A key for this enigmatic, mysterious work is provided by the collage principle. Joanna Buchowska collects her pictorial components from diverse sources, assembles them to an overall picture and transfers this into painting, not without adding further alterations. The results are images in which distance and closeness, figuration and abstraction, namable and undefinable details come together, collide with each other and finally form a pictorial whole.

The extraordinary tension of the pictures begins with their very own coloration: a light till dark blue opens the stage in boundless distance, an earthly, bright-sandy till dark-reddish brown locates the scenery in tangible proximity. In addition there are black and white as the polar opposites of the colour scale. Also, the material quality of the pictorical details adds to the tension: soft organic-creaturely features are in contrast with the hard gleaming of metal, some details are painted so haptically that one is tempted to take hold. And small forms stand next to overwhelmingly large ones, as if the one is about to be swallowed by the other.

The sceneries, forms and figures open up to a variety of associations that are dominated by the strange and doubtful, the disturbing and menacing. The pictures are quiet; little is happening, but extraordinary events have happened. These are pictures after the action: a small series is named „The Day After“. The disaster is there, it is all around. We are reminded of science fiction dramas or even of the apocalypse, the end of the world. Yet, however drastic the occurences seem to be: we, as the viewers, are not drawn into them, we keep our distance, we do not experience the drama itself but contemplate a picture, an image.

The collage principle leads to the field of the theory of signs. As a word gains its meaning through its context, the items in a collage are defined by the pictorial whole. However, the fragmental details as well as the artificial character of the construction hardly allow precise definitions. Finally, the artist is concerned with questions of knowledge: why do we give specific forms and colors specific meanings? How do we read something? How do brain and emotion process pictorial evidence?

The tradition Joanna Buchowska stands in goes back to figures such as the American pop artist James Rosenquist, the surrealists Max Ernst, Dalí, Magritte, and Giorgio de Chirico with his pittura metafisica, and finally to the symbolists Odilon Redon and Gustave Moreau. At the same time these works are completely contemporary, fully of our time – to be more exact: these works transcend our time, they are pictures of the future. As apocalyptic as this future might be: the perfect composition, the balanced harmony of each work conjure the „principle of hope“. „It is necessary,“ Ernst Bloch writes, „to learn to hope. One’s work does not renounce, it is in love with success, not with failure.“

Please see Joanna’s paintings in our exhibitions Figures & Faces, Part 1 and Landscape, so Beautiful!.



Born in Oels, Poland; lives since 1991 in Berlin

1981High school of visual arts, Opole, diploma for painting
1986studied art education, Częstochowa
1996studied at the Freie Kunstschule, Berlin
2000studied media design, Institute for new media L4, Berlin


2016Residence at Herrenhaus Edenkoben, juror: Prof. Franz Ackermann
2009Gold Owl, Zlota Sowa Award, Vienna
Käte Dorsch Grant, Berlin
Artist in Residence, Fiskars, Finland
2008Artist in Residence, Gorna Lipnitsa, Bulgaria

exhibitions (selection)

S = Solo shows

2016Pophits – covered covers, Austria Auction Company, Vienna
Aberratio, Herrenhaus Edenkoben, Edenkoben (S)
Frohe Botschaft, Botschaft, Berlin
2015RAE – Works In White, SchauFenster, Berlin
All about Eve, Project room, Kunstquartier Bethanien, Berlin
Berlin-Klondyke, Editions, Salon Dahlmann, Berlin
2014Armillarsphären, Bautzener Kunstverein, Galerie Budissin, Bautzen (S)
Present, by Michaela Zimmer, Project room, Kunstquartier Bethanien, Berlin
2013Berlin–Klondyke, Spinnerei, Leipzig; Gmunden, Salzkammergut
Giving roots more attention, Leipzig, Nürnberg
Montez in Berlin, Montez in Leipzig, Montez in Nürnberg
2012remarks, Schau Fenster, Berlin
as deep as you can, Kreuzberg Pavillon, Berlin
North-East of Heaven, Galerie Hartwich Rügen, Sellin
Desire (make room!), Kulturforum am Altenkamp in Schloß Holte-Stuckenbrock (S)
2011Berlin-Klondyke 2011, Odd Gallery, Dawson City, Yukon; ACLA – Art Center Los Angeles
The Cuts are Allright, Kreuzberg Pavillon with Skalitzer 140, Berlin
2010Contemporaries in heaps, Galerie Im Regierungsviertel – Forgotten Bar Project, Berlin
Everybody learns from disaster, Villa Elisabeth, Berlin
2008Kraj (homeland), Galeria Sztuki Wspolczesnej, Opole, Poland
30 vs. 3 000 000, Sculpture and painting from Berlin, Schloß Holte-Stukenbrock
2007Served, Galerie Börgmann, Kevelaer
Born to eat fruit, Galerie Börgmann, Kevelaer (S)
Without title, with Annelen Käferstein, Galerie Engler, Berlin (S)
2006Warm up… young talents, Galerie Vonderbank, Berlin
2005Arriving staying leaving – Pictures of a trip to the in-between, Galerie Schmidt, Berlin (E)
Bambi, fly, Galerie Börgmann, Kevelaer (S)

For further information please see the artist’s website: Joanna Buchowska