No 2 (78) 2009
April - June

The Capillary

The Capillaries by Izabela Żółcińska are intrinsically totalizing and simultaneously individual: devouring and expanding, they still remain fragile and subtle.

Magdalena Wicherkiewicz

Art historian, curator, she publishes texts on contemporary art.

Magdalena Wicherkiewicz

THEY COMBINE THE SYSTEMATIC, METHODICAL, SCIENTIFIC AND BIOLOGICAL ASPECTS with a personal calligraphic trail. They carry the potential for constant changeability and growth."The Capillary Drawings" presented on the exhibition at the Simonis Gallery offer merely a fragment, an example of opportunities for the artistic existence of the capillary system. Izabela Żółcińska has redefined - with regard to art's needs - the term borrowed from the world of biology and science. She has discovered the artistic environment for them, checked how the capillaries fit into a drawing, picture or installation. Thin, pinkish red lines of capillaries have been twisted around everyday objects, they have been "hanging down" from a canvas, plexi, even a light switch; and slowly, gradually, with inner determination taking over the surroundings..

They are spreading, manifesting their existence. Potentially infinite, since they contain a possibility to proliferate. Like a rhizome. Like a stream of life. They combine the potency for modular development with unpredictable energy of life. The capillaries. The rhizomes. The vascular system. The tissue.

The capillaries refer to biology, mechanics, hydrology. When one acknowledges the scope of their appearance, feasibilities and characteristics of capillary phenomena, one will wonder how omnipresent they are. We experience them in our bodies, where they determine the blood flow; plants use them for transporting water and nutritious substances from the soil to their upper parts; they are present in pieces of mechanical equipment; finally, they are used to produce intelligent garments of membrane structure. "The ubiquitous" qualities of the capillaries are connected with a sort of hiding the system. Their functioning is vital, though it happens unnoticed. It takes place as though in passing. Subcutaneously. The works by Iza have brought them out. Revealed. She makes them visible with a red, living line. She underlines the links between the inner and the outer. The unity of our internal, pulsating world with the living rhythm of space. The flow of our interrelations. Energetic feedback. The category of the fluidity, as one of the characteristics of the contemporary times, has been an important point of reference and an artistic metaphor in the "Plus Minus" earlier project by Iza Żółcińska."The Capillaries" added a systematic order having the form of the network of vessels. Outlined. The role of drawing is important here.

Further, the capillaries mean subversion. By nature, they violate the rules of physics, first of all, the law of gravity. Paradoxically, "the gap in the system" , their anomalies make them effective. The capillaries take advantage of the reverse flow phenomenon; the features of membranes allow for liquid transportation in upper direction. This is not owed merely to the capillaries order or logic structure, but also to... intelligent communication. Capillary systems "cooperate" and "share responsibilities". They extend empathy. Breaking or damage to one element of the system, one thin vessel, do not cause more serious problems and do not stop the system operation. The remaining, healthy vessels take over the function of the damaged one. Doesn't their organic communication contain the strength and wisdom of the network?...

The pieces by Izabela Żółcińska offer a specific concept of carnality. To be more precise, just the trail of it. Slightly pinkish surface of the pictures, the network of red lines - blood vessels... As though a suggestion that the lively and energetic were not merely human properties. We are a part of an organic system, an element of a constant, living exchange. Possibly, our presence is not marked only with the size of our bodies, it might be expanding unnoticed and connecting us with the world? We have been combined into a whole. We exist due to a network of interrelations. We give and take. In a sustained, life giving flow.

An aesthetic dimension of the works by Iza is worth mentioning: the graphic, decorative and calligraphic aspects of her pictures, objects and installations. The rhizome like spread lines are the basic aesthetic rule organizing her creative efforts. An artistic metaphor revealing and stressing the beauty of the organic and anatomic. Unveiling the beauty of an inner living tissue.

The capillary... biological - aesthetic - ethical rule.

 Izabela Żółcińska, "The Capillary Drawings", Simonis Gallery, Warsaw, October 2008 - January 2009.