Bartłomiej Jarmoliński (born in 1975) is a graduate of the Władysław Strzemiński Academy of Fine Arts in Łódź (he defended his diploma in 2001 in the Studio of Drawing run by Prof. Roma Hałat within the Department of Visual Education). He is one of the most intensively developing contemporary artists from Łódź, who actively participates in Polish cultural life through taking part in contemporary art competitions (Bielsko Autumn in Bielsko-Biała, Art Biennale in Piotrków Trybunalski, the Triennial of Contemporary Polish Painting in Rzeszów). He participated in many group exhibitions in Poland and abroad, the most significant were the projects at the Zero Gallery in Berlin, Kraków House and Tower in Nuremberg, Kolner Haus in Cologne, The Bike Shed in Inverness, Het Strijkijzer in Hague and Inchmore Gallery in Inverness.
Among his Polish exhibitions a few are worth highlighting, for example The Woman of Marble in the Manhattan Gallery, Łódź 2013. In this project he presented his work entitled Gloria Artis which consisted of a photo in large format and a video. The artist presented his own body decorated by a medal which is awarded for outstanding achievements in culture painted onto his chest. He recalled the definition and the criteria according to which the medal is awarded and made reference to the difficult situation of people who work in cultural institutions and artists who often live on the margins. In this performance for camera he washed off the medal and the only thing which remained on his body was a stinging, unpleasant patch, recalling the name of the outstanding award Gloria Artis.
Jarmoliński participated recently in exhibitions at the Otwarta Pracownia Gallery, Kraków, the PGS, Sopot, 2012,Shoot me, Het Strijkijzer, Hague, 2010, 6 jahre Galerie Zero, Berlin, Eve’s rib? Masculine potencies / Zamek Książąt Pomorskich, Szczecin, the Studio Gallery, Warsaw, 2009. He had a many individual shows such as: POProgram 2009, Cooltowi 2010, Santo Subito 2011, MAN- RW 2010 , Saint M 2011, Gdzieś jest lecz nie wiadomo gdzie, świat w którym baśń ta dzieje się [Somewhere there is a world where this fairy tale is happening], 2012, Zderzenia [Contrasts] 2013, Stany skupienia [State of aggregation] 2013. It’s worth mentioning, that Bartek Jarmoliński, as one of few living artists from Łódź who has his biography included in the Great Encyclopaedia of Polish Painting (ed. Ryszard Kluszczynski, 2011).
Starting from the pop-art convention including a poster and hyperrealism, Bartek Jarmoliński began to devise his own language of painterly expression and with which he comments upon and creates a surrounding reality. In his works on canvas, his photographs, objects and videos, he undertakes problems encountered by a 21st century European who functions within world of consumption, the dictatorship of mass-media, the aesthetics of the street, manipulation of human image and the shaken proportions between the spheres of sacrum and profanum. Jarmoliński shows himself with distance and irony – a contemporary artist and contemporary heroes, embroiled in strange dependencies and situations created for the needs of pop culture. He is interested in contemporary saints (the series of paintings Santo Subito, 2008-2012), the public image and social role of an artist (the series of photographs Polish Export, 2009), the blurring of the border between fiction and reality (the series of paintings Impossible, 2012), the problems of sexual identity (series of photographs Confession after hours, 2008-2009), the dependencies and correspondence between art and politics (>i>Conflict as a source of values / Dresses – objects from 2011-2012).
His art touches many issues and is very current, it is an art which poses important and difficult questions which refer to human existence, the national past and future, local identity, values important and universal for contemporary human beings. The decorative style which we find mostly in his paintings is the artist’s response to the aesthetics of mass culture, behind which hide fears, phobias and anxieties well known to all of us. His works expose the system in which many stereotypes in today’s reality are created and how they function – from the attempt to define the notion “man” to the human being who became a product for sale and the consequences which follow. The videos Gloria artis (2013), Reactions (2012), Confessions after hours (2009), Shame (2010) are films in which he performs as the main hero and treats his body as the main tool of expression. These are performances for camera. Occasionally he performs live in front of the public. The most significant are The fact (2012), What do you expect from art? (2011) or Ein Kunstler aus Polen ein gutes produkt (2010).
Bartek Jarmoliński courageously and unceasingly searches for new means of expression through his activities in the area of workshops, in painting and video-performance and through the revisiting problems undertaken. He is not afraid of difficult and controversial themes and is open to a dialogue with the viewer. His series of paintings entitled Intervention / Museum (2013) is an attempt to confront traditional, classic art with avant-garde actions, which directly refer to the urban interventions by Banksy, a contemporary British graffiti artist who passes on his social and political messages to accidental audiences in unexpected public places. Jarmoliński instead of using public spaces chooses the intimate space of the museum, the shrine of art and in this way demythologises roles and the meaning of this institution, and at the same time he wonders what the viewer can take out of his/her visit in the museum. The series has an additional meaning in the context of Jarmoliński’s roots in Łódź, the local avant-garde cult and the activities of the Art Museum.
The series of paintings Organics (2013-2014) is about literally showing what a human being has inside, the internal organs: digestive, cardiovascular system etc. The works are shocking with the bluntness of their form commenting upon the aging of the human organism, and the changes that take place within it, at a time of a cult of youthfulness.