Guest of honour. Józef Wilkoń

…Since the beginning, Józef Wilkoń created an enclave of joy. Consciously, in opposition to the majority. After completing his studies in History of Art and Painting, he chose illustration, a fantastical and poetic reality. He found shelter in illustration like the bird inside the kangaroo’s pouch that you will see at the Exhibition! Every now and then he peeked outside to look around and see what was happening but, as time went on, he became less and less interested in reality as opposed to art, and preferred to observe the environment around him: nature, the world of animals. His observations became the source of wonderful illustrations. And then, at a certain point, he distanced himself from a technique he had mastered perfectly and he abandoned himself to adventure. With wood or with a zinc-plated or copper sheet the artist was able to create the same world that, up until that moment, was confined to the flat surface of paper. This is his world: different from any other world.

Andrzej Matynia, from the catalogue Zwierzyniec Wilkonia


Illustration by Józef Wilkoń, from Don Kichote, Fundacja Chain (detail)

Józef Wilkoń was born in 1930 in the village of Bogucice (Poland). After studying in Krakow, he focussed his creative efforts on illustration, with a versatility that encouraged him to explore various styles, such as ink and watercolour, fresco and sculpture. Author of more than 200 books that have been translated all over the world, he was one of Zavřel’s closest travelling companions. On the occasion of Le immagini della fantasia there will be a publication in Italian of The adventures of Don Quixote (Ronzinante e don Chisciotte, De Bastiani Editore) and a reprinting of Leopanther, a simple love story (Bohem Press Italia).