Marcin Owczarek, born in 1985. Lives and works in Belgium.
My art has always focused on the condition of our globe and the condition of man. I use photography and collage to create surreal images that are thematically focused on identity, dreams, new technologies, bio-science, the unconscious, morals, social situations, behaviours, habits, rituals, biological changes, depression in urban environments- which have signicant impact on human life. To observe. To document. As a result, I create the image of the 21 century and the image of our current society filled with allusions, metaphors, allegories.
Before starting new work, I always do a conceptual sketch which is very deliberate. I never use particular characters accidentaly. The universe I create and the reflection I want to transmit, must be shaped in perfect way. In case of characters I employ for example animals - as symbols or allegories. In this way they reflect human's virtue or imperfection. In many of my images I use birds since they symbolize the human soul trapped in the mortal body. In my work called 'The Last Drop of Water' I employed elephants. Elephant is a symbol of peace, strength, compassion and wisdom. In Tibet elephant holds the whole cosmos. On my image elephants are burning and they long for water. I think the interpretation is obvious. Other example when I use monuments or buildings, these elements have also historical, metaphorical or symbolic connotations. For instance, the main buliding in my artwork 'The Keeper of the City Key' is library. If we refer to the symbolic language, we learn that library is defined as the source of mystery, knowledge and might. The library is also very closely related to labyrinth, that is why all these manekines in my image are forced to lead with labyrinth (of life).
By using various symbols and depth of mening intentionally, I want my art to be interpreted on many levels. Therefore you can also notice that there are many smaller images in one image I finish. This subtle meanings tells you – you can open as many doors as you want and interpret my collages day after day in different way. Possibilities are endless.
THE WAY HE WORKS
Photo Artist Marcin Owczarek compares the initial moment of creation of a new artwork to a voyage. He uses thousands of single photographs, each of which he considers with extreme care before commencing the artistic process. He starts by sketching the image he wishes to generate on a piece of paper; a purely conceptual step. He subsequently turns to the computer to “give birth” to what he wanted to achieve via his sketch, resulting in a collage. The time required for this creation process differs greatly. “The City of Illusion”, for example, took Marcin Owczarek three months to finish, with the artist working on his collages between twelve and fourteen hours each day.
At the beginning of his career as an artist, Owczarek used to create traditional collages on paper. Meanwhile, he works exclusively at the computer, as digital collage offers him many more opportunities to articulate his thought processes and perceptions. It also allows him to connect complex elements and reflections and to shape them into a coherent universe. His art consists of photography, painting and traditional collage elements, which he combines with the support of a computer programme called Photoshop.
The essence of his art lies in his attempt to create the passage of time, which will remain contemporary in centuries to come. This is the result of past history, his present observations and, finally, his personal prophecies. He believes that each decade of human history is equally important in order to comprehend the entire process. This is why some themes are essentially universal and will recur as long as this world exists. In the final analysis, Marcin Owczarek believes that art is activism; it should demolish walls as opposed to building them up. As an artist, he describes the feelings and places that other people seek to hide from their fellow men, or simply forget.
By using many symbols intentionally, Marcin Owczarek wishes his art to be interpreted at many levels. In his eyes, the collage is the ideal medium to reflect both human virtues and imperfections.
‘IN SEARCH OF UTOPIA’ AN ESSAY
"A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at".
Throughout history of humanity people of all centuries meditated "Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?". What was at the beginning? Does the perfect world exist?
In 1516 Thomas More published his book called "Utopia" where he described the concept of island with ideal system based on justice, solidarity and equality. Since that time the word "Utopia" express man's longing for a better world, life in harmony and coexistence with other people, animals and nature. The place where rivers flow with milk, lakes are crystal clear, honey seeps from the trees, no thievery or sin is known. There is no hate, no fears or punishments, no judgments. There is no wars, no walls, no weapons are made.There is peace, the land is fertile. There is eternal spring in nature, the climate is mild, it is the time of all abundance and prosperity. Synonyms describing Utopia could be mythical Arcadia known from ancient Greek mythology, The Golden Age or the biblical Garden of Eden (Paradise).
My motivation to create "In Search of Utopia" has many aspects. Firstly, I wanted to stress the fact that nowadays many species of animals are in danger of disappearing and their global population has declined (among others tigers, polar bears, sea turtles, elephants, rhinos). I believe those animals are definitely looking for Utopia where they are respected and could live peacefully. Secondary, the animals pictured in my work are also metaphor of humanity because they symbolize and reflect the human instincts and virtues. Elephant manifests spirit of the forest, old wisdom, connection with all living. Tiger symbolizes willpower, courage, self-confident, bravery and personal strength. Wolf shows guardianship, loyalty, trust in his own instincts, heart and mind, has control over his own life. Fox possess a physical and mental responsiveness that makes him escape even the trickiest situations. Fox can also turn into a teacher providing guidance and finding your way around obstacles. Eagle reveals pure Spirit, connection to the divine because it flies higher than any other bird. Eagle symbolizes the importance of honesty and truthful principles. When eagle appears on the sky, it bestows you with freedom and courage to look ahead. Deer demonstrates spiritual superiority, regeneration, harmony, happiness, longevity. In many legends deer helps men to solve problems. Monkey symbolizes good luck, brings power, grace, curiosity, energy, good health and family protection. Panda shows ability to find a balanced path in life, gentle strength, perseverance, physical and emotional comfort when times are tough. Birds symbolize human soul, ability to fly, inspiration to us to aim higher and reach our goals despite of the obstacles, transformation, freedom and power. When we receive support from our guardian angels they come under the form of birds to transmit the message.
To tell the truth, I believe that by creating art which transmits serious meanings and subjects, artist has the power and influence to force to reflect about ourselves and our planet. Point the attention to significant problems that world currently deals with. In this way my work "In Search of Utopia" refers to creation of better world, "home" and respect for all living creatures. No doubt, nowadays the world needs to face serious problems: plastic pollution, climate change, hunger, wars, animal extinction.. In our hands is the decision if we regards and treat our planet as a place to use and exploit or we prefer to search and by our acts - to build Utopia? in ourselves, in our minds, in this world. The world filled with wisdom, respect, responsiveness, loyalty and trust for us and future generations. Is Utopia only beautiful word, dream place ? or maybe when we as humanity start to search and approach to Utopia physically, spiritually and mentally, this beautiful dream one day become reality ?
Marcin Owczarek 04.02.2020