Category Archives: Studying Art/ Diary

More or less ‘incognita’?

Well, l cannot avoid this question now -not after almost four years of studying art and over two years of writing the blog with the ‘unknown’ promise in its title… How ‘known’ my land has become – to me and to others who – just due to my appearance within the ‘art-world’ – have been gracing me with their attention and often a friendship in here and in the ‘real’ life?

As l stated introducing the blog, and with some inevitable degree of audacity in all those happy beginnings – this writing of mine has been devoted to an exploration of an ‘unknown’ – ‘Terra lncognita’ of the contemporary art and my own personal expression. So – more or less ‘incognita’? Or – shall l rather ask – have l failed better or worse?

Some of my long-followers may already have an answer and l won’t blame them for that – where has the drive of the ‘old good times’ gone? And – the author’s ability of abandoning the site seems to be the only thing that got ‘better’ with time…

Right – cannot or won’t defend myself here. Not because of my apparently innate self-indulgence which had made this adventure possible at all, but cos – believe it or not – l’ve been trying to display some sort of integrity all the way through. Hence , never this very virtual profile has appeared better (hopefully not ‘worse’) than my actual experience had been-  day to day – enfolding the world as seen by the ‘painter’s’ eyes… Mirroring all the tides of emotions and the intellectual gain, as well as meaningfully keeping silent throughout the toughest bits…

But – to return to the dilemma – is it all more or less known/unknown right now? How do l feel about embarking the ‘professional’ board? These and many other questions need to be  addressed within the next few months in a way that nothing/nobody could have ever been able to teach me to deal with…

Am l afraid? Perhaps more than my sensibility and sentience can admit for the sake of my own well-being. Yet – in all that fear l’m still lucky to have all those beautiful individuals who will stay be me… and l’m still able to write it down in here… how truly and undeservedly lucky one can get…

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Studying Art (20) – some loose thoughts…

Being ‘graduate’… I mean, how ridiculous it feels…

Being ‘graduate’ in Fine Art… I mean, one cannot get it more absurd… There is no ‘graduating’ from art, unless one can ‘graduate’ in ‘being a human being’…

Having first show, first chat with a journalist, first reviews from the public – at once one’s is able to see what art is really for – I met with those attentive eyes… hungry for any sort of a thoughtful, emotional expression from another human creature…. ‘C’mon – show me a bit of yourself, prove that there is still that thing called ‘a soul’ in us, let me witness your humanity here and now, whatever’…

Looking back at past months without a shadow of any sentiment – I mean, only my innate stubbornness kept me digging in that hell… Guess, that meant I really had started to ‘study’ and ‘make’ art… Only guessing…

Getting really cross with myself due to my perfect failure to prevent my private life from taking over my studio work during the last year. How it calls to be called – a lack of ‘professionalism’, or rather opposite – daring attempt to ‘master’ human condition despite of all odds, or maybe – just the natural event in one’s life?…

Naturally observing art-life around and having those ‘improper’ yet intense thoughts, that art is not and is never going to be for everyone, just forget all that ‘democratic’ rubbish and populists’ talks… Classical music is not for everyone, hard-rock is not for everyone, learning Chinese is not for everyone and even driving cannot be mastered or even tolerated by some people… Some are driven by irresistible forces, some only let to be guided, sometimes only by one’s vanity or greed. Ethos of an artist needs to be re-established, made clear to all and supported at all costs. Otherwise, we don’t have ‘art’, we don’t have ‘artists’ any more – we have ‘art-world’, ‘occupation’, ‘business’, ‘creativity’; we have ‘professionals’, ‘graduates’, ‘MFAs’ and all sorts of folks having no idea whatsoever, how bl…y serious game they involved themselves in…

One needs a break even, or – especially – from the things one puts no price on, simply cos there can’t be any price… things one would die for, if needed… A step back instead of grabbing and gaining even more control, just letting go… I excelled in making things more complex that they probably are, now – I have to learn, by ‘letting go’, how to make simple choices and obvious statements.

Having tendency to ‘over-intelectualize’ my work, and  that’s surprising considering that I’ve started as a completely intuitive painter. Now, I build an entire elaborated construction of theories in order to touch the canvas with a brush. I guess, it’s a protective mechanism (as a shrink would say) – use your head when using your heart and instincts feels like a torture…

Keeping on exploring links between science and art – funny, how the questions and problems of both echo each other, not to mention that it all seems to generate from the major philosophical systems of the past and present. Everything is so deliciously cross-feeding and inter-depending that it seems crazy to chop up human culture on so many ‘self-sufficient’ institutionally defined parts.

Preparing for a hot summer in the Middle and East-Europe. Wishing you all fruitful escapades for fun, meaning and maybe some inspiration as well!


Studying Art (19) – Recent Work

On this Work (Artist’s Statement)

What do we know about the universe and how do we know it? How does nature maintain its order and beauty being a maze of random matter and forces? What is the origin of life and what is its essence?

This work bridges my theoretical interests in science and philosophy with the practical challenge of the visual studies. The paintings have evolved in a long process of a natural selection by obliterating ‘weaker’ expressions in order to form integrated entities.
These ‘survivors’ are endowed with a definite, yet fragile presence of organic creatures.

Structured complexity and ordered randomness of nature becomes an epitome of the creative process. Art is asked to take a part in the universal quest to address the questions, which everything starts with…

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Creature (Ego), oil/mixed media on board

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Creature (Ego),  details

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Creature (Albus), oil/mixed media on canvas

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Creature (Albus), details

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Creature (Silva phallum), acrylic/oil/mixed media on paper

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Creature (Digitus), acrylic/oil/mixed media on paper

More images: My Work – May 2009

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This work is a challenge in itself – challenge to be accepted just as it enfolds for its own ‘maker’… The paintings are, at the same time, a sort of a pleasant surprise and a disappointment for me (don’t ask how is it possible, don’t know). They are like shadows of those images, that I didn’t manage to extract from my mind, my imagination and my experience in order to ‘write them down’ on the canvas. Yet, they also have an expanding quality – as a concept/intent they may possess just enough energy and potential to act against the contracting forces, to survive and – time will tell – to develop in the future…

I like their frail and complex tissue of appearance, I dislike their  elaborateness, which I’m tempted to name as ‘redundant’… I cannot help thinking that nature would make ten perfectly functioning organisms out of one of mine, nature doesn’t know what the indulgent expression is… Do I make things more complicated that they actually are… or – perhaps – it’s a valid approach, when one has the very first date with those puzzling scientific and philosophical questions from above?…


Studying Art (18) – Getting over it…

What a year it was… I mean – not easy one… In fact – bl…y difficult…

Studying art is a bit like diving in Le Grand Bleu… further down, the less light and more dense matter… Waters around get less inviting, more frightening and yet – strangely captivating, with that pulsating, magnetic force, which commands you to continue, in moments against your self-preservation instincts and despite of all…

It became a sort of my habit to use this web-space to express my gratitude to everyone involved (voluntary or by an accident) into my studying and ‘getting over’ it… It’s been always my ambition to present this site – its research and its ethos as a natural extension of everything, what had happened to preoccupy me in my ‘actual’ studio. I wanted it to be a virtual companion of my ‘real’ studies in ‘real’ life – yet, it came out as a sort of a separate project, fairly independent and inspiring – must say… What I only regret is that a real, stimulating link between ‘Terra Incognita’ online and the ‘unknown land’ in my studio has failed to be established… I mean, my work was either behind or ahead of my writing here, often pulling in directions, I couldn’t find the words for; or (even worse) – trying to ‘show’ the abstract thoughts and complex ideas expressed here. Also, I’ve chosen a low-key profile sharing this site with few… well, not very generous of me…

Generally, in this very moment, when my time as an ‘undergraduate’ is heading quickly to the end, I would strongly recommend to any art student to have his/her ‘grassroots movement’ online – to establish and take time in developing a site, a club, a gallery… a space, which is infinite and incredibly enriching, which gives freedom of expression and a great training in responsibility/persistence… Besides, where else you could tease your tutors publicly or discuss your view on art with visitors from the US, Trinidad/Tobago or Tbilisi at the same time?

Yes, that was a confusing year… I can’t remember the last time, when I was that intensely and unsettlingly aware, that carrying on the way I’d chosen would have cost me much more than the lost appetite or the minor melancholic headache… Omnipresent futility and fragility of life in its countless scenes unfolded with its cruel arbitrariness. An admirer of Shakespeare couldn’t help to tease his master: ‘where – on Earth – did you get your sense of drama from?… You’re a great charmer and a liar, nothing more… There is nothing truly dramatic or spectacular in one’s world going to pieces… Just a quiet surprise, being repeated as a mantra: ‘was it really so frail?… I used to think it will go on for ever…'”

Anyway… getting over it, emerging, transcending…

My traditionally big and sincere THANKS to you all guys – online and offline, accidental and doomed to meet me everyday – for your presence, your patience, your time, your support… it’s been simply priceless and won’t be forgotten, not easily anyway…

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Studying Art (17) – Why do you paint?

I’ve been challenged with this innocent question recently, and though I came up with an immediate answer at that moment ‘of truth’, I still keep pondering over it now, as if looking for a deeper, fuller view…

Why do you paint? Why do I paint?

My photographs say most of what I want to convey, my writing could explain the rest… I enjoy constructing installations, and I’ve got a truly creative time exploring all the new media available… Yet, I’ve been coming back to painting like a prodigal son, despite,  or – perhaps – because of everything, that has been given and taken away from me, due to my pursuit of this particular way… That ‘everything’, which I find almost beyond any description…

I remember being praised for that ‘loyalty’ to the medium, and my answer – quick, almost sub-conscious, was:
– Well, we cannot escape ourselves, can we?…
And then I added:
– In forty years time, I will probably still be painting…

Strange, how sure I was about it at that time, having only few studies in paint executed and still being largely ignorant about the most basic things…

I’m far from crafting any cryptic messages about the mystical connections between a painter and his materials, between his psyche and that angelic ‘monster’ – the painting, which always proves to be stronger than its creator… There is something true about it and those, who paint can grasp it… Yet, there is much more…

Painting has got that power to create, and abolish, entire worlds… just now… And the responsibility for that is a part of an adventure… Just like the all  pain involved into it…

That was my ‘raw’,  intuitive answer to the title-question. I meant by that, that each time I take a paint-loaded brush to live a mark on canvas I’m in a charge of an universe, which is out there, waiting to be created in me, and – through me – in an artwork…

It can take a minute or years; it can cost nothing or life and health; it can result in generation-changing discoveries and it may end up in a private despair only… Yet – there is that creative, never-ending, always profound challenge no other artistic medium, I know, can offer to a searching mind and courageous spirit… The challenge to capture the essence of life and death, humanity and divinity, what has ever existed and what is possible yet…

Painting is my Theory of Everything – it aims at explaining and linking all the matter of my consciousness (and unconscious) into an independent, evocative system – a Cosmos taming and denying Chaos .

Painting is the projection of my humanity, it’s a story of a human being… No other medium (except maybe music) appears to be so close to the human nervous system – I paint with my nerves, I paint with my blood and cells… I paint as a living being – living organism to create another living organisms – self-sufficient microcosms.

I paint to save and to be saved…

And you – Why do YOU paint?

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Studying art (16) -Humility

It will sound like a pure didacticism, yet – this appears to be the new discovery of mine: art is one of the best teachers of humility one can find.

I’ve been going through stages of naive, dreamy escapism, of unconditional passion, of playing tricks and games; I’ve used artistic means to express how much I care about and adore human world and how deeply negative, even nihilistic  about it I may become… I’ve got mesmerizing and intimate moments of a discovery, metamorphosis and truly painful bits of going astray…

And I’ve experienced months passing like weeks and those weeks making me older like one would got in years; childlike and often purely vain self-importance has been interweaving with the periods of self-abuse and self-denial…I made great plans and watched them going to pieces in one small push of fate; I hoped and got disappointed; I gave hope and let others down… My entire worldview and personal identity has been challenged dozens of times and I’ve never felt so powerful and so meaningless in my whole life…

And that’s all because of one decision made over three years ago – to study/make art – decision being continuously and not without a struggle refreshed almost each day…

Yes, art can be and is a severe yet quite compelling mentor and a guide – it knows no masters, truths, rules or logic beyond its own ones; it crowns with immortality and it devours without a blink of an eye.

This period of my study – final months of going towards the first degree in fine art is the time of humility and humiliation – I’m being put down by my own work, simply because it reads me perfectly – that neither my head or my heart are in charge as they should have been… So I’m producing substitutes, broken cups – useless right from the beginning, still-born paintings which I desperately try to revive and the ‘display’ work – to convince myself (yet not my tutors) that I’m in a good shape… I’m not prepared for a defeat yet, I’m not prepared to paint bad paintings, to be rejected and to admit my impotency, the limits of my imagination and mental capability; I’m unable to accept any help and to give much more than is expected of me…

And that’s why I’m not ready to be an artist yet… I may become a graduate in art, I will not become a painter… Unless I will find a way to cease to be – me myself – the biggest obstacle and enemy of my own work.


Integrity and disintegration… (Whilt 18)

From time to time, and recently quite often, I catch myself as being innocently and profoundly ignorant as to the meaning of some concepts, ideas, words, phrases… It’s got something to do with the English as an adopted language; even if it’s used completely naturally and fluently – there is always that surreal quality of putting on a mask, a costume, going on stage each time I have to or choose to communicate in not-my-mother-tongue… What’s interesting, that after years of being cut of the sophisticated, literary and everyday usage of Polish I’ve lost that absolute ‘feeling’, that innate sense of my first language… So, I’m somewhere between; and even craving – I’m not able to create a decent fiction or poems in either of codes of expression… not yet, not without a considerable struggle, at least…

So, I’ve come across that concept of the artistic integrity – first I had to check in five different dictionaries (of three languages) extended definitions of the notion; each one had a slightly varying shade of meaning attached; so I felt like juggling between them composing the balanced outlook…

Then – the tougher bit came when I asked myself – But what exactly does it mean – to be an artist of integrity? Does it mean the same as being the man of integrity, or – can the professional integrity coexist with the personal disintegration and vice-versa? Is integrity ‘merely’ a virtue you possess or not like courage or modesty, or rather a fundamental component of any individual, without which a serious trouble creeps into your life?… And  how this noble talk relates to the contemporary postmodern ethics (or rather non-ethics) of making/dealing with art? Who has, who can afford now to keep his/hers artistic integrity over time, when sometimes one call from a hated curator or a critic you disregard may be a life changing event? And so on, and so on…

Quite recently I’ve unwillingly provoked one of my tutors (calling my new paintings ‘a mess’) to form and challenge me with ‘the tough question’: If you won’t have an integrity with your work – who else will? To have an integrity with one’s work – that means to be unified in terms of the intent, concepts and the general message; or does it? If I call my own work ‘a mess’ – publicly and honestly – isn’t that enough to prove my solidarity with it? My demanding, yet compassionate unity with a piece of art which happens to be as confused as its author? Does it always have to sound ‘assertive’ and ‘confident’; ‘positive’ and ‘grand’ – like in salesmen’ slimy talk where even obvious downsides are clothed in sweetish-easy ‘solutions’…

And why is ‘integrity’ such a sought feature in an artist after all? I bet it suits perfectly some particular ‘breeds’ of professions – lawyers, doctors, teachers, intellectuals – sure… I know men who are a book-like example of the whole phenomenon – they’re noble and loyal, creative and open-minded; yet there is something vital missing in them – a spark of imagination empowering to jump in the dark, to take bold risks and challenge barriers or even rules, if necessary; they’re the guardians of the gates – and no artist should aim at that domain (not only, not merely, not predominantly).

An artist is a man of integrity chiefly via the creative act – by doing what he was born for – in the best, most dedicated way he/she knows and can apply; what comes to the world from that act is another matter – yet so-called integrity has nothing, or little to do with that.

If my work’s integrity comes from its conscious and chosen disintegration and subversion who can prove it wrong, and on which grounds?

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