From Roobens to Pikaso. Let’s Make Some Great Art is Tomasz Broda’s most recent project. Its title is a joking reference to “from … to …” exhibitions of works by great masters, which are held each year all over the world and tempt museum-goers with the names of the most renowned artists. For the past few years, Broda has been making works which refer to the ‘global’ masterpieces and enter into a creative dialogue with them. Instead of the traditional medium of painting, he uses everyday objects, sponges, bottles, tights and cables. Using these items to reconstruct pictures that are icons of art history, he revisits his great predecessors’ oeuvre ‘in his own way.’
He also demonstrates that works by artists who used to be the key players of the avant-garde revolution have now acquired the very same status of masterpieces of global art. He thus subjects Rubens’s and Rembrandt’s canvases to the same transformations as Warhol’s portrait of Marilyn Monroe. Broda emphasises the process of the circulation of images in the contemporary culture, which have lost Benjaminian aura and become a commodity that is reproduced by the millions.
“Pikaso, Rembrant, Roobens, Vangock, Gogwin and Warhall – these are the main characters in an exhibition that showcases artists of global renown who have never before had the chance to stay under one roof. The exhibition is a personal attempt to address an issue that is extremely painful here in Poland. Lacking Picasso’s Guernica, Rembrandt’s Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp, Van Gogh’s Sunflowers or Piero della Francesca’s profile of Federico de Montefeltro, not to mention a whole lot of other priceless treasures that make the walls of the Uffizi, del Prado, the National Gallery, the Louvre or the Zwinger buckle, are we really doomed to suffer from an eternal complex about Western Europe?
The answer is: No! Instead of grumbling about this lack, let’s turn our weakness into a virtue. Let’s substitute Picasso with Pikaso, Rembrandt with Rembrant and Rubens with Roobens. Let’s treat the global art history as an invitation to have fun. ‘In Poland, everybody pretends to be somebody else,’ Mrożek once remarked. Why don’t we build upon this tendency instead of calling it a shameful habit. Let’s use the originals as a springboard to find a new quality. Let’s make some great art.”