Original life-size sculptures of human figures, created from tree trunks using a unique technique with a chainsaw and axe.

The exhibition entitled “Artists” presents dozens of wood sculptures by Józek Nowak depicting well-known contemporary artists. The exhibition is part of a project called Tree. Wood. Material or Sacred?
The curator of the exhibition and the project is Agata Smalcerz.

Agata Smalcerz:
Józek Nowak is an artist who possesses an extraordinary gift: he is able to extract the human figure from the trunk of a tree, creating a sculpture that bears a perfect resemblance to the model.
Creating a portrait of another human being has magic in it. On the one hand, it arouses admiration for the skilful hand and good eye of the creator, painter, draughtsman or sculptor, and on the other, it evokes a kind of primal fear of appropriating the model’s soul. Modern people have similar fears of the photograph, for example in relation to the protection of the image.
Józek Nowak has been sculpting since he was a child. He finds it easy to reflect the features of the person he wants to immortalise. Not just the likeness of the face, but the whole silhouette, the movement of the body captured in a characteristic moment. The artist uses tools that speed up the creative process: he works on large tree trunks with a chainsaw and carves the details with an axe. Although roughly chiseled, the figures are nevertheless recognisable, the resemblance to the model is easily discernible.
At the exhibition, the artist will present around 30 sculptures depicting artists, Polish and international, of natural dimensions. Thanks to the video recording, it is possible to observe how the creative process takes place, the extraction of anthropomorphic shapes from a large tree trunk, the transformation of one entity into another.
The sculptures were created in Łętownia, on a mountain slope that provides a natural stage for an increasing number of figures. Presented in the art gallery, this will not so much be an exhibition as an encounter between these new entities, brought to life by Józek Nowak, and the audience.

Józek Nowak was born in 1962 in Jordanów. In 1991 he graduated from the Faculty of Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków.
He is a member of the European Sculpture Network, the Association of German Visual Artists of the Bavarian District (BBK Bayern) and the Kraków District Association of Polish Visual Artists.
Since 1994, he has lived and worked in Germany, in Pöcking, Bavaria, on Lake Starnberger, and in Kraków.
His artistic pursuits include figural sculpture, abstract sculpture and multi-media art.
Józek Nowak’s works include the monument to Pope John Paul II in Hamburg, the sculpture “Olga” for the Schanghai Sculpture Park in China, altar sculptures for the new church in Niepołomice, the monument to Frederic Chopin in Żelazowa Wola - this monument is a wood sculpture, the bronze cast of which is in the Munich Poets' Park, and the monument to Empress Sisi in Possenhofen.
The artist has exhibited his works in Poland and abroad, including in Kraków, Warsaw and Orońsko, Darmstadt, Munich and Hanover in Germany.
Pictured: Józek Nowak (left) and Marcin Rząsa, photo by Magda Rząsa.

Galeria Bielska BWA presents two simultaneous exhibitions by two artists for whom wood is the exclusive sculptural material: Marcin Rząsa and Józek Nowak. Both create entire human figures, from a single piece of wood, but the way they are treated is different. Both exhibitions constitute the highlights of Galeria Bielska BWA’s project called Tree. Wood. Material or Sacred? In addition to the exhibitions, the project includes a number of events, including an open air workshop for young adults and a panel discussion.
The founder and curator of the project is Agata Smalcerz.

Read more about the programme Both exhibitions are the focus of Galeria Bielska BWA’s project entitled Tree. Wood. Material or Sacred? In addition to exhibitions of contemporary wood sculpture, a number of events are planned, including an open-air workshop for young people and a panel discussion.
The originator and curator of the project is Agata Smalcerz.

Tree. Wood. Material or sacred? Read more about the programme >>

Agata Smalcerz ­– art historian, curator, director of the Galeria Bielska BWA. Graduate of art history at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków (1988). She has been working at the Galeria Bielska BWA since 1992, initially as programme curator, and since 1 June 2003 as director. She is a curator of exhibitions and author of numerous texts on contemporary art.

Galeria Bielska BWA
Józek Nowak – Artists
2 June – 27 August 2023 (upper room)
The opening: Friday, 2 June 2023 at 5pm

Marcin Rząsa – Silence
2 June – 27 August 2023 (lower room)
The opening: Friday, 2 June 2023 at 5pm
Read more about the exhibition “Silence” by Marcin Rząsa >>