Tomasz Kawiak, pseudonym TOMEK, was born in 1943 in Lublin. He is one of the most characteristic artists of his generation. He graduated from painting and interior design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, obtaining his diploma in 1968. After moving to Paris in 1971–1974, he continued his studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. For several years (1977–1990) he was a professor at the Art Institute in the French city of Orleans.
Tomasz Kawiak is best known for his original artistic activities, e.g. “Bricking the world” (Briquetage), which consisted in leaving bricks of baked clay in the places he visited in different countries of the world.
As the artist himself recalls: “(…) when in 1976 in France I made the first Brick made of ceramic clay, bearing my name, I knew that it was my first “stone” to mark my artistic path. I started systematic travels around the world with her. Its form was constant, but the color of the clay and enamel changed depending on the place of its implementation and baking. I have produced thousands of Bricks with traces of my name or additional words specifying the purpose and place of their marking. From this a series of actions “Bricking the world” was created. Over 200 records of “Brickwork” made in various corners of the world have been deposited in the World Archives “Brickwork”. When, years later, I began to exhibit their traces, e.g. in the Lublin Museum in Lublin or Bunkier Sztuki in Krakow, someone once wrote: “Kawiak, like a cuckoo, throws its bricks to the nests of our civilization all over the world!” It is very true and seasoned with a sense of humor (…)”.
Tomasz Kawiak is also the author of monumental sculptures about jeans and pockets. Critics called him the chronicler of the 20th century. Since 1997, the executor of the “Long March of Jeans” project, which consists in burying 369 ceramic figurines of jeans in China, which, made in nine designs and varying in height, become a symbol of the triumphal procession of the most popular uniform of the 20th and 21st centuries. He has been exhibiting since 1970, and his works are in numerous public and private collections around the world: in Europe, USA, South America, Japan, China, Australia and Morocco.