11.09.2020 - 30.09.2020 Arts, Events

A Book Is Made Like a Sweater – Bohdan Butenko and the Young Generation of Polish Comic Strip Authors

A Book is Made Like a Sweater is an online exhibition comprising five video books on different aspects of comic strip making – from the initial idea to a complete book. 

The project features the young-generation Polish comic strip authors Agnieszka Piksa, Alicja Pismenko, Jakub Woynarowski and Mikołaj Tkacz, whose work blends tradition with an experimental approach. Their individual formal choices reveal their shared fascination with the drawings of Bohdan Butenko, an iconic Polish illustrator. The leitmotif of this exhibition is his quote “A Book is Made Like a Sweater” – which continues to inspire succeeding generations of comic book artists. 

A project from the Polish Institute in Brussels for the Brussels Comic Strip Festival 2020
In collaboration with the Little Institute of Polish Illustration

Curated by Anna Bargiel 


Featuring the Video-Books:

Bohdan Butenko: A Book Is Made like a Sweater, 2013, video, 5:40 min
The complexities of design in the turbulent times of the Polish People’s Republic (PRL), based on the popular Kwapiszon series, the first Polish photo-comic by the master of the Polish school of illustration.


Mikołaj Tkacz: Where Does This Topic Come From?, 2020, video, 5:36 min
Banality, routine and void as an inexhaustible source of inspiration; based on the comic book The Adventures of Nobody.


Jakub Woynarowski: The Narrative Reduction to Images, 2020, video, 18:23 min
About building a comic book beyond the words and power of images as a shared alphabet. Based on a graphic novel employing motifs from Bruno Schulz’s novels.


Agnieszka Piksa: Words and Images, 2020, video, 11:46min
Language and images come together in a comic strip to pose the question of whether there is any point in writing down our dreams.  Based on the comic book Justice for Aliens.


Alicja Pismenko: Holistic Design, 2020, video, 6:18 min
What is the architecture of the comic strip? A coherent design – from the cover the narrative, and the typography to the image and the form.


About the Authors:

Bohdan Butenko (1931-2019) – one of the most popular Polish illustrators and cartoonists. Approximately 250 titles marked‚ Butenko pinxit’ have come onto the market, many of them abroad. Butenko designed several well-known comic characters, illustrated and designed children’s books of successful writers. His graphics appeared in books by Gustaw Morcinek, Bohumil Hrabal, Hanna Krall and many more. His output also includes posters, typography for popular science books, theatrical and television scenography, magazine layouts, drawings for cartoons, as well as original books, which seamlessly combine pictures and words.

Bohdan Butenko (1931-2019)

Anna Bargiel – educator and curator. Co-initiator of the Little Institute of Polish Illustration. Selected exhibitions: A Book is Made like a Sweater (Bohdan Butenko retrospective exhibition), Bunkier Sztuki, 2013; Snakes, Daggers and Rose Petals (group exhibition of Polish illustration), Bunkier Sztuki, 2016. She lives and works in Cracow, Poland.

Agnieszka Piksa (born 1983) – visual artist, cartoonist, author of comic books, illustrations and murals. In her works, she quotes fiction and science literature, playing with meanings and misunderstandings. She is interested in both traditional narrative and linguistic experiments. Her work was featured during the 31st International Biennial of Contemporary Art in São Paulo.

Alicja Pismenko – artist, illustrator, animator. A graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow (2013). CEEPUS scholarship holder in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. She co-founded the Flying Eye publishing house.

Jakub Woynarowski (born 1982) an artist, designer and independent curator. As an author of graphic novels and art books, including “Dead Season” and “Corpus Delicti”, he investigates the feasibility of applying various forms of visual narration as instruments of theoretical reflection. Interested in the “archaeology of the avant-garde,” he is pointing out similarities between ancient artworks and modern art. He takes up themes associated with post-secularism, posthumanism, institutional criticism and gonzo curating.

Mikołaj Tkacz (born 1991) – illustrator, comic strip author, musician, animator. Founding member of the comic strip collective Maszin. Focusing on the narrative, his works include a range of experimental comic strips, such as Nobody’s Adventures, which depicts a tour of empty rooms; I Was Asleep But I Got Up, a record of the process of falling asleep and getting up; and Almost, based solely on curatorial texts accompanying Polish exhibitions

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