Initial Research Part I: Korolkiewicz, Czapski, Borcz, Stankiewicz, Bruchnalski

A selection of artists found through gallery visits and online research.

Image result for ŁUKASZ KOROLKIEWICZ strefa cienia

I saw this piece in real life whilst visiting the National Gallery in Kraków, I felt drawn to it.

I think what initially and very unconsciously drew me to the painting was its


– the isolation, and dullness of the environment surrounding the white figure of the little girl alongside the white wall and flourishing shrine of Mother Mary.

And also the light coming from above, adding additional marks of white.

To me it communicated a sense of isolation, loss, and damage whilst at the same time conveying hopefulness.

What strikes in this use of symbolism is the connection between


the rust of the metal and the purity of the dress, the internal isolation of the older generation (as shown through the figure peeping through the curtains of the third window) as opposed to the livelihood and openness of the younger generation, which directly tackles the societal issues, indicated by the decaying surroundings.

Could potentially show how the new generation deals with the events of the past.

The second aspect that drew my attention was the technique; although invisible in the photo, Korolkiewicz smooths all his edges and blends contours together, therefore this allows for all the elements to bleed into each other, enabling impurities to come through.

The quality of detail is almost photographic, which is interesting to see considering his use of blending and blurring.

The composition, also seemingly influenced by photography, draws attention to the ground, which is an interesting choice; completely ignoring the sky apart from the ray of sunshine that manage to force themselves into the scene.

“STREFA CIENIA”/”THE SHADOW ZONE” (1988) seems like an adequate title.

Alongside the darkness that already exists in my drawing I could look at the direction of the light source! This is something I have not thought about before but the direction of the light might become a symbolic act or sign. If appearing from above, like here, could indicate hope, a sense of foreboding something in the future, looking forward to something. Whereas other angles like shining the light straight at the object, from our perspective, could be quite intrusive, harsh and investigative.

And obviously looking at how I can appropriately blend contours and edges together.

Image result for józef czapski art

I will definitely look at Czapski in more detail in the future, also considering the fact that he will be the main focus of my dissertation.

He will have a separate post dedicated to him – giving more detail on my recent trip to the Józef Czapski Pavilion in Kraków, which exhibited an extensive collection of his sketchbooks, notes and letters (alongside his paintings obviously!).

So I shall keep this section short!

What draws me to his paintings is perhaps this phenomenological aspect that is very much present; the sense that you are looking at a lived experience – even perhaps re-living it – by capturing movement he evokes the sense that you, as the spectator, are living within that scene. There is a real sense of AUTHENTICITY and RAWNESS in his brushstrokes.

This all comes down to his brushstrokes I guess. Not focusing on unnecessary details, like facial features – he doesn’t play around and faff over getting them perfect – instead he puts his attention towards the figures – what essence can he extract from their presence?

This is something I have been considering for a longer while in my own artwork – and now I feel like I need to re-consider that idea.

While recalling memories [and imagining] the important thing is to not get carried away by unnecessary details – ESPECIALLY when you are putting them on paper in any form!

I find it is often very tempting to want to work into the image, challenging myself by what I can actually remember and to what degree – but I feel like our imaginations can go a bit wild by that stage; creating narratives that perhaps weren’t there in the first place!

So what I need to remember to do is to keep to the basics – especially at first.

Perhaps the element of unconsciously constructing a personalised narrative over time might also be something I look into – but a bit further down in the process – as a means of communicating how one can form their identity, story, history and sense of self simply by piecing together different [elements, information, memories] passed down to us.

Image result for RAFAŁ BORCZ

Not really much to say about this one apart from the fact that I was really drawn to its minimalism aspect, the openness, intensity of negative space, the isolation that it evokes, as well as its simplicity.

Although, I do like the blurriness of the background, the tree lines in the foreground are too refined for my liking.

However, on the other side the minimalist composition does form a poetic [aesthetic, outcome] which is something that could prove to be quite a powerful tool when talking about personal memories?

Allowing for only a few elements to exists in the space.

Beata Stankiewicz, //Jonasz Stern//, from the series //Ten Jews Who Made Poland Famous//, 2018, oil, water marker / canvas, 100 × 70 cm, MOCAK Collection, photo: R. Sosin

The reason I’ve selected this artwork, and artist too I guess, is because of the technique applied; the detailed portrayal of the facial features whist leaving the lower part of the body hanging – metaphorically speaking.

Showing quite polar opposites.

In my own artwork I also want to apply this difference. Allowing for unfinished marks to appear.

Unfinished marks would perhaps become the main lines that I end up using due to the nature of memories and the concept of fleeting.

They allow for TRACES to appear.

And with my layering technique would be quite effective of portraying a FLUX. What could also happen is that through the process of erasing and/or blending I would be able to achieve DISTANCE between the layers, organise them in a space that doesn’t exist despite its real elements. Interesting to think that memories and thoughts do not have a time and space, even though they do.

Obviously, I wouldn’t do fixed elements such as the face here, but it is an interesting concept to think about – playing around with the idea of what is FIXED and what is FLEETING – showing a connection between them.

In my own work, this CONNECTION can be used to represent what STAYS and what GOES – which memories do I keep and why? how do I create my own narrative from them? how do I manipulate them? which memories are maintained as part of my thought repertoire (I guess) and why? why do I focus on them so much, and how are they present in my life? – particularly in my sense of self, identity and nationality.

This idea on its own conveys a lot of movement – conflicting movement – a force – push and pull connection.


Exhibited at the Kraków National Museum.

I can’t remember the last time I was so moved by a piece of artwork; like I literally teared up, and I don’t have a necessarily good explanation or reason as to how that happened.

The piece was displayed on (probably) an A4 piece of paper – on it where 11 tiny individual drawings – all of different shapes and sizes. The drawing collection was accompanied by a magnifying glass.

And although I cannot pin-point one reason to my deep emotional response, I have a feeling it had something to do with the scale of the drawing – some honestly smaller than my fingernail!!

Its petite scale creates great INTIMACY between the drawing and the observer – which is also a reflection of the relationship between the object and its creator – which isn’t something we can say about all art. Here we are both forced and invited (by the magnifying glass) to get close.

I think it would be such an interesting habit to develop in my sketchbook – I could perhaps try both drawing from OBSERVATION and RECALL – but at the moment I’m thinking of my practice and how interesting it would be to draw memories on such a small scale – in my sketchbook – eventually creating a small gallery-like space on a page.

I also like the roughness of the pen marks – they appear quick and raw – and therefore very unique – marks that can evoke living and recording a time and space – and do so effectively.

And because of their scale they do not allow for unnecessary detailing –

just the PRESENCE.



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