Salzburg: Katarzyna Swinarska
May 10 - June 17
“Long summer afternoons always remind me of those spent at my grandma’s with my sister in the company of our cousins. I can still feel the smell of sulfur at the time when, hidden amidst old garages, we would strike sparks out of little white flint stones. I can still feel the shiver down my spine and the goose bumps on the nape of my neck, and as I look up, I see a black, velvet glance of the younger cousin who has yet to discover he had been my first love.
Then we ran through a cold landing into an old flat whose layout remains a mystery to me. A maze of rooms, portraits of bumptious knights and niminy-piminy dames in lace and silk dresses, a long dark hallway, huge bright kitchen, the maid’s room behind and there – the linen cupboard holding pre-war editions of teenage novels and fairy tales…
We would kneel down in front of the old wardrobe searching for a book for the evening. I turned the yellow pages of irregular edges and paused for illustrations: winding lines or short markings of black graphics which adorned the old books imprinted my sense of aesthetics. The world has been inhabited by brave princesses in crinolines, wise and evil witches in rags, wild animals, live plants and knights-errant ever since.”
Where lies the core enigma of the creative life and art of Katarzyna Swiniarska? Does the story told reveal all the motives and drives of her art? Is there a chance of regaining the innocence of childhood? Do get carried away. Do disown everything which has been familiar to you; do open your eyes once more but remain on the surface of the painting. Do treat what you see as the essential. Don’t inquire. Don’t search for the hidden. The mystery of Swinarska’s art could be beheld in the realm of the very sensual contact with a painting. Embracing the whole of the “SKIN” exhibition in Sandhofer Gallery, one can see the repetitiveness of motives alongside the unique effect of particular picture. Within the monochromatic scheme of the depiction, there materialises the fragile beauty of female body, insects and plants. Scarcely applied colour strengthens the impressions, making the experience even more sophisticated and sublime.
Somewhat naturally, the subtle cycles of “Biophilia”, “Heart” and “Skin” transfer us into the realm of feelings, emotions and desires. The „Biophilia” series is made of works submitted to nature; strange, occasionally amusing, half-plant, half-animal forms, placing the beholder in the very core of the organic, delicate matter of life. The ”Skin” remains devoted to the sense of touch. The sensuality of the cycle is literally rooted in the surface of the paintings. SKIN – meaning an outfit – a costume, but also a thin boundary between somebody/something and the reality. This thin skin of moths, covered with delicate hairs, trembles and gets numb encountering the outside world…The artist polishing and honing the several applied layers of paint, created haptic works, which add to the desire for the direct contact /tempt /seduce. A heart is a heart, whereas the ‘’Heart” of Swinarska elicits ambiguity. The transparent pictures cut through by the energy of light. The energy liberating a female body. Suspended in space, it acquires the mode of peculiar non-existence by the simultaneous emanation of its presence.
Aiming at revealing the cognitive roots embedded into the art of Katarzyna Swiniarska, we may refer to the origins of knowledge, as defined by the philosophies of empiricism and sensualism wherein experience comes through sensory impulses. The artist’s creative awareness offers us an unusual opportunity for the sensual encounter with art. Do seize the unique chance and immerse into the creative skill of the artistic language in Swiniarska’s works. By carrying away, the images of the paintings will make up a substance which we crave so much and seemingly aspire to, so as to enable us to see, hear and feel more, yet without our sensitivity being mutilated by doctrines/ideas.
Karolina Kliszewska, Katarzyna Swinarska