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PH Michal Korta


Mateusz Choróbski works across a multitude of media — he is a director of short films, the author of spatial installations, as well as the creator of site-specific activities in public spaces (e.g. a ‘sky’ over the city). His interventions relate strongly to the nature of encountered space when it comes to the use of on-site construction materials, forms of expression, and the level of resonance on the viewer-installation-location spectrum.

They address the human condition (its fragile and physical aspects) in the context of a broadly understood notion of space, meaning society and the financial system. Since 2018, he’s been working on a series of sculptures made of molten coins updated to account for yearly economic development. The value of coins used by Mateusz corresponds to the definition of poverty.

The total sum of the ‘existence minimum’ comprises the monthly cost of sustenance, housing, clothing, medication, and hygiene. This poverty threshold is the lowest and most disturbing level that allows one to satisfy their basic needs. If the measurement falls below this value, human life is in peril. His annual report on this topic confronts us head-on with this notion, which most of us might have previously perceived as abstract statistics. Mateusz seems especially captivated by human boundaries and taboo subjects.

For instance, his work titled ‘Cream’ (alluding to the song ‘C.R.E.A.M’ by Wu-Tang Clan from 1993) embodies the amount of debt the artist accumulated during the creative process (it consisted of molten coins whose sum was equal to the sum of his debt). Another issue is the aspect of physicality. He uses old radiators, thermoses, street lamps, fuel tanks, door frames, soap, melted cups commonly placed on an ailing patient’s skin to treat illnesses. In his light works, in the dark, the cold glass pane transforms into an organic surface reminiscent of skin tissue with veins running underneath — the light emanating from the fluorescent lamps placed below this surface imbues dead matter with life. What is more, the light is embedded in old, neglected radiators that used to produce heat inside the organism, in other words, the building itself.

Found/rehabilitated/recovered, they pump “fake blood” into these sculptural objects, which can be viewed as post-apocalyptic signs of the bygone human driving force. The human body and architecture are both given equal treatment in the works of Choróbski, who takes the extreme state of their remnants under close scrutiny: extreme deconstruction, poverty, and economic crisis. The decay of once modern architecture or that of the body lying on an anti-pressure sore mattress — these are the recurring motifs of his artistic practice.


Mateusz Choróbski was born in Radomsko, Poland in 1987. He graduated from the University of the Arts in Poznań and the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. He lives and works in Klecza and Warsaw.

Selected individual exhibitions: (AV17) Gallery in Vilnius (2023/2024), Fabbrica del Vapore in Milan (2023), Secci Gallery in Milan (2023), CCA in Opole (2021), Secci Gallery in Florence (2020), Fondazione Nicola del Roscio in Rome (2019), CCA Labirynt in Lublin (2019), Les Bains Douches in Alençon (2017), CCA Kronika in Bytom (2016), the European Biennial of Contemporary Art Manifesta 11 in Zurich (2016), Another Vacant Space in Berlin (2013). 

Selected group exhibitions: Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw (2022), Museo di Palazzo Mocenigo in Venice (2022), RISO Museo d’Arte Contemporanea in Palermo (2021), Le Scalze in Naples (2021), Villa Medici: The French Academy in Rome (2019), Joan Miró Foundation in Barcelona (2017). 

Mateusz Choróbski's works are in public and private collections in Poland, Italy, France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Cream, 2018 melted coins, graphite, variable dimensions. Courtesy by the artist

“The sequence opens with Cream (2018), an acronym for Cash Rules Everything Around Me, a song my the hip-hop group from New York, Wu-Tang Clan. The sculpture consists of molten, grosz coins. The market value of the metallic mold is greater than the nominal one of the copins involved, and the price of the work is equal to the sum of the debts accumulated by the artist in

the moment of its creation. The material obtained presents teself in its original guise: irregular, soft as a creamy mixture, in line with the personal reinterpretation of the procedural poetics by Choroboski. The result is a proteiform outline that the artist divides into two parts, revealing the graphite interior and setting it into dialogue with the surrounding space that, virtually, integrates it in constantly different forms, based on the varying of environmental conditions”.

Pier Paolo Pancotto

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