John Krzywokulski


Born in Germany in a refugee camp in 1947, John Krzywokulski came to Australia when he was 3 years old with his Russian mother Alexandra, Polish father Peter and brother Tadek, a family of displaced people. John's life in Australia started at the Bonegilla migrant camp in Northern Victoria.

The family was fortunate enough to be taken in by the Irving sisters who ran the Mount Waverley Riding School, a premier establishment covering all aspects of horsemanship and eventually gaining an international reputation. Life with the Irving sisters enriched the family immensely. Surrounded by beautiful country, animals, art and sculpture, the Krzywokulski family was able to experience a lifestyle and culture presumed impossible for a refugee family at that time.

Throughout John's school life his main interests were art and theatre. His high school art teacher Peter Ralph (Dandenong High School) was a profound influence, with art exhibitions and performing arts becoming regular extra curricular activities which introduced John to the real art world. Following high school, John studied at Caulfield Institue of Technology (now Monash).

During his second year in 1967, he was approached by Sweeney Reed who saw John's work at a student exhibition. At this time Sweeney was directing the gallery Strines, one of the most progressive and avante garde galleries in Melbourne. Sweeney introduced John to the John and Sunday Reed circle at Heide. John K's first ever sale was made to John Reed, John and Sunday's passion for his work sustained a friendship and patronage that lasted until their deaths.

John Reed wrote about John K's work, probably the longest article on a single artist ever written by John Reed. This article was published in Art In Australia with the added coup that John's work was reproduced on the front cover. The Reed collection eventually held over two dozen pieces of John's artwork. However, a large portion of the collection was dispersed prior to their deaths, leaving a core of only nine examples. With the deaths of Sweeney and John and Sunday Reed, an extraordinarily enriching personal, professional and historical era ended.

John K. has continued to pursue his personal visions in relative isolation from the general art world. Difficult to label and associate with any particular contemporary movement; he has remained a maverick. His homage to both the spatial concepts and the enigmatic concepts of Surrealism are clearly evident, but John has extended these into a very personal idiom.

the folio is in chronological order...
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