Dominik Lejman, a major talent among younger Polish contemporary artists, first attracted international attention with his innovative multiple layering of traditional painting (often monochromatic) and video projections. Much of Lejman's recent work is designed to destabilize the viewer's accustomed patterns of perception in such a way as to heighten awareness of our instinctive creation of internal and external "security blankets" that offer an illusory shield against the inescapable realities and dangers of our physical being.
Born in Gdansk in 1969, Dominik Lejman, who completed his advanced studies as a painter at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk and the Royal College of Art in London, has taken part in over 18 solo and 25 group exhibitions in Poland and abroad, including the 2003 Prague Biennale and the 1999 group show, "After the Wall", in Moderna Museet, Stockholm, and the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, and individual exhibitions in Norrtalje Konsthall, Sweden; Capri, Berlin (2002), and "The Luxury of Survival", at Warsaw's Center for Contemporary Art in 2000. Lejman has won numerous fellowships and honors, including the 1st Prize Absolut RCA, Absolut Vodka Competition, Royal College of Art, London in 1994, the Christie's Painting Award in 1995, and the prestigious "Polityka Passport", awarded in 2000 by Poland's leading weekly for his innovative blending of traditional painting with contemporary media technology.
Lejman's exploration of layered imagery combining acrylic on canvas with one or more video projections first made its mark with "Air Bag" in 1998. It is a combination in which the subtle movement within the projected image appears to emanate from the canvas itself, and one's accustomed sense of enjoying a safe distance from an image traditionally frozen in time is disturbed - as is our tendency to forget the protective bubbles we build around ourselves, both as societies and as individuals... which is a major theme in Lejman's work.
In 1999 Lejman took his analysis of our self-protective modes of perception a step further by introducing for the first time an additional layer with live video projection of the viewers themselves, as in "Stealth Painting". An interest in the phenomenon of crowds began with his video-mural "Skiers", presented in Linz, Austria, in 2001. Other techniques and approaches have included public projects like his "Hospital as a Landscape for Little Spectacles', which he created for the Medical Academy Children's Hospital, Warsaw, in 2002, a forerunner of his current installation at Schneider Children's Hospital.
In 2003 Lejman was an Artist-in-Residence under the International Residency Progam at Location One, New York's increasingly renowned art center that serves as a catalyst for the convergence of emerging artistic talent and emerging media technology. During his residency at Location One, Lejman developed a concept of video-murals in which he further explored the theme of protective self-insulation, this time featuring various documentary images of the "lonely crowd", in which the individual faces represent - as Lejman puts it - "individual portable territories - maintaining comfortable interpersonal distances". This theme is related to the new formal idea of video-murals, in which the artist combines the media to give way the classical painting in one of the meanings - that of ornamentation. In "Video Murals - Social Surfaces", Lejman employed direct recordings of crowds and urban gatherings he has filmed. This original footage was then rendered into a purely abstracted form by the artist through the creation of ornamental crowd motifs that are projected on the wall. In Lejman's words, "the structure of the mass ornament is abstract, but is not a mere abstraction. The aesthetic pleasure provided by the statistical tapestries is a form of information anesthesiology. It neutralizes the fact of being the product of a shared destiny and organic life, the function of individual personalities with unique souls". It was in the context of his association with Location One that the not-for-profit corporation RxArt commissioned Dominik Lejman's installation at Schneider Children's Hospital, in which the artist moves from a position of critiquing human self-protectiveness to one of building upon that very need - heightened in the case of ill or injured children - for a humane and therapeutic purpose.
In 2004 he represented Poland at the Venice Biennale of Architecture, where together with architect Jacek Dominiczak he realized a project of self-decomposing architectural facade.
Curriculum Vitae Dominik Lejman
Born: 1969, Gdansk; lives and works in Gdynia, Poland
Education1996 Diploma, Painting Faculty, Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk1993 - 1995 Degree of Master of Arts, Royal College of Art, London1989 - 1993 Painting and Graphics Faculty, State Higher School of Fine Arts in Gdansk
Selected individual (+ two person) Exhibitions2004 Venice Biennale of Architecture, Italy (w/ Jacek Dominiczak)2002 Vital Statistics, Norrtalje Konsthall, Sweden2002 Dominik Lejman, Capri, Berlin2001 "s e x o f f i c e s e x interior design" Baltic Gallery of Contemporary Art, Slupsk, Poland2001 homeworkhome, office spaces, McCann Erickson, Warsaw - private appartment, Sopot, Poland2001 A floor piece, State Gallery of Art, Sopot, Poland2000 The Luxury of Survival, Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw1998 New Paintings, Dominik Lejman - Sally Mowbray, Independent Artists Space, First Floor Gallery Notcutt, London1998 Purgatory (departure lounge), State Art Gallery, Legnica, Poland1998 Open Studio, Gasworks, London1997 Powerpray, Wyspa Gallery, Gdansk, Poland1996 Jim Mooney - Dominik Lejman, objects, photographs, paintings, Kolo Gallery, Gdansk, Poland1996 Recent Works, Harriet Green Gallery, London
Selected Group Exhibitions2003 Prague Biennale, Prague, Czech Republic2004 Anxiety of Influence: Bachelors, Brides and a Family Romance, Stadtgalerie Bern, Switzerland2004 Re:Location 6, Laznia Centre for Contemporary Art, Gdansk2004 Stop&Stor, Luxe Gallery, New York2003 A Decade, Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw2003 Prague Biennale 1, National Gallery, Prague2003 Natural Environment /Contemporary Art for All Children/, Zacheta Gallery, Warsaw2003 Artists-in-Residence, Location One, New York2002 Basic Elements, Rauma Biennale Balticum 02, Rauman Taidemuseo, Finland2002 4 Pokoje, Bunkier Sztuki, Krakow, Poland2001 The Spirit of Work, project by Schrat & REINIGUNGSGESELLSCHAFT, Galerie Olaf Stueber, Berlin2001 Slubice-Gdansk, Anna Baumgart, Katarzyna Jozefowicz, Dominik Lejman, Prowincjonalna Gallery, Slubice, Poland2001 Re:location, OK Centrum für Gegenwartskunst, Linz, Austria2000 Scena 2000, Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw2000 After the Wall, Museum Ludwig, Budapest, Hungary / National Galerie Hamburger Banhoff, Berlin1999 After the Wall, Moderna Museet, Stockholm1999 Spektrum, Ostdeutsche Galerie Museum, Regensburg, Germany1999 Public Relations, Centre of Contemporary Art Laznia, Gdansk, Poland1998 ArtGenda Retro - Junge Kunst aus dem Ostseeraum, Stadtgalerie Kiel, Germany1998 The 7th Triennal of Contemporary Baltic Art, Contemporary Art Center, Vilnius, Lithuania1998 At the Time of Writing, Centre for Contemporary Art Zamek Ujazdowski, Warsaw
Public Projects2004 "Animating Spaces", Schneider Children's Hospital, New York2002 'Hospital as a landscape for little spectacles', Art for the Hospital, Culture 2000, Art dans la Cite, Medical Academy Children's Hospital, ul. Dzialdowska, Warsaw1998 Artgenda 98, The Second Biennial of Young Artists Around Baltic Sea, Kulturhuset, Stockholm1997 The Aspects of Sculpture - simulacra Galeria Wyspa, Gdansk, Poland1996 Harriet Green Gallery, London1995 Five RCA Artists, Paton Gallery, London1995 RCA Students, Mona Bismarck Foundation, Paris1994 Interim Show, Henry Moore Gallery, Royal College of Art, London
Awards & Scholarships2001 Award of City of Gdynia President, Poland2001 "Paszport Polityki", award of the main Polish weekly, Poland2000 6 months bursary of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Warsaw1997 Legnica Wojvod's Award, "Konkrety" Weekly Award, Promocje96, State Art Gallery, Legnica, Poland1995 Christie's Painting Award, London1994 Agnieszka Osiecka Bursary, Warsaw1994 Batory Foundation Bursary, Warsaw1994 1st Prize Absolut RCA, Absolut Vodka Competition, Royal College of Art, London1994 RTZ Bursary, Royal College of Art, London1994 Award of City of Gdynia President, Poland1994 Minton Award, Royal College of Art, London1994 Culture Foundation Award, Warsaw1990 Drawing Award, State Higher School of Fine Arts Gdansk, Poland
Public & Corporate Collections
Christie's Contemporary Art
Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw
Catalogues2002 4 Rooms, Bunkier Sztuki, Krakow, Poland2002 Basic Elements, Rauma Biennale Balticum 02, Rauman Taidemuseo, Finland2002 Art for the Hospital, Culture 2000, Art dans la Cite2001 Dialog 3 Re:Location Poland, O.K Centrum fur Gegenwartskunst, Linz, Germany2000 The Luxury of Survival, Centre for Contemporary Art Zamek Ujazdowski, Warsaw1999 Public Relations, Centre for Contemporary Art Laznia, Gdansk, Poland1999 After the Wall, Moderna Museet, Stockholm1999 Spektrum, Museum Ostdeutsche Galerie, Regensburg, Germany1998 At The Time of Writing, Centre for Contemporary Art Zamek Ujazdowski, Warsaw; for the full text of Szablowski's essay, visit http://csw.art.pl/new/2000/lejman_e.html1998 Dominik Lejman, Purgatorium, State Art Gallery, Legnica, Poland1996 Jim Mooney - Dominik Lejman, Galeria Kolo, Gdansk, Poland