Images of Identity – More Information

3D Blue Point Art Gallery, PUNO London

18.12.2020 – 18.02.2020
Curators: Krzysztof Gil, Justyna Gorzkowicz

Participating Artists:

➤ NATALIA KOPYTKO
➤ MAŁGORZATA WIELEK-MANDRELA
➤ KRZYSZTOF GIL
➤ KRZYSZTOF MARCHLAK
➤ ŁUKASZ MURZYN

ABOUT THE ARTISTIC CONCEPT

  NATALIA KOPYTKO
An image of an identity built from memories

Unreal Places is based on memories of the past that haunts the present. In the object, I used red clay, which I dug from a deposit in the town where I come from. After the war, the “Kamionka” pottery factory was established in Łysa Góra, my grandfather was its co-founder. The grandfather’s house was  made of Łysogorska clay, it grew out of the ground and its roots went deep into the red clay. The material from which the building is made is of the same matter on which it stands, comes from the same space as it is, just like tribal houses, which are built from the same earth, under the same sky, in the same space where people live . The clay needed to build the shelter dried up under the same sun that its inhabitants used to warm up.

(…) From my childhood I remember the wooden, high stairs to the attic, the smell and dust that floated up with every step. From the first day, when I entered my grandparents’ house years later, I went out to the attic every day. When I went there for the first time, I didn’t notice anything. It seemed as if everything was covered with a thick layer of soot, black sticky slurry, dust and the sweet smell of the excrements of small rodents that used the space during people’s absence floated everywhere. There is no electricity in the attic, there is eternal darkness, for a few hours at noon the light breaks through small, dusty windows. Every day I would go out on high wooden stairs, open squeaky heavy doors, cross the threshold and enter a different world, a world that was in a way “dried out”, fake. Overnight I noticed something new, valuable objects hidden somewhere in the shade, in a corner, covered with soot, dust or an old sheepskin protecting me from winter frost or summer heat. They still lasted there, maybe because they dried up, frozen in motion in another dimension. (…)
Trans. Juan Valencia

MAŁGORZATA WIELEK-MANDRELA
 Image of Identity Through a Creative Act

The inspiration can be anything, it is just an impulse, a motive, a theme that has creative potential. An inconspicuous detail can be the whole point. The inspiration is incalculable and seductive, it often leads astray, that needs to be tamed or mastered, to blow up part of the terrain to discover these vast depths and finally come out whole. It is sometimes a dwarfing and risky action, but the temptation of adventure is so strong that it draws you into the unknown. These tricks encourage the search for the other depths, to reformulate or give meaning or interpret a certain area of reality. Here, the sacrum mixes with profanum, grotesque with seriousness, crying with laughter.
The general composition clarifies itself without detailed assumptions and plan, most of it happens on the way. It’s like an excursion, where it’s difficult to expect a concrete effect, on all life, spontaneously. This process is the most perfect state when an artist, like a transmitter, connects dark regions with the perfect form of good. All this happens in the tact of music, the motor and tool of trance. It gives rhythm and direction, which co-creates worlds.
Trans. Juan Valencia

KRZYSZTOF GIL
Dual Identity Image

For a long time I have wondered, what really inspires me in the Roma world. I am a Gypsy, so it is natural that the culture, the Roma world, the family, the people I know are “stigmatized” by my work. I believe that in every artist’s work, the environment determines to a large extent perception of the world, which leads to the formation of creative identity. From the beginning of my artistic education there was something that made me feel  strong,  but I cannot formulate it verbally. For me the only right form to articulate this feeling is visual arts. At the end of high school I seemed to feel unsatisfied with the subject. Initially, I tried to show it in a rather sentimental and superficial way through images.  However, this kind of purely folkloristic form of representation ceased to satisfy me, and thus ceased to be true. I “abandoned” the topic of the Roma, and nowadays I reach for it very rarely.
I realized that I had to see art as a human being; I had to look at my culture from a different perspective and with a distance. It helped me to get involved in projects against intolerance and stereotypes. The international character of the organization, mainly gathering young people (mostly Roma students), allowed me to get to know my culture as a whole, and not only from anthropological or ethnographic point of view, from an interpersonal perspective. I had the opportunity to meet Roma people in many European countries. I don’t want to dwell on the sociological dimension of the various projects I have participated in, but I must admit that the scale of the problems faced by my colleagues in other countries has outgrown me. I didn’t realize that in contemporary Europe there is still room for events reminiscent of World War II (ghettos in Italy, destruction of gypsy camps in France, or racially motivated murders in Hungary).
The sound of my art is not the sound of ROMAN ART or ROMAN ESTHETICS, because such notions do not exist. I take the chance, reflect on it and create on the theme of the ROMAN and POLISH ART. I try to think up under the influence of both cultures. It’s a kind of dissonance that puts me in BETWEEN two cultures but at the same time doesn’t allow me to reject my identity with either of them.

KRZYSZTOF MARCHLAK
A non-heteronormative identity image

Artworks from Dreamers and Man with a Pearl series by Krzysztof Marchlak, was created in 2020. By photographing selected men, the author refers to the issue of culturally conditioned male society status and the role of men in the contemporary world. Putting aside the stereotypical approach to these issues, artist plays with convention, creating photographs full of light, delicacy, color and charm of old masters painting. The topic of masculinity in the most fundamental sense is redefined and questioned by him. Nowadays, individual gender identity has more and more “official representations”, and the development of personality is more closely linked to fluidly builded self-awareness of one’s own body and the emotional and intellectual sphere of existence. Author, carrying out the photographs in series, appears more like a researcher, who try to confirm his intuitions and intuitions, observing other people, analyzing the visual sphere and the stories behind specific individuals. Marchlak’s first photographic series concerning the LGBTQ + community was the project I would give you my heart (2018/2020). Back then, the image he created was linked by a passport held by each of the models. This prop symbolically referred to the act of travelling and the related utopia of finding “your own place”. Contemporary times, abundant in processes such as globalization, increased mobility and the possibility of crossing borders between nations, tempt with the promise of finding the only point on the map where, free from social pressure, you can develop your own personality. According to Marchlak, no place on Earth can guarantee the success of such self-realization, because everything depends on the strength of a person’s character and his relationship with the environment.

ŁUKASZ MURZYN
Image of a Local-Personal Identity

Heritage is an extensive, multilayered video installation, or rather a multimedia environment, built on the basis of a constantly growing collection of archival material or images or performative actions and objects of a “land of childhood”.
The project includes social activities involving the inhabitants of the artist’s native area, e.g.: cooperation with the regional band Banda Burek from Wiśniowa, which resulted in the creation of a musical and interviews and recordings of the family and their environmental memories, etc. It serves as a permanent exploration and interpretation of the heritage. The video projections are integrally connected with objects, creating an oneiric landscape with a paradoxical structure of time and space. A young boy is a guide to the nuts and bolts of an old farm in the surrounding forests and fields and orchards and streams of Kotlinka Wiśniowa [Cherry Basin]. His image is created by paintings documenting the childhood of four generations of the artist’s family – his grandfather, father, himself and finally his son. The work is an element of a journey of the artist’s personal history to the “roots”and the “sources”.
As if by finding the names of subsequent ancestors living a few hundred years ago, locating places where their homes once stood, by studying the history and ethnology of the region’s costumes and equipment, and getting to know stories and beliefs or rituals and songs, one could break through to some “starting point”, to the origin. On prolonging this search, the genesis of an individual becomes identical to the genesis of a species. However, the author is not so much concerned with the biological and geographical dimension as much as with a certain anthropology of culture and spirituality. Species pre historicity blends here with personal, individual and childhood prematurity. At first glance, the utopian search for own beginning in the distant past, the desire to return to the state of idyllic childhood happiness seems to be a form of Jung’s process of individualism within oneself. In spite of the fact that the work does not lead to heaven, but to the darkness of time, – into the Malewicz’s black square – it seems to penetrate its source. That glow lying behind the body, matter, darkness and time – turns out to be a motor and a destination.
Trans. Juan Valencia

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

NATALIA KOPYTKO (1981), PhD in Arts, a graduate of the Faculty of Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. Since 2016, she has been employed at the Faculty of Art of the UP in Krakow, where in 2019 she obtained a PhD in art. Works in sculpture and installation. In her artistic practice, she deals with topics related to excluded and forgotten environments. He is interested in the concept of childhood archeology. She took part in many individual and collective exhibitions. She participated in international symposiums and residencies including the Wood Sculpture Symposium in Muğli, Turkey, Obey or not to be Obey residence in Luxembourg. She is a laureate of the Ministry of Culture and Art’s scholarship from the “Young Poland” program and the Creative Scholarship of the City of Krakow.

MAŁGORZATA WIELEK-MANDRELA ,  PhD and habilitation in Arts, professor t Pedagogical University in Krakow (Faculty of Art),  born in 1976 in Limanowa. She began her studies in 1997 at Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow at the Faculty of Painting, finished in 2002. She defended her doctoral degree in 2009 title:”Heart examination” Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow at the Faculty of Painting. Shes focused on painting medium. She has participated in over 100 collective exhibitions and nearly 40 individuals. Organizer of a nationwide Polish art  competition “Disruptions” at the Pedagogical University of Cracow.  Art Curator of Fosfor Art Gallery in Krakow. He works in the “Czarny Zakład duo”promoting drawings and tattoos. She Runs painting studio  “Pracownia 16” at Pedagogical University of Krakow, Faculty of Arts.

KRZYSZTOF GIL, PhD at the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow. He is of Polish Roma origins and grew up in Nowy Targ, Poland (b. 1987). Between 2008-2013, he studied Graphic Design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow. He is the recipient of the Jolanta Kwaśniewska Foundation scholarship ‘Understanding without Barriers’, and a three-time recipient of the Polish Minister of Interiorand Administration scholarship. In 2008, he co-founded the artistic group Romani Art and is also involved in social activities that oppose discrimination and social exclusion. He is a member of the ternYpe International Roma Youth Network, which helps young Roma people to become active citizens. As he says: ‘From the beginning of my artistic education at High School in Cracow, the topic of Roma has been extremely important to me. Now, years later, I realised that I had to look at my culture from different perspectives and take more distance. It helped me to get involved in projects against intolerance and stereotypes.’ His topic is the correlation between the past, present and future of the Roma people, as represented by the Roma word ‘tajsa’, which translates as both ‘today’ and ‘tomorrow; Krzysztof Gil is a lecturer at the Pedagogical University in Cracow.

ŁUKASZ MURZYN, PhD and habilitation in Arts, professor at Pedagogical University in Cracow. Born in 1982 in Cracow. From 2002 to 2007 he studied at the Faculty of Painting of the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow in 2005 also at Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Utrecht. In 2013 he received his doctorate at the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow and in 2019 he received his habilitation. He lectures at the Faculty of Art of the Pedagogical University of Cracow. He creates video installations, installations and performances. Author of over twenty individual presentations, participant of several dozen collective exhibitions. Experimenting with the context of art. He combines new media with issues of the psychology of religion, he is also interested in the problems of heritage and the crisis of civilisation and culture.