Monika Chlebek Close up

20.01 – 02.04.2023 Monika Chlebek Close up

Zachęta Project Room

Curator: Magda Kardasz
exhibition production: Pola Gadowska, Grzegorz Ostromecki and team

Monika Chlebek’s exhibition Close up at the Zachęta Project Room presents a collection of paintings and a painterly composition on the wall devoted to the bond between humans and dogs/animals/nature. A graduate of painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, the artist has been present on the Polish art scene since 2009. Recently, Chlebek has been looking for painterly themes in everyday life and her immediate surroundings. Intuitiveness and sensuality are another characteristic feature of her painting. A specific way of framing has become the trademark of her paintings. Their motifs are presented in a fragmentary way, in large close-ups, without unnecessary embellishments. This gives the viewer a sense of unusual closeness with the model portrayed, an impression of looking deeply in the eyes of another being at the moment of a mystical connection with it. And this is, I think, the power of the works described here. The eponymous close-up by definition focuses on the fragment that gets enlarged. It forces us to expand on the rest, figure it out, interpret the painting on our own. Some of the portraits of Monika’s girl dog Kola, are close to abstraction. The viewer begins to feel the physical and psychological closeness of the painter and the model. Monika Chlebek paints the dogs that she knows and likes. Her first dog portrait was made during her studies in secondary art school. In 2020, during the Covid-19 lockdown, Kola became a regular presence in her studio and in many of her canvases. The paintings shown at the Zachęta Project Room represent different periods of the artist’s work and are painted in various styles. Along with the paintings featuring the dog motifs, representations of a hand immersed in dog fur have been created. I see them as the symbolic quintessence of Chlebek’s narration about the possibility of interspecies understanding. They express the awareness that we all belong to the world of nature or primal wildness. The artist painted a similar representation on the gallery wall — as a special close-up prepared for the exhibition.


Related media
  • Grafika obiektu: Na Zachętę! #1 – Monika Chlebek
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    Na Zachętę! #1 – Monika Chlebek
  • Grafika obiektu: 3D Exhibition: Monika Chlebek
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Related events
  • 24.02 (Fri) 18:00
    Monika Chlebek talks to Wojciech Gilewicz about the role of painting today
    (in Polish)
    Zachęta Project RoomZPR
  • 21.03 (Tue) 18:00
    Let's talk about dogs
    (in Polish)
    Zachęta Project RoomZPR
  • 25.03 (Sat) 12:30
    Accessible Art
    Zachęta Project RoomZPR
  • 26.03 (Sun) 12:30
    I love dogs! | я люблю собак!
    Family workshops | майстер-клас
    Zachęta Project RoomZPR
  • 01.04 (Sat) 18:00
    Finissage of the exhibition (In Polish)
    Monika Chlebek. Close up
    Zachęta Project RoomZPR


Monika Chlebek
Close up
20.01 – 02.04.2023

Zachęta Project Room
ul. Gałczyńskiego 3, 00-362 Warsaw
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Godziny otwarcia:
tuesday–Sunday 12–8 p.m.
free entry