HS (C) Maciej Urbanek

HS, a stunning piece of contemporary art, scales much of the West wall of St Michael’s. Measuring more than 60 square metre, the artwork is ever changing: it assumes the feel of a watercolour painting or ink wash from close quarters, becoming luminescent and brilliant, as if of silver, on retreat. Exploding in a synergy of overflowing shapes, it casts light and life into the nave. On every inspection, new figures and forms create themselves within complex folds of light and shadow.

The work’s aesthetics points to the Baroque excess and Gothic exuberance, as well as to uncanny forms of science fiction, resulting in the amazing transformation of mundane material into an awe-inspiring visual spectacle. HS is made of humble bin bags that when sculpted, photographed, digitally reflected and reworked, metamorphose into a grand and majestic art piece.

Like the work itself, ‘HS’ is an ambiguous title, abstract yet suggestive. The acronym can be saturated with the multiplicity of content, inviting the audience to offer their own interpretations, from the most holy to the radically profane.

Maciej Urbanek produces works based in photography, but which strongly reference the languages of drawing, painting and sculpture. He is using visual and sensorial excesses, and the mix of subtlety and grandeur in the attempt to reconcile the banality of everyday life with longing for poetry and beauty. He is interested in the area between the figuration and abstraction and strategies of mimicry and camouflage that give the possibilities of originating the new descriptions of the world.

Maciej Urbanek is a visual artist and scholar born in 1979 in Kielce (Holy Cross Mountains), Poland. Graduate of Goldsmiths College and the Royal Academy of Arts where he was awarded the Gold Medal in 2010. He is currently working as a photography tutor at the Royal Academy Schools.