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Rafal Topolewski

Rafal Topolewski

Rafal Topolewski draws on his personal memories and dreams to forge paintings that appear to exist in a state of semi-consciousness. As such, depictions of faces share a vacant expression, suggestive of a mind not wholly present, and objects are superimposed over one another, in an out-of-joint logic that reproduces the liminal mental state between sleeping and waking. Topolewski explores the boundary between the abstract and the figurative: the combination of awkwardly cropped fragments, together with an atmosphere of muffled interiority, reproduces something of the uncanny way things get mixed up in the hallucinatory quality of dreams.

His work most prominently identifies by its delicate painterly touch, with dry brushwork that produces the quality of a grainy photograph, worn out by time. The works are painted deliberately fuzzy and produce a registration of self-doubt. They resonate with the unsettled feeling of being caught in a moment that doesn’t belong fully to one time or another and bring about the sensation of recalling things half-remembered, or half-forgotten.

The subject matter is drawn from both an archive of personal photographs and external sources, whereafter it is manipulated to serve as a point of departure for the transformation that ensues into something previously unknown. The frequent inclusion of the artist’s own portrait indicates that Topolewski’s practice is concerned with interrogating his own, private psychological space, as he picks at the seams of our collective consciousness, and memories.

Rafal Topolewski (b.1983 Grudziadz, Poland) lives and works in Lisbon. He studied Fine Art at the Royal Academy Schools (London, UK) and at the Manchester Metropolitan University. Recent exhibitions include: 'Slumber', GRIMM, Amsterdam (2024); 'Interludes', Alice Amati, London (2023); ‘In Three-Acts’, Huxley-Parlour, London (2023); ‘Becoming Creature’, Tabula Rasa Gallery, London (2023); ‘Castelet’, Simo Bacar, Lisbon (2022); ‘Corpo e Mente’, curated by Lawrence Van Hagen, Palazzo Barbaro, Venice (2022); ‘If Not, Winter’, Simo Bacar, Lisbon (2022); ‘Nudes and Dudes’, Lundgren Gallery, Mallorca (2020), ‘Isle, Lewis Hammond and Rafal Topolewski’, Smart Objects, Los Angeles (2018);’ Terraforms’, The Concept Space, London (2018); ‘Adolf Menzel’s Foot’, PS Mirabel, Manchester (2017); ‘Fully Awake’, Blip Blip Blip, Leeds (2017); ‘Royal Academy Show’, Royal Academy Schools, London (2016); ‘Premiums’, Royal Academy of Arts, London (2015) amongst others.



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FAD Magazine - 12 November 2023
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