23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023
Portrait Maciej Sienczyk
© Hartwig Klappert

Maciej Sienczyk

The Polish illustrator and comic book author Maciej Sieńczyk was born in 1972. He studied at the Academy of the Fine Arts in Warsaw and is considered an exceptional talent in his genre. He became widely known via his regular comic strips in culture and news magazines such as »Lampa«, »Exklusiv« and »Newsweek«. Using clean lines and big, monochrome fields, Sieńczyk creates an unmistakable imagery. His often two-dimensional figures move through strangely empty-seeming spaces, which appear to merely mimic their realistic ambience. The stories in his comics consist of surreal situations loosely strung together, breaking with traditional narrative patterns as they do not follow the classic story arc; on the contrary, they are characterized by a downright provocative purposelessness: »The points of the (…) stories are surprising because they are completely unsurprising.« (Dwutygodnik)

In 2005 Sieńczyk, whose works had often featured in galleries, published his first comic collection, »Hydriola«. The second volume, »Wrzątkun« (tr: »Boiling Boy«) followed in 2009. It contains 31 fantastical stories with figures like the man whose legs are made of light, and the boy of the title, who can only live in a suit full of boiling water. The author draws on childhood memories and above all on his dreams for inspiration: »I have a piece of paper next to my bed, on which I write down sentences or whole stories, after I dream of something horrible. (…) In the morning I make drawings of them.« The third volume of comics, »Przygody na bezludnej wyspie« (2012; tr: »Adventures on a Lonely Island«) tells of a man who finds the journal of an African explorer behind his bed and follows his adventures. The adventurer is marooned on a mysterious desert island, where a series of curious and at the same time completely inconsequential events occur. The journey into the unknown becomes a parable for modern man’s inability to act, and who fails to alter his behavior in the slightest despite major disasters. In 2013 »Przygody na bezludnej wyspie« became the first comic book ever to be nominated for Poland’s most important literary award, the Nagroda Literacka Nike. Along with his own works, Sieńczyk has illustrated the novels of young Polish writers like Dorota Masłowska, Michał Witkowski and Adam Widemann. In 2012 he did illustrations for the humorous dictionary »Alphabet der polnischen Wunder« (ed.: Stefanie Peter; tr: »Alphabet of Polish Wonders«) – a collection of 130 mini-essays on art, culture, history, politics and everyday life in Poland. Sieńczyk lives and works in Warsaw.



Lampa i Iskra Boża

Warschau, 2005


Lampa i Iskra Boża

Warschau, 2009

Przygody na bezludnej wyspie

Lampa i Iskra Boża

Warschau, 2012