No 2 (82) 2010
April - June

Abstractions of the Space

The monographic exhibition of the works by Mieczysław Wiśniewski was held in Toruń to mark the 50th anniversary of his creative effort. Wiśniewski is one of the artists who have developed an original way of expression to visualize the problems he has been interested in.

Tamara Książek

Art historian, she lives and works in Orońsko.

Tamara Książek

The painting by this artist can be characterized with a constructivist roots of geometric forms, a concrete approach to color, light refection and an original manner of a stretcher construction. The latter allows for, intended by the artist, solutions on the canvas surface. The painting by Wiśniewski has been rooted (as he confessed himself) in the theory and practice by Kazimierz Malewicz, cubistic attitude to the space; rejection of Euclidian geometry as the limit for thought and imagination. Thus, he has been developing his statement applying geometric forms reduced to the simplest elements. Originally, the notions of space have been situated in two different areas - the closed Euclidian space and the open Einstein space. These early experiments have resulted in the series entitled Systems and Spherical Systems which contain the new Einstein space being the imagination area, as well as a source of the picture existence and its reality. The light coming from outside, its movement and shadows define pictures form, accentuating the mastery of the palette and spatial relations. A picture becomes a whole composed of color, space and light; while its form sums up all tensions and interrelations between shapes and colors. Further, it is a sum of the means used to paint it.

Implementation of this conceptual program has been feasible due to construction moves he invented, i.e., special stretchers made for every individual picture. A wide wooden slate of the stretcher covers a sort of small scaffolding. Points of the surface, defined in advance, are fixed to the scaffolding. First of all, these measures add to the depth of the composition, while fragments of its space stick out as a spherical areas. At other occasions, crater like hollows and geometric figures show up on the canvas surface. Small slates, separating individual areas, are sometimes fixed on the picture face side. The surface, shaped in this way, is being painted with a number of thin coats till the artist obtains the expected depth and chromatic harmony. The light that appears later reveals a whole spectrum of formal gestures and other phenomena that only exist when lit. The light - whatever its interpreted role in the output by Wiśniewski - has been an immanent component of his art. It activates color impact and creates space and geometric figures in the picture.

The Systems and Spherical Systems series offer the most mature and convincing form of the fully developed artist's concept. The first present uncomplicated systems based on a square, a rectangle, a point and a line. The subsequent feature more and more complex sets of geometric shapes. The shapes, when illuminated, reveal the form that exists and simultaneously does not exist. It shows up in the pictures as the quality that is hard to define, nevertheless it determines the quality of signs. Thus, the form belongs to the zone of meanings. It expresses the tension of the matter or its harmony, marks a free sequence of associations; the more so, since it is constantly changing, as its existence depends upon the light which is a variable medium. Energetic light clusters transfer the form, create new spaces and make colors emanate. The paint, applied by the artist, is no longer dominant. The paint turns into color, and the color becomes space.

The highlighted composition fragments aspire to their own independent existence, while simultaneously they function as the elements of the visual structure of the whole, that is a picture. The light encounters a colorful, relief like surface of the picture, thus these pictures exceed our conventional way of seeing. The construction applied by the artist - leading to the geometric scheme based structure - has developed new qualities of visual message in the art by Wiśniewski.

Mieczysław Wiśniewski, "Pictures, Collages, Assemblages, Spherical Systems", "The Time Signs" Contemporary Art Center, Toruń, December 2009 - January 2010.