Karol Su/Ka – born in 1973. Musician, producer, self-taught painter. Active artistically since 1988. Creator of such electronic projects as Arkona, Escape From Warsaw and the electro-punk Street City Nomads. The initiator of the first unauthorised acid rave parties in Poland.

Works:

Uncle Adi, 2012
acrylic on canvas
Teleport 96, 2010
acrylic on canvas
Youth ’88, 1988
gouache, tempera on board

The painting “Youth ’88” is one of the earliest works by Karol Su/Ka, made during his high school years when the artist was forming his first punk bands. It shows a child-partisan with an unnaturally large rifle in his hands, and brings to mind press photos which filter out from the war-torn regions of South America and Africa. The picture reflects an expressive, grainy aesthetic dominated by the punk sensibilities of the 1980s and the pacifism which permeated the art of the time. The topic of war is also present in Su/Ka’s later works, such as “Teleport 96” or “Uncle Adi”. The terrifying personification of evil and violence which emanates from this portrait evokes a quite contemporary terror in light of a return to authoritarian tendencies in global politics.

Genesis, 1995–2007
Tesco Warriors, 2014
oil on canvas

“Tesco Warriors” is an ironic representation of the urban jungle using the maps of contemporary „natives”, whose orientation points are marked by supermarkets. It is an extension of themes present in Su/Ka’s musical work; on the album “Nuclear War Now” by his group Street City Nomads, numbers with titles such as “Hipermarket”, “Shopping macht frei” and “WTF You Need That For?” appear, criticising global capitalism and consumption culture. In “Genesis”, motifs drawn from mass culture (Mickey Mouse, pinup girls) are incorporated into the Biblical narrative of the creation of the world, of death, and of the cosmos.

Colorado Dream, 1996
collage
4 elements, 1994
acrylic on canvas
Unification 1, 1994
Unification 2, 1995
Mandala, 1993
Visit, 1998
Icarus, 2010
acrylic on canvas
Healer, 2014
acrylic on board
courtesy of the artist

In the 1990s, Su/Ka’s painting evolved in a psychedelic direction, featuring fluorescent mandalas, an expression of his fascination with the primal trance energy of techno music. In his paintings, there are motifs associated with Eastern spirituality, and shamanism. The brash, bright colours of his works, designed to be displayed under UV lighting, bring to mind narcotic trips in the setting of underground rave parties.

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