Hidden Capital

“Piotr C. Kowalski (b. 1951) has been a painter for several decades. He has long experience and impressive achievements. He runs the Painting Studio at the University of Arts and Collegium da Vinci in Poznań. His works can be found in the collections of public museums and galleries as well as in the hands of private collectors. However, he still owns most of the paintings he has done. They take up most space of his large studio. About 15% of his works have been sold, mostly in the 1980s, when collectors from Western Europe benefitted from a favourable exchange rate. The fall of communism upset the art market for many years. Art institutions had no funds for purchases. But art was still being made. Like it or not, Piotr as a painter could be described as homo oeconomicus who runs a special form of business activity, self-sponsored by other forms of income. He mostly produces cultural capital as Bourdieu defined it. However, he also produces economic capital in the form of high-risk investment that could one day bring financial profits. (Although, as a gallery owner I know remarks, “Long live dead artists, for they let us live.”) During SURVIVAL we presented several dozen paintings by Piotr, all in the same format – 205 × 60 cm. They are nailed together to make storage and transport easier, and together they form a several-meter-long wall. Fragments of the paintings can be glimpsed through the cracks. The construction made from paintings is a visualisation of a painter’s lifetime of work – despite the economic situation, which is even more telling because we have been running a household together for almost 40 years and treat art as cultural capital.”


photo: Małgorzata Kujda

Our website uses cookies for visitor tracking. Learn about our privacy policy