Lemko Jerusalem, or Łemkowskie Jeruzalem, is an art initiative in southeastern Poland (Krakow, Gorlice) that has been capturing for the past thirteen years the trends in the contemporary Lemko art community. Its artists draw from their rich culture and look to the outstanding Lemko/Rusyn artists like Nikifor or Warhol, thus exploring their own cultural identity and opening up the secrets of the Lemko culture to the viewers of their artwork.
One of the 16 artists who are involved with the project this year is Mateusz Budzynski, who earned a degree in painting in 2000 at the Faculty of Painting and Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw. He teaches painting and drawing, and has been exhibiting individually and collectively since 1999. His earlier works show influences as different as iconography, abstract expressionism or pop art. In his recent works he focuses, as he says, on the effects a particular arrangement of objects and figures has in a suggested space, through abstraction, raw forms and colors used sparingly, even on the detriment of a more finished execution. But what are these effects? Emptiness, Silence, Despair are what he tells us directly by their titles. Yet in Illumination we feel irony, with Return there is exposure, and Indenpedent leaves us skeptical about the genuineness of the concept. Budzynski’s artistic dream is to paint one dot on a canvas, but he laughs: “Where the hell would I place that dot?”(1)