Jakub Woynarowski is an artist and curator, and a creator of comic books, visual essays, films, and installations. In his works, he combines visual theory and practice. He was born on 18th November 1982 in Stalowa Wola, south-eastern Poland. He lives and works in Kraków. Woynarowski studied at the Faculty of Graphic Arts (he received his diploma from the Animated Film Studio in 2007 under the supervision of Professor Jerzy Kucia) and at the Interdisciplinary Department of Intermedia at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków. He currently teaches at the Department of Narrative Drawing at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków. He has received many awards in the field of comic book illustration and graphic design: Grand Prix at the Com.X competition at Festiwal Myśli Drukowanej in Szczecin in 2006 (the Festival of Printed Thought), Grand Prix at the International Festival of Comics and Games in Łódź (2007), and Grand Prix at the National Competition of Art Catalogues and Albums (2011). In 2014, he was the art director of the Polish Pavilion project at the 14th Biennale of Architecture in Venice (prepared in collaboration with Instytut Architektury).
The most distinctive feature of Woynarowski’s art practice is the way he deals with and presents theoretical reflection by visual means. The artist is an enthusiast of conspiracy theories, according to which there is a secret iconoclastic lodge responsible for the artistic, religious and political revolutions in the history of modern Western culture. Woynarowski seeks inspiration in the iconography of arcane knowledge systems – alchemy and freemasonry, and more specifically, in the alphabetical characters and themes assigned to them. The slight interference into established connotations allows for the playful recombination of the detached components into one unit. He is also fascinated by the quasi-religious phenomena operating outside the official circulation of ideas, which is an important element of their mystery. Whenever Woynarowski searches through the archives, he is looking for images that have – as he calls it – “iconoclastic potential”. To give an example, he points to art works that comprise the motif of a black square which in the arts is primarily attributed to Kazimir Malevich’s avant-garde painting Black Square. Woynarowski detaches this figure from the legacy of avant-garde art by discerning it in paintings executed in earlier epochs, such as Reverse Side of a Painting by Cornelis Gijsbrechts, The Rare And Extraordinary History of Holy Russia by Gustave Doré andThe Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll.