Artist Focus: 2 week program presenting works by traveling artists in residence.
Is it a relic, an excavated piece of an ancient ruin? Is there vital spirit in the stone? The work shows the fragility of the body. It shows a spatial ambivalence between identity and alienation. It can be seen in the realm of a skin archeology, a pathological pastry with psychedelic humour. I am inspired by ancient death culture. In my last show I was drawn to Psychopomps, the anthropomorphic entities of funerary art that guide the souls of the deceased into afterlife. And I used the idea of sarcophagus (Greek sarx “flesh” and phagein “eat” and lithos sarcophagus “flesheating stone”), to develop a figurative sculpture, which accomodated the materiality of flesh and stone, in form of a backdrop. This concept of flesh (oil paint) and stone (wall paint) also applies to the works “King Gray” and “Lilystone”. Wall paint refers to the wall, to the architectural surface, to urbanism. Oil paint on the other hand refers to the organic, the human. In my work I can see a touch of medieval aesthetics, a reference to eastern european gothic (Nowak is a polish surname), a search to unify pop culture and archeology by excavating funny objects between comedy and abjection. “King Gray” may be a sick snow man, a mutilated totem, a goofy jesus. How to intertwine the experience of tactile vulnerability with fictional history and the notion of alien contact? Jumping across the aesthetics of Ancient America, food culture, skin care and paleontology, I put up a totem, holding together as a column.
Alex Nowak is a transdisciplinary artist creating sculptures and paintings in the realm of a comical archeology. Blurring the lines between the built environment and the natural world, his artworks are characterized by raw texture and organic forms. Nowak explores spatial stories about the human figure that are influenced by folk props and horror fiction. His work aims to interweave artistic materiality with contemporary social theory. He is based in Berlin, Germany and completed his residency at the International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP) in Brooklyn, NY.