No 4 (84) 2010
October - December
OPINIONS

Handmade

Soft, fluffy, nice to touch - these are impressions and feelings brought by fabrics and fibers being the topic of the Material Medium Metaphor Art Festival organized by the Mazovian Culture and Art Center.

Eulalia Domanowska

B. in 1960. Art historian, critic, curator. She publishes texts on contemporary art.

Eulalia Domanowska

THE FESTIVAL HAS BEEN ALREADY HELD FOR THE FIFTH TIME. Formerly it dealt with paper, metal, wood and stone. This time, Leszek Sokoll, the curator, brought the topic of fabric and fibers. The Festival has been divided into several scenes. The first exhibition showed classical works - miniatures from the Mazovian Culture and Art Center collection, batiks by Dorota Wilkosielec and paintings on silk by Adrianna Błaszczyk-Zych. This has been mainly a review of various, traditional weaving techniques, where the matter and its qualities, as well as a whole spectrum of weaves, shapes and hues have been of primary significance. The presentation has been focused on aesthetic features of the fabric. Beautiful, multi colored batiks by Dorota Wilkosielec hung in the windows of the Ostrołęka Town Gallery. These looked like stained-glass incrustations, filling the space with sparkling colorful light. The Warsaw artist composes her batiks out of repeated squares, rectangles and other geometric figures maintained in a bright, flaming palette. She has been fascinated with night city panoramas. She has attempted to render their climate in monumental compositions resembling a well lit modern tower blocks estate, turned more aesthetic by the artist.

One can find similar traits in the pieces by Adrianna Błaszczyk-Zych who additionally has been quite keen on learning various artistic techniques. She has completed trainings in Japanese handmade paper production, amatl paper production, fiber dyeing and painting on silk. The acquired skills have led to interdisciplinary method where she combines various materials and techniques to obtain a coherent, homogenous work. She has broadened her experience traveling around the world; just to mention her four years long stay in Mexico.

Her monumental, abstract compositions offer a colorful, joyful, slightly fairy tale like tribute to the beauty.

The second show has been focused on installations and sculpture objects. Traditionally, workshops

for young artists have been held there. The assumption was to present unique, experimental fabrics, spatial pieces and installations related to the topical fiber. Objects/ cocoons by Eliza Proszczuk have been growing out of the gallery walls. A boat made of felt and leather by Stanisław Andrzejewski - the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts Professor, a master of unconventional approach to the fabric - has been suspended in the space. A plastic, tangled hosepipe installation by Ryszard Ługowski, entitled "An Alchemist's Carpet", has been filled with water to remind about the Heraclitus rule of the world constant changeability. Fabrics seems to be a feminine area of art, mainly pursued by women. The second show, however, featured a number of male artists presenting an innovative way of thinking, while continuing an excellent tradition of the "Polish school of weaving".

The "Destination" object by Andrzejewski can be associated with Scandinavia and a mythical journey. The sculpture by Jan Kucz, made of sewn together unbleached linen pieces, has been quite moving. A bent man's silhouette is accompanied by another figure - a Muse, the Grim Reaper (?) - embracing the sewing man as though to protect or claim him. By the man's side there is a pile of pillows he has just made. Jan Kucz, known for his monumental sculptures in bronze or stone, this time allowed himself for a sense of irony and detached attitude towards art, audiences and himself. He writes in his notes: "An invention of the first needle could be a possible signal of human inclinations for intellectual endeavors. Sewing, as such, is a simple, relaxing,funny, even a bit frivolous act. The act of sewing offers an excellent opportunity for thinking, a great form of therapy for neurotics. I am certainly aware that a needle is not a chisel. And this fact is exciting and intriguing, though with your leave, I still consider myself a sculptor. "

It seems that the most interesting achievements in the area of fabric belong to the artists who have exceeded the medium, being not afraid to experiment and search for new means of expression.

The "3M Art Festival. Fiber", the Ostrołęka Gallery, the "C" Gallery in Ciechanów, the Elector and XX1 Gallery in Warsaw, organized by the Warsaw Mazovian Culture and Art Center, June - November 2010.

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