Marcin Rząsa – Silence

Marcin Rząsa creates sculptures of individuals that have no individual features. Instead, they are universal representations of the human being.

The exhibition of wood sculptures entitled “Silence” by MarcinRząsa is a part of a larger project called “Tree. Wood. Material or Sacred?”
The exhibition is curated by Krzysztof Kokoryn.

Agata Smalcerz, the curator of the project “Tree. Wood. Material or sacred?”
Marcin Rząsa creates sculptures of individuals that have no individual features, but are universal representations of the human being. Marcin is a son of the famous sculptor Antoni Rząsa, for whom wood was almost a sacred material, and thus each of his sculptures had a sacred dimension. As a child, Marcin was instilled with the ethos of a sculptor's work; growing up in his father’s workshop, he not only imbibed the smell of wood, but also developed a great respect for every piece of it.
Marcin Rząsa has a unique flair for teaching. He runs workshops for young and older adults from a studio in the house which was built by his father in Zakopane. The building also houses an art gallery named after the late Antoni Rząsa who died in 1980 which is used for a permanent exhibition of the artist's work and has space for temporary exhibitions.

Krzysztof Kokoryn, Marcin Rząsa – Silence
I first met Marcin Rząsa in 1989 in Warsaw during my studies at the Academy of Fine Arts, in the corridor of the Dziekanka. We chatted for a while, he said he was from Zakopane and I said I was planning a trip to the Tatra Mountains, so he invited me over to his place. I visited his house in ulica Bogdańskiego in the winter. A gallery with sculptures by Antoni Rząsa, Marcin's father, a small kitchen with a huge table, tea in a jug, friends at the table and endless conversations. Marcin was smiling, he was curious about the world and exhibited a unique sensitivity to art. The type of man who knows how to listen.
Sculptures by Marcin Rząsa.
Human figures standing, walking, sitting, crouching, sometimes a chair or a stool. Some huge, others surprisingly tiny, fitting in the palm of the hand. Figures with cleverly modelled shapes, delicately axe-chopped textures. They are made of wood, large trunks cut with a chainsaw and small stumps chopped with an axe, saplings that not long ago were pear or cherry trees. The smell of wood is in the air. Wood is dominant. The sculptures, even when covered with a layer of paint, remain wood. Figures standing on feet cut according to the rules of human anatomy. The faces of the figures - delicately marked mouths, ears, noses, closed eyelids, sometimes devoid of detail. Or perhaps a single face repeated in many sculptures. The focused, closed face is both woman and man, boy and girl. They often have elaborate headgear, made up of simple geometric figures or bizarre shapes, contrasting with the organic matter of the face. Sometimes the head of the sculpture is covered by a root found in the forest, in which case its organic nature contrasts with the tool-cut figure.
Marcin Rząsa creates no portraits, he doesn’t use attempt make any moral statements, nor does he discover anything new; he refuses to fight or shout..., the figures are quiet. And yet, he is a disciple of Grzegorz Kowalski, a renowned professor at the department of sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, whose studio was famous for an uncompromising nature of its teachers and students, the expressiveness of its works, and the expression of one's thoughts through art (Kozyra, Althamer). Marcin grew up in Zakopane surrounded by artists. There was his famous father and his mother, a photographer, he attended the Antoni Kenar boarding school of art, where people around him busied themselves with sculpting, drawing, painting, talking about art. Uncle Hasior brought toys from abroad, there were Brzozowski and Zbrożyna... Creation was as natural for him as walking in the mountains Marcin would leave the house and, after 15 minutes, was immersed in the Strążyska Valley. Marcin would descend into his workshop, pick up an axe and plunge into a piece of wood. Naturally. Effortlessly, he would make a succession of figures. Characters who seem to be listening. Characters to whom you can tell your story. 

Marcin Rząsa
He is a sculptor born in 1965; son of Halina and Antoni Rząsa, husband of Magda and father of Frank, Hela and Marta. In 1980-1985, he studied at the Antoni Kenar State Secondary School of Fine Arts in Zakopane. He began his studies in 1985 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków. After a year, he moved to the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, where he continued his studies in the atelier of Prof. Jan Kucz. He defended his degree under Prof. Grzegorz Kowalski in 1991. Between 1994 and 1995 he studied in Bratislava at VSVU in the atelier of J. Jankovic. Since graduation, he has shown his works in many exhibitions at home and abroad. Since 1986, he has been running Antoni Rząsa Gallery in Zakopane, at ul. Bogdańskiego 16a. The gallery, opened in 1976, is the brainchild of Antoni Rząsa and his wife Halina.
Since 1991, he has been the president of the Antoni Rząsa Foundation. He cooperates with the Tatra Museum, the Tatra National Park and the Encounters with Mountain Film Association. He is the creator of the exhibition in the Oksza Villa - a branch of the Tatra Museum. He is a guide of the Tatra Mountains. He lives and works in Zakopane.

Krzysztof Kokoryn
He is painter and filmmaker, designs posters and album covers. He was born in 1964 in Szczytno, graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. He holds a degree in painting under Prof. Rajmund Ziemski and minor in the animation film studio of Prof. Daniel Szczechura (1992). His artistic pursuits include oil easel painting and animated film. He is the winner of numerous awards for animated films and music videos.
Pictured: Krzysztof Kokoryn, photo by Henryk Malesa

Galeria Bielska BWA presents two simultaneous exhibitions by 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 of contemporary wood sculpture are 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 project “Tree. Wood. Material or Sacred?” >>

Galeria Bielska BWA
2 June – 27 August 2023 (lower room)
Marcin Rząsa – Silence
The opening: Friday, 2 June 2023 at 5 pm

Józek Nowak – “Artists”
2 June – 27 August 2023 (upper room)
The opening: Friday, 2 June 2023 at 5 pm
Read more about Józek Nowak’s exhibition of sculptures “Artists” >>

Read more about The Antoni Rząsa Gallery in Zakopane >>
Read more about Antoni Rząsa’s sculpture exhibition at Galeria Bielska BWA in 2019, see videos, photo reports, read about accompanying events >>