Not particularly interested in art as a child or teenager, 20 years ago Piotr Bazylko’s unknown love was triggered thanks to photography lessons as a birthday gift from his wife Alina. His photographic skills did not develop, but rather a passion for collecting photography. From there, it was a natural flow, amongst some favourable coincidences to his pursuit of contemporary art.
Today, the collecting life of Piotr Bazylko is not of coincidences, but of conscious choices resulting from limitations – financial, cognitive or time. He collects contemporary art, and is interested in the works of modern artists when a dialogue with contemporary artists can interplay. He further tries to expand the collection with artists external to Poland – about 1/10 positions are international. At first, this expansion was with artists from Central Europe and later on from outside of his part of the world.
Additional to his conscious approach, it is still the case that when Piotr Bazylko discovers a new artist, he becomes completely lost in those new works. The collection however, has naturally now formed a variety of overarching focuses.
The first of these is the “selfie”, or self portraits – an often challenge in figurative painting and at the same time popular for centuries. Today’s self-portrait is no longer the result of simply looking at the artist in the mirror, but artists use themselves, and select fragments of their bodies for example. Selections include Pawel Althamer, Bunny Rogers, Jonathan Monk, Julius Koller, Rafał Bujnowski, Natalia LL or Stano Filko.
The second focus is close to home – Polish art. Works are related to Poland, Polishness, the Polish flag, the eagle or the contour map of Poland. This collection grouping includes works by Paweł Susid, Slavs & Tatars, Michał Budny, Włodzimierz Pawlak, Jerzy Lewczyński and Andrzej Tobis.
The third theme surrounds the tragic history of the 20th and 21st century – totalitarianism and difficult moments locally, also represented by an international society: Ciprian Muresan, Wilhelm Sasnal, Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, Karol Radziszewski, Miriam Cahn, Zbigniew Libera, Catherine Opie, Agata Bogacka and Mykola Ridnyi.
The final focus explores a relationship between music and visual arts. This has a special place for Piotr Bazylko, who further runs a record label, “ArtBazaar Records” with close friend and fellow collector Krzysztof Masiewicz. This came from their project ArtBazaar Blog. Through their label, they release albums of visual arts artists, such as Konrad Smoleński, Wojciech Bąkowski, Piotr Bosacki, Ragnar Kjartansson, Robert Kuśmirowski, Łukasz Jastrubczak, Adam Witkowski and Rose Eken. The collecting pair are also responsible for the new publication “Przewodnik Kolekcjonera Sztuki Najnowszej 2” (Contemporary Art Collector’s Guidebook 2), following the success of their initial book.
In this Collection Feature, we present the Piotr Bazylko Collection for the first time on IC.
For further insight, take a read into Arterritory’s “Conversations With Collectors” with Piotr Bazylko’s recent interview.