I ask no questions, there are no answers. I ask, it lights.

Piotr Łakomy
I ask no questions, there are no answers. I ask, it lights.


This is the beginning of a painting

A piece of statuary, or a poem,

Or the beginning of a monument.

[…] Watch it closely.

Elizabeth Bishop,

The Monument

The objects of Piotr Łakomy direct our attention to an order which is not exactly aesthetic in the sense that we usually allocate to this term. The dispassionate minimalism of the raw blocs of polystyrene “cut by light” and burned with various substances, or of the canvases mechanically covered with successive layers of iridescent paint does not point to any specific aesthetic order which could be constructed outside the normally perceived frame of things. In fact, the focus is not the finished work of art but the process itself, which in its formal aspect is rigorously maintained as an open-ended activity of producing. What we are dealing with is a manifestation of matter per se, locally treated with all the superficial, or profound modifications by which it is allowed to reveal its inner structure. The relations between the blocs of polystyrene and the techniques that have been used for their distortion are so closely related due to the choice of the materials that they seem to factually remove the boundary between the object and the external modification — i.e. determined by the subject.

These objects are somehow left to use their own resources to explain their nature within the means of their own private language. Speaking through the syntax of small cracks, distortions, lacerations, and ambiguous surfaces (created at times by a thick layer of car paint aptly named “Chameleon”) they are attempting to communicate on the thin edge of our visual capabilities. It seems that Łakomy’s main preoccupation here is a single idea which could be traced throughout all his works: the need to unveil the internal order of objects by confronting them with their materiality. Things create order and structure within their material condition and thus expose themselves to our understanding. All procedures used by Łakomy can be traced to something that Robert Morris described as the “recovery of the manufacturing process.” The shapes, taken by steel-gray Styrofoam blocks under the influence of specialized dyes and high-power industrial lamps are not the result of arbitrary external imposition, but a natural conclusion due to the variations of the original structure of the material. This can be understood as an uncovering of their original tendency to deform according to factors which remain in close correspondence to the medium itself (it should be noted that Styrofoam is produced by a thermal treatment of polystyrene before being subjected to various further modifications in order to obtain the desired forms.)

In conclusion, the nature of Piotr Łakomy’s work evokes a series of questions and requests, which show the transformational possibilities of a material, while at the same time the response of the medium remains open — just as a large portion of the gray block remains open to our eye, revealing its deformed structure through the aperture produced by a burn.