Zbigniew Purczyński   »

To get to the heart of the matter it is sometimes necessary to destroy the structure of reality which reveals the essence of it. Then, building up the construction anew on your own, you can discover to yourself and the others the truth about the world. At that moment, however, you use your own language, you are endowed with full knowledge, with new awareness.

Zbigniew Purczyński refers to such reflections in his works, intriguing, speculative but at the same time full of softness and lyrical discretion. The purpose of this original artistic expression is creating an autonomic new space which is realised by means of the well-known unique elements of the code and the rules of order characteristic of this artist.

The structure of reality perceived and discovered by Purczyński is multi-layer and multi- dimensional. It is also obviously the structure of our world in its various intellectual and emotional manifestations. Transferring them into images the artist creates the visions of distinguished different spaces described by their most significant characteristic elements - spaces unified in a certain way, as each of them individually is an equivalent or expression of diversified values: knowledge, awareness, intuition, emotions, feelings. Purczyński seems to have found a different expression for each of these qualities or sets of qualities, to have isolated them from the whole human experience, to have set them in different areas, worlds which reveal themselves only through specific ways of existence. As a result of this the particular layers of a work are dominated by varied in their character signs of visual existence.

All the realities function both in a parallel relationship (they are specific 'parallel worlds') and they complete one another. When any of them is brought forth - in a metaphysical sense - it is actually expressed in visual exposure of the structure of subsequent spaces - by 'cutting out', 'putting away' or 'uncovering' the fragments of the 'map' of cosmos which happens to be placed on the top surface, being privileged in this way.

One of these worlds is bound to be dominated by paradigms of a relative - not orthodox - order of geometry which might be an expression of intellectual reflection on the principles of order which are respected in this world. It is the world of various shades of grey, dimmed according to the rule typical of Purczyński, which helps to come to the essence by means of light similar to the light of a candle which decreases the contrast of luminance lowering the threshold value'. Such a landscape becomes a background for the army of numerous nervous lines and points which within their sectors lead their carefree life. They lounge on the background dimmed by grey, steel-grey or toned down by blue, calmly head for the one or the other side of a picture, or even fall down as an avalanche towards the bottom part of a composition. They appear to be similar, yet they differ from one another at least at the level of secondary features, they are subject to discreet rhythmization. In the latest works they also participate in creating optical illusions, forming apparent reliefs on surface, not anticipating any intruder to come and ruin this order. The spheres varied in textures converge on the lines of contrast, on the borders of sparse location and congestion. Sometimes they give in to become a homogeneous surface. In this reality even the nature of a shadow cast by an object strange on this territory is adequate to the character of the surface it occupies; it is formed by the same elements of texture which contribute to the whole surface of projection.

When being curious we cut out a fragment of the cosmos observed at that moment, discreetly unveil the edge, uncover a piece of fabric, reveal a part of it, we are able to spy on a fragment of a subsequent world which functions parallel to the previous one - consists of other elements, has different quality, refers to different values. Borders or triangles, cut out and turned inside out let us see fragments of surfaces dominated by a different reality and expressed by means which are characteristic of a different visual sensitivity from the previous one.

The accents of cracks and gulfs obtained in this way have the power of direct radiation. Everything due to surfaces of pure colour (we deeply believe that the artist perfectly knows where to find something, whatever it is, that conditions the light in colour), shades full of brilliance as if they were opalescent.

That other world seems to be the world of more lyrical, we would like to say even metaphysical feelings. The world of brilliance, radiance of colour. The world discreetly revealed, most often on the outskirts of the composition, manifesting its existence preferably by emanation of blue. The colour of meditation, the shade of the universal, out of the world background of the medieval paintings, the shade of lyrical feelings and sensitivity.

All the unveiled colours, also radiant yellow and vivid red, go with the colour of some oval forms which miraculously entered the unknown territory and, suspended over it, they penetrate it only from a distance.

Apart from them there exist the forms of other kind, as if they were preserved in the stage of an embryo, though deprived of the organic references. They nerve the surface, dramatise it, increase the number of linear tensions.

Other elements contribute to the composition as well. They are certainly those directly shown as well as those hidden, graphic lines running in the assumed directions and dividing - in appropriate proportions- the surface into particular spheres.

Also the borders, those three - coloured: blue-red-yellow and those endowed with one of the three basic colours, which introduce order calming down the opposite colours and drawing our attention to inevitability of synthesis lying in the background.

Considering the whole creation we can say that in spite of the fact that the artist hardly refers to symbols and he limits the number of motives, he succeeds in achieving a large variety of arrangements.

Whether one of the presented realities is located above or beneath the other one, or they are in front of or behind one another is something relative and it depends only on the direction of our observation. As they are complementary to one another, they mutually complete one another and can exists only together. They are bound to form one reality. They give a synthesis of the cosmos, whatever it is.

The attributes of 'visual space', often clearly open and cut by lines going beyond a picture, explicitly suggest that in the sphere not associated with art these worlds are infinite.

The mechanism of reception of theses works only confirms that the conclusion is right. Casting a look at the picture of one layer and a fragment of another one staying beneath, we change our way of perception, we stimulate other receptors - frequently the emotional receptors are substituted by intellectual ones and the other way round.

The knowledge of the whole is gradually acquired by differentiation of experience, by perceiving different values of a work. This universal truth is not replaced by the particular truth. Like when by gradual learning the elements of a language and the rules which organise them we not only find out about the process of communication but we also acquire knowledge about nature and structure of the world which is described by this language.

Thus these images (obviously apart from the necessity of preserving balance of colour in the composition) contain 'metaphysical' shades, expressing a sudden perception of the whole, completeness, synthesis - thus there is both mystery and anxiety, but also tranquillity - the feeling of no time limit and motionless eternity. The simultaneous presentation of all the forms in a given proportion creates a dynamically developing space, space understood not only in terms of depth but also emotional and speculative one. Dynamism of this space lies in the motion of its elements as well as it is expressed in mutual, often multi-layer relationships of the components of particular surfaces. Revealing a variety of space interdependence the artist is able to perceive and express diverse values of the subject. Therefore looking at an abstract composition we experience similar pleasure to the one we feel observing particularly spectacular and pervading phenomena in nature. At the same time we feel that polyphonies of textures, compositions of colour originating from an organic yet undeniably appropriate palette intensified by the white of paper, proportions of emitted light and space relationships are, generally speaking, transpositions of some aspects of life and emotions brought by it. It seems to be confirmed by the fact that in this created world we can find more direct evidence of the author's personal involvement as he introduces intimate calligraphic signs to some compositions.

Abstraction does not have to be a palisade which is to protect the artist against reality. What is more, there is no doubt that art can significantly get closer to reality by means of abstraction.

Its subject refers to various clashing forces ( no matter what this expression stands for). Each solution the artist chooses influences the recognition of the essence of their balance, equilibrium of forces present both in the manifestations of everyday life as well as those determining the motion of heavenly bodies. In these works there is no explicitly given topic or subject. There are neither fixed limits nor orthodox construction - and despite all this they are undeniably visual from each point of view.

The author imposes his power on us by means of poetry of the unexpressed matters and in ingenuity of means of expression which are used by the artist to challenge what is difficult to express.

No wonder Zbigniew Purczyński's attitude to relief print is different from the traditional one. He does not lessen the material as a traditionally working linocut or woodcut masters do. He works in his individually worked-out and tested technique, constructing the space composition and literally increasing the matter. On a flat surface he forms reliefs which, after polishing into perfectly even surface, will become a reflection of the artistic intention.

Owing to this, the reality of thoughts and imagination is directly transferred first into the reality of material relief when it becomes their 'sculptural' counterpart, and then into their surface equivalent which a graphic print is - the effect full of artistic harmony.

Dariusz Leśnikowski

Translated by Elżbieta Rodzeń-Leśnikowska