Sylwia Makris:
The 7 Virtues

8 May – 31 October 2022

In her second collaboration with the Peter Janssen collection, Sylwia Makris illustrates the seven virtues of Bushidō (武士道, "the way of the warrior") in fourteen imposing scenes on large format canvases. Famous historic events and legends offer the backdrop to this reflection on the moral code of the samurai and invite viewers to contemplate on the blurry lines between myth and reality.
The principles of Bushidō have been orally transmitted over generation and continue to influence contemporary Japanese culture and philosophy. At their core are ideals of loyalty and honour. Seven female and seven male figures were chosen to each represent the virtues of Bushidō in meticulously choreographed photographic compositions with painterly undertones. In her work, Sylwia Makris questions the idealized image of Bushidō by playing with the traditional perception of samurai, creating visual tension between concepts of pride and humility, strength and sensuality, attack and retreat, as well as power and powerlessness.

Sylwia Markis’ artistic practice of extensive digital image editing coupled with the painstaking application of lacquer, pigments, and waxes on the printed canvas, give her works an uncanny materiality, which echoes the very objects of fine traditional Japanese craftmanship depicted.

Armours and objects form the Peter Janssen Collection provide the mystic scenes a link to reality. In order to set-up the scenes accurately Sylwia Makris worked closely with the Samurai Museum Berlin. The artist was particularly fascinated by the opportunity to assign new wearers to these artefacts of bygone times and imbue them with new life.
Sylwia Makris was born in 1973 in Gdynia, Poland and currently lives in Munich. After completing her education at the art college Gdynia Orłowo in Poland, she worked as a sculptor, eventually finding her calling in photography. In her works, Makris combines photography with traditional techniques used in painting and sculpture. Selected exhibitions: Galerie für Gegenwartskunst, Munich; Underdog Gallery, London; Last Rites Gallery, New York, and Plenum, Gdańsk.