No 4 (88) 2011
October - December

The Matter of Sensitivity

The Stefan Szydłowski Gallery in Warsaw has offered well proven names from the beginning of its existence. These have been classics of the Polish - in their majority - painting vanguard.

Zofia Jabłonowska

Art historian and art critic. She publishes texts on contemporary art.

Zofia Jabłonowska

THEY INCLUDE WOJCIECH FANGOR, JAN TARASIN, JAN DOBKOWSKI, RYSZARD WINIARSKI. And lately, Aleksandra Jachtoma. Various shades of thick blues, saturated with light, are an introduction to the exhibition by the artist. These blues remain in two not very large pictures, as a line crossing an orange plain. The exhibition has been further maintained in red palette.

Jachtoma has separated the areas of color - most frequently in a rectangle form, occasionally slightly modified; burnt out, fading at the picture edges, resembling a scarf. These have been closed by means of a border zone of a shade darker than the picture, or contrasting hue. Behind the line, she seems to open the door and take a viewer to the space filled in completely with a pulsating color - totally different, separated from the reality outside the picture. Further, the reality of color introduces one into the contemplation space marked with blue, red, green or orange. Every color and shade carry different meanings; they determine the topic, emotion type, push in the direction indicated by a given hue. They are taking one slowly onto the contemplation level, varying with regard to the choice of color and its vividness. Aleksandra Jachtoma has no favorite colors of her own. She has borrowed from the knowledge and experience of research into the energy they contain. Thus, she has achieved a unique palette of her own, not to be repeated since it depends upon the day, the time devoted to painting, the life stage, the spirits she is in, and sheer fascination with the color just obtained.

The artist entered on her own path expanding painting oriented discoveries. Jachtoma has carefully made her vanguard homework - from Kandinsky and Strzeminsky - as a student she was a friend of Stażewski and Przyboś - through monochromes by Yves Klein and Mark Rothko. From postimpressionistic and textural effects, to gradually simplified forms, as aptly noticed by Bożena Kowalska in her analysis of the work by Jachtoma. Thus, she has come to her own conclusions, her own colors framed with narrow strips of contrasting or supplementing hue; entitled by means of dates: "12.12.2009", "21.11.2001".

She has remained true to the typically vanguard discipline and rigor, or rather a type of idealism in expanding her artistic search. "Color means the materialized sensitivity for me. Thanks to it, I feel fully identified with space, I feel free" - Yves Klein noticed before the exclusive International Klein Bleu. Mark Rothko, another monochromatic trend follower, observed: "If something is worth doing one time, it is worth repeating again, and again, in order to explore it, test it and try, so as to make audience look at it."

These quotations can easily refer to the output by Jachtoma. Color carries multiple meanings for her; the explorative and mystic, as the form that renders an inner content - a choice determined by "an intentional move to touch human soul". The order, strict composition and canvas division let one focus not merely on the color, illuminated in various ways, but on the light itself that marks a point of concentration. The type of contemplation borders on the impact of music - the one right tone, its intensity and strength. This is not the "abstract" painting (if there is any), rather a deeper form of the reality penetration.

And this is still about the search for the core of painting, so as to make the picture that reflects all possibilities offered by the applied means, and becomes an idiopathic, autonomous creation. Was this not exactly the dream of Wassil Kandinsky? The piece of art as "an independent being that grows with the strength of its own foundation"? Certainly, to achieve this one needs to penetrate and constantly expand artistic intuition and keen observation - later permeated with individual experience and emotions.

The stable foundation, that is how Aleksandra Jachtoma seems to understand the base of her art.

Aleksandra Jachtoma, Painting, the Stefan Szydłowski Gallery, Warsaw, September - October 2011.