Monika Jurkiewicz »
WYSTAWA: od 12 LIPCA do 28 Września 2006
In her work, with cleverness and intelligent irony,
Monika Jurkiewicz often presented antynomy of life and
death. She took into consideration the process of passing,
the fear of existence, difficulties in communicating with
other people. She did it exposing in her works the image
of man in a variety of contexts and life situations. At the
same time she searched for safe (real and metaphysical)
space which might be an asylum for human fragile
existence, where the route leading to understanding
human existence could originate.
In recent works this space is both very much extended
and specified. Our existence, marked merely by a few
slender traces, is presented against the background of
the whole nature whose weak link we are. The artist
makes landscape the object of her interest. She keeps to
her creative preferences. She has always manifested her
affection for traditional approved genres and motives such
as a still life, a nude or the already mentioned landscape.
The images of nature in Monika Jurkiewicz's
are perfectly cropped, presented with
a nearly photographic precision and care for a detail,
filled with carefully selected colour and subtle light.
The exposed fragments of landscape seem to be familiar,
made of elements which we easily recognize, whose real
existence we can not deny. At the beginning we have no
doubts. However, while analysing the images, we realize
they can not be just 'photographic' pictures taken from
reality, that we stand in front of a constructed landscape.
It dawns on us that the exhibited paintings exist only
in the artist's imagination, that they are deliberately
built vehicles intended for thoughtful considerations.
Sometimes the painter decides to reveal her mistification.
Out of familiar elements she creates a new reality, she
does not hide the fantastic nature of some landscapes.
Her method reminds us of certain modes used by some
surrealists, like e.g. Max Ernst, also with regard to
the applied painting techniques, as the background is
frequently shaped with the use of special methods and
tools, which help the artist to obtain interesting texture
effects and to combine the impression of a photographic
print with some fantasmagoric visions. Some image
elements are 'out of place' here and they appear to be objects
transferred onto the canvas from some oniric visions.
Specific suggestions of the works' titles (associations
such as: 'a whale', 'another moon', 'a golden fish') refer us
to the sphere of free surreal streams of visions and
In these works we can observe greater non-conformity
in the approach to colour issues. And contrary to this: in
the works which are closer to the exact representation
of really existing landscapes, a more moderate greyish
colour palette dominates.
We feel that Monika Jurkiewicz's landscapes were taken
out of context or created not only for the sake of the
very images. It is not only their beauty or their aesthetic
value which are most important here. There is also
a significant humanistic thought that is hidden behind
their semantic layer.
In fact these fantastic images convey the message
concerning the nature of the world, the essence of existence,
eschatological issues. They originate from the perception
of atavistic fears and anxieties.
The main character of these rich painterly works is
nature, treated holisticly, organicly and as a whole, as an
everlasting manifestation of life, life which awakens and
dies away. Therefore next to fragile, vulnerable nature
elements: twigs or leaves, there are elements which seem
to be constant, premanent. With dead components
of nature there come those which are still alive. In the rift
of a rock there appears a blooming flower, a transient
image of the sky is reflected in the mirror of water flowing
down the pebbles, the sun rises and sets above the horizon.
Splits in the bark of trees like wrinkles are the reason for
our worries. They remind us of inevitable constant passing
like craquelure in a few hundred . year . old paintings
of the old masters. We are simultaneously relieved to find
traces of nature renewal in infinite repetitive cycles.
Objects of nature are spread between two poles of
existence: life and death, they make their way from birth,
through youth until the old age, the end of physical
existence. In these paintings nature lives like a human
being . it breathes and seems to be emotional. Its everlasting
beauty becomes a model pattern according to which we
form our image of perfection, also referring to what is ideal
in man and in an object created by the man. For ages
the model of feminine nude has been preserved by rocks,
their hollows and reliefs, smooth contours of natural
shapes and sensually bothering cracks and ravines.
Perfect, amazing, similar to fractals patterns of nature
are like still unknown algorithms which represent the
knowledge concerning the structure of the universe. In
this context Monika Jurkiewicz remains faithful to her
fascinations. As before, she 'searches for divinity in all
kind of manifestations of existence, she tries to find
a path leading to the sphere of eternal sense. She
touches the sphere of the objective beauty preserved in
the harmony of colour, shape and light.'
Man is a specific component of that creation. In the
world created by the painter man's image does not
appear. People's existence is revealed by some traces
of human activity which is taken up with a weak faith
in the meaning and sense of efforts that we make to
understand and accept the world which surrounds us.
Carved in a stone, worn out magic square, SATOR, common
property of many eras, religions and philosophies, remains
a pitiful testimony to futile attempts to understand the
secrets of existence. It similtaneously confirms our
eternal need to appeal to metaphysics, our nostalgia
for the Absolute, the necessity to find out the mystery of
existence. Partly blurred rock paintings recall human
attempts which were to tame nature. Unfortunately
they are only the background for its rampant existence.
Polluted waters unmask man as the main cause of its
Dualism in thought, in philosophy of that creation is
also reflected in the construction of work. In her painting
Monika Jurkiewicz strongly emphasizes relations between
the planes of a painting. It is not only a perfidious etrickf
of an experienced artist, who knows how to attract
a viewer by juxtaposition of a wide rich background
with an interesting detail of the foreground. Arranging
various image elements is a decisive factor in the
presentation of the process of passing, change and
revival. In this way it is easier for us to penetrate the
structure of the created reality. The contrast of plans
which build the image becomes in turn an essential
expression of interpretation of the world. It is the source
of dramatic suspence. Using the language of art the
artist reminds us of time going by, she makes us consider
the essence and objectives of human activity. She appeals
to the long-lasting philosophical problem concerning
the potential of rational and sensual cognition of the
This procedure considerably intensifies the impact of
the work's artistic values. Frontal elements of the first
plan cast shadows on the planes in the background, they
suggest spaciousness and they build the impression of
depth. Compositional plans are presented by means
of direct and objective means of expression, details
traditionally shown with the undisputed workshop skill.
Statics of carefully selected objects intensifies the
impression of seriousness, the sense of solemnity. The
well-balanced stable composition endows the work with
a kind of monumentality.
Monika Jurkiewicz'fs creation is a specific way to tame
nature. Images do not originate merely from its affirmation
accompanied by anxieties and resignation. The artist
builds landscapes according to her own rules, controlling
their structure and the way they exist. In this way the
anxiety which goes together with the atavistic fascination
with nature is weakened. It is partly a magic act evoked
by the creatore .
demiurg. Following the artist we wander
through the land of beauty, observing its manifestations
somewhere around us. The image and mysteries of this
area can only be revealed in the process of creation.
Perhaps that is why images of nature created by
Monika Jurkiewicz are characterised by a specific kind of
decorativeness. The new aesthetics and philosophy of
her work is in a way close to a bit naive childlike creation,
where children conceive 'secrets' by means of flowers,
leaves, dried twigs and little favourite objects endowed
with some mysterious power. To find them you must
know where to look for them as they are always carefully
hidden to avoid the eyes of unwanted intruders.
Later on it is enough to remove a layer of soil and take
a magnifying glass in order to see...
Translated by Elżbieta Rodzeń-Leśnikowska