How nice it would be if we could only get through into Looking-glass House! I’m sure it’s got, oh! such beautiful things in it! …Let’s pretend the glass has got all soft like gauze, so that we can get through. Why, it’s turning into a sort of mist now, I declare! (Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass)
“Ohne Titel (Augen im Spiegel)” [Untitled (Eyes in Mirror)] is a work by Michał Budny which was shown in “Winter,” his first exhibition in the Galerie nächst St. Stephan in 2008. It is a two-dimensional wall object with two circular blotches of black acrylic on raw cardboard. Unlike the title suggests, the work is not about reflexive recognition, but about two blind spots. It is not a spatial duplication, but a kind of visual disturbance. It is a mistake that is not a defect, but which rather opens up a new fluid space on an even plane. Fluid in its materiality and its two- and three-dimensionality, it is a world where temporal and spatial order has shifted.
Since that time, Budny’s works have tested the possibilities of this shifted world that resembles an emotional landscape, a clouded mirror, or a faded portrait — a world in which time and space unfurls backwards in the mirror’s reflection and which hints at traces of something that has passed in the future. The cardboard, transparent foil, and tape he uses are deliberately chosen poor materials which, from the beginning, give way to transience and external forces.
Budny’s mirrors are not shiny, smooth surfaces reflecting precise images; they enable new possibilities of perception, fleeting moments of lucency, and precarious processes of sensation. They pose as flat pictures or spatial installations and can incorporate changes in light and shadow. His masterly handling of cardboard, scissors, and acrylic, which produced objects of seemingly minimalist perfection in the past, is replaced by an experimentation with and questioning of sculpture and its consistency. These new objects resemble constructions that are precisely and methodically left unfinished and halfway. They no longer claim to be factitious sculptural bodies, but rather employ all their poetry and fragility to highlight these bodies’ development – their potential and contingency in space and time.
Michał Budny was invited to participate in “Bodycheck,” the 10th Small Sculpture Triennial in Fellbach, Germany, in 2007, and the Manifesta 7 in Trentino, Italy, in 2008. His solo exhibition in South London Gallery in 2010 has also attracted much media attention, and his works will be shown in a solo exhibition in the Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen in Düsseldorf and the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart in 2011.