Jurek was born October 19th, 1956 in the Polish city of Elblag, located in a region of the Baltic that saw the birth of Kant and Copernic.
His parents (Polish father and Russian mother) met at the opening of the doors of the concentration camp of Regensburg in 1945. They were well off, and able to guarantee him at his young age, in addition to regular studies in the Technical Institute, also enrollment in the painting and design courses of Prof. Polakowski in Plock in 1972, and then at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw under Prof. Betley.
I grew up with the wind, salt and cold of the Baltic Sea, which in its greyness apparently has nothing attractive, but for me, it is a sea of immense wealth, art, philosophy, spirituality and mysticism.
The two Homelands
In 1975 he moved to Italy, where he studied painting under the expert guidance of masters such as Domenico Purificato and Raffaele De Grada at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts
Returned to Poland in 1979, he started working as a dissident political cartoonist, collaborating with Solidarnosc through self-produced publications under the pseudonym of Pierrot and becoming the manager of the Union’s posters. At the same time, he taught art education and worked as a designer.
At the age of 26, during the coup of Gen. Jaruzelski, he was arrested and imprisoned in the police station of Plock, where he spent a year under conditions which lead him to weigh 45 kg before he was expelled with the passport without any right to come back ever.
Jurek chose to return to Italy, where he finally resumed his interrupted artistic life.
In the ’80s he had the opportunity to restore the frescoes of the church of Saints Protaso and Gervaso and the chapel of PIME in Milan, then the Via Crucis of Osio Sotto.
His desire to create pushes him to open a restoration workshop of antique furniture in Monza, where he put to good use his vast baggage of arts and techniques, mixing painting, poetry, sculpture and glottology.
In 2002 he embarked on a new path in which he gave to others the different forms of artistic expression he developed and did so by opening the Bioforme cultural association, a carpentry workshop where he practices as a master of Applied Arts.
Perhaps to remember Plock’s fraternal youth friend, Marek, the first students of the courses were blind artisans and the inmates of the Opera prison, which Jurek guided in creating furniture-sculptures.
Today Bioforme, under the guidance of the master Sztekiel is a place where, who wants to cultivate his own artistic talent, can attend courses in carpentry, sculpture and painting. Those who want to meet artists or live performers can attend events that the association organises such as exhibitions and shows.
It is a place for meeting, sharing and practising with the passion for the arts.
Jurek Sztekiel has exhibited his works since 1974 in collective and personal exhibitions in Poland, Switzerland, Germany (1980-81 at the UNICum and Des Arts in Dusseldorf), France (2011 at La Galerie in Eze in the province of Nice) and Italy, where they were able to appreciate in 2009 at the Blanchaert gallery and in 2012 at the Ostrakon Gallery in Milan. Works by the master Sztekiel are in several private collections, including the Civic Collection of Design in Salò.