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//Art for Sale// - Kamila Kowerska

Art for Sale - Kamila Kowerska

MOCAK Boostore is more than just a bookshop full to the brim with publications about contemporary art. It is also a museum shop, in which you can find unique objects made by Polish artists.

Bookshops and museum shops are to be found in the biggest largest and most prestigious museums and galleries of contemporary art all over the world. Aside from books and souvenirs, more and more often they also stock unique objects produced by artists. These are usually signed by the author and are produced as part of a limited run, enabling the public to take home with them ‘a piece of art’ – as have found out the visitors of to New York’s MoOMA-a, Barcelona’s MACB, or Amsterdam’s Stedelijk have found. From this year, also the visitors to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow also have  had a similar opportunity.

Shortly before MOCAK was due to open, a number of young Polish artists, at a special request of the Museum, had agreed to design and, in most cases, personally produce by hand, original objects. You can see the effects results of their work in our bookshop – MOCAK Bookstore. Amongst the authors are some artists who are familiar from many important artistic and cultural events in Poland. Monika Drożyńska has prepared the project Encounter as well as a ‘never-ending’ scarf called Art by the Metre. Justyna Koeke made Tights with Pushed-out Knees as well as the Multi-function Snake Bands. Małgorzata Markiewicz designed original elements pieces of male and female fashion, and Iwona Demko decided to offer support to singletons with her Male Arm. She also made pillows from the Poduszki Cipuszki series as well as dolls called Lala z łałą. Piotr Lutyński produced a number of artistic objects related to a work from the MOCAK Collection. The group Kuku Kuku – the artists Agata Kus and Katarzyna Kukuła – designed Poduszki Cycuszki and Fox Earrings. All these objects, which do have some utilitarian functions, have a great artistic merit. Each one is unique and only available from the bookshop at No 4 Lipowa no. 4 in Krakow.

It is difficult to describe all the artistic objects, which can be found in MOCAK Bookstore. I will try to recount the story behind at least some of them.

Monika Drożyńska’s project Encounter is, in a way, a follow-up to her sound installation Statue (2009). At that time, the artist recorded her own laughter, which was the expression of her helplessness in the face of certain phenomena present in art and culture. The artist was also laughing at herself. The well-known Krakow designer and performer emphasises that she is interested in the process of creation and interaction with people. That is the basis of the project Encounter. What is it about? The artist meets up with a member of the public, records their conversation and selects sounds which appear in-between words. She is particularly interested in laughter. The resultant ‘emotional graph’, made in silver, she attaches to a leather string. Finally, she adds a label with the date of the encounter and with her signature. In this way, a unique necklace is produced. At MOCAK Bookstore you can see the jewellery which was made as a replica of the laughter of the artist herself. You can also listen to the original soundtrack.

Małgorzata Markiewicz was another artist who agreed to prepare something special for the MOCAK audiences. The artist, well-known for employing textiles in her work, designed unique utilitarian objects: bags, dresses and ties. Thanks to their unusual design, they stand out against classical clothes. The bags, signed with ‘MM’, are produced from multicoloured rubbish bags. Using a thick crocheting hook, the artist succeeded in producing very tasteful, feminine accessories. Inside, they are lined with soft wool, agreeable to the touch. The bags are available in various colours and sizes, and each bag is a one-off. Her ‘square dresses’ are extremely popular. Made in the shape of geometric mass, once put on, they shape themselves cunningly around the body, creating an unusual tunic. A number of different versions are available – winter, summer, evening and everyday models. The artist never makes the same design twice – each dress is the one and only. Men will also find something for themselves amongst the projects by Małgorzata Markiewicz. Ties with unusual patterns and striking texture are a must as an elegant finishing touch for any man. And, as in the case of dresses, there will never be another one! Piotr Lutyński, the author of the installation Five Elements, which belongs to the MOCAK Collection, prepared – especially for MOCAK Bookstore – a series of 10 signed objects. As he explains, ‘they are synthetic pictures, closely related to the installation which is in the Museum.’ In producing them, the artist used his trademark honeycomb and other natural elements. The works by the artist which are in our Collection also contain ‘bee’ elements.

Grupa Kuku Kuku also made original objects for MOCAK Bookstore. The Group was founded by a couple of students from the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow: Agata Kus and Katarzyna Kukuła. The Kuku Kuku women often use animal and plant motifs. Their work often takes on board female sexuality and the process of puberty. Fox Earrings by Agata Kus are an example of artistic jewellery made out of real fur, beads and silver. When asked what had given her the idea for the earrings, the artist explained, ‘A woman’s shawl made out of fox fur or a fur coat, perceived as exclusive in the old days, here, has been reduced to a small, contemporary and comical form, which is playing with convention of leading luxury objects, wearing which used to be a stereotypic indicator of status and wealth.’

Poduszki Cycuszki - small, decorated breast-shaped pillows sewn by hand by Katarzyna Kukuła are yet another striking object available. With a smile, the artist comments, ‘They allow one, if only for a moment,  to sate the longing for the mother’s breast, for the care-free and comfortable childhood; for men – they provide at least a partial opportunity to fulfil erotic fantasies.’

These are only some of the artistic objects which you can find at MOCAK. Soon, new surprise items will be on sale in MOCAK Bookstore.


The article is an introduction to a series of talks with the authors of the artistic objects. The artists will comment on the phenomenon of the ‘art industry’ and the process of the redefinition of the recipient of art.