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Teofil Ociepka, Jungle, 1964, oil, canvas



Teofil Ociepka was born in 1891 in Janów, Silesia. He spent the last decade of his life in Bydgoszcz and he died there in 1978. Along with Nikifor, he was the most famous Polish artist of primitivism, a non-professional, self-trained painter, and an inspired theosophist, one of the leaders of the Occult Commune of Janów.

His paintings, inspired by mysticism and occultism, are unique, and ensure him a place in the lexicons of modern art and guarantee him a place in prestigious museums for his works. The pieces by Ociepka are characterised by imaginary invention, symbolism and strong colours. The artist liked subjects related to fantasy and mining folklore. He is widely recognised for his multiple paintings of a mysterious, atmospheric jungle, images of imagined animals and the rich nature of his abundant, green, growing plants.

The “Jungle” composition created with oil paints on canvass is a presentation of a symbolic, visionary and fantastic scene. A forest meadow with multi-coloured flowers is a pasture for two horses with unnaturally long necks. They do not sense the looming danger of a shaggy bear-like beast sneaking to them from the left. There is a line of forest behind the fantastic creatures. The dense trees are striking with their leaves in contrasting colours from fresh green to intensive yellows to red-brown.

Ociepka perceived life as a struggle between good and evil and this concept was reflected in the themes of many of his works and in the consistent use of selected colours. Colours played a symbolic role above all else. The good, calm and friendly aspects of life were represented by light, warm and bright colours, while evil was represented by dark and gloomy pigments. This is why he used dark grey colours, when painting the animal hunting the horses, which are peacefully playing in the lovely, colourful meadow.

The “Jungle” is one of the five works by this artist in the non-professional art collection of Leon Wyczółkowski District Museum in Bydgoszcz. Currently, the piece can be seen at the temporary exhibition “The Country we imagine… Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings by Teofil Ociepka” at the 125th anniversary of the artist’s birth in Spichrze at Grodzka 7-11.

 





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