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Gdańsk: Franciszka Themerson
July 12, 2019 - September 13, 2019
The exhibition includes Franciszka Themerson’s paintings and drawings from the 1950s and the 1960s. This was the very period when the form of her paintings, combining figuration and exploration of a painting’s optical space, began to crystallise. Artist’s oil compositions, the narratives of which are drawn from thick texture by means of dynamic line trajectories, are accompanied by works on paper – energetic drawings from the Calligrammes and Traces of Living series. These works make their viewers witness the process of spontaneous shaping of images entailing the changeability of viewpoints and frames of reference.
Some Autobiographical Notes
Franciszka Themerson was accidentally begotten and duly born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1907. She used to draw furiously on every available surface, and, at the appropriate age of three and a half, covered sheets of nice white paper with hordes of angels and chamberpots. Since the age of four she spent summers on the Baltic coast and used her entire time rescuing seaweed from the hands of cruel boys. (She was reminded of these heroic deeds by one of them, a middle-aged pilot of the Polish Squadron operating from London in 1943). At the age of five, the angelic period of chamberpots gone, she developed into Art Nouveau artist filling her drawings with bunches of lilies copied from the Walter Crane book found in her father’s library. This safely over, also measles and scarlet fever, she entered at the age of eleven the Academy of Music in Warsaw and worked the old upright piano to bits. The Bechstein grand she was not allowed to play on, so she used to lie flat under it reading books about Red Indians. When seventeen, she walked out of the Music School and entered the Academy of Fine Arts to study painting. Seven years later she graduated with first price for rather nondescript pictures. At this time she met Stefan Themerson whom she married after having produced with him two avant-garde films. And thus she continued, making films, painting pictures, etc., first in Warsaw, then in Paris, and since 1940 in London. Exhibitions, books, theatre work. A lot of delight and a lot of despair. – The paintings became white.