The exhibition features two paintings by the artist. The first, Narrative, was inspired by – and takes the title of – El Greco’s Fabula [fable/allegory] depicting a boy lighting a candle in the company of an ape and a fool. El Greco’s painting is often interpreted as a moralizing warning against the dangers of sustaining the flame of passion or folly. Sobczak’s contemporary interpretation is infused with a psychedelic and grotesque aura and introduces new character archetypes. A monkey, an allegory of hedonism, Herod, and Milo Mazurkiewicz, a trans activist who committed suicide in 2019, are depicted on a stage flanked by heavy red curtains. They emerge from the semi darkness and attempt to light a candle, while part of the stage is already ablaze. Thus, the artist echoes to the philosopher Søren Kierkegaard’s anecdote about a circus: “A fire broke out backstage in a theater. The clown came out to warn the public; they thought it was a joke and applauded...”

Mikołaj Sobczak


(b. 1989) – artist, graduated from Studio of Spatial Activities at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. He was a scholarship holder of the Universität der Künste in Berlin, and since 2015 he has been studying at the Kunstakademie in Münster. His works include paintings, video art, and performances and examine the ways in which politics, and historical policy in particular, influences the fate of marginalized social groups and creates various levels of exclusion.

Rok powstania: 2020
Acrylic, canvas. Courtesy of the artist and Polana Institute.