Zuzanna Pieczyńska’s Work of Loss
Zuzanna Pieczyńska gained the Rising Artist Award within the Jackson’s Portray Prize this 12 months together with her work ‘Christie’. On this interview, Jessica Alazraki, winner of the Rising Artist Award final 12 months, asks Zuzanna about how she investigates liminal house, grief and disappearance via mild, house and color.
Jessica: When did you begin with this sequence?
Zuzanna: I began this sequence as my Masters Diploma. I learn that yearly in Poland roughly 20,000 individuals go lacking. I used to be struck by that reality. It’s as if a small metropolis received utterly wiped off a map. I wished my commencement undertaking to be about one thing necessary, one thing that strikes me. That’s why I selected the subject of disappearances. I cooperated with the Itaka Basis, the largest non-governmental organisation in Poland which works within the subject of lacking individuals. I not solely painted actual people who had gone lacking but in addition tried to indicate the trauma and tough feelings that the lacking individual’s family members should endure.
Jessica: How did this sequence come to you? It appears you might be impacted by it.
Zuzanna: I’ve skilled a short disappearance of a member of my household. Although the expertise itself was comparatively quick I believe it was extraordinarily impactful. The feelings that accompanied it are nonetheless very current once I recall that occasion and I believe that’s the rationale why the issue of disappearances notably strikes me.
Jessica: Do you personally know the individuals in your work?
Zuzanna: Usually – sure, I paint my buddies and kin. Not on this sequence although. Although I don’t know any of the lacking individuals I painted personally, they’re very a lot actual and their tales are actual too. I by some means really feel that through the course of of making the sequence, by diving into their tales and the method of portray them itself, they turned near me in a means. It was necessary to me that the circumstances I depicted have been of younger individuals – I used to be drawn to them as a result of I can establish with them extra. The selection of who ought to that be was very tough although. There are such a lot of circumstances… How do you choose simply 4 of them? What standards do you undertake? In any case, every of the disappearances is a tragedy and none is larger than the opposite.
Jessica: Are you interested by creating consciousness about what’s taking place on this place? What do you wish to say to individuals somewhere else?
Zuzanna: The primary objective of the work on this sequence was to focus on sure circumstances of disappearances and to create consciousness of the issue usually. I imagine that work are emotionally extra impactful than Xeroxed pictures, subsequently they’ve a greater likelihood to remain within the reminiscence of the viewer. I consider portray as a potential transmitter of feelings, as the photographs to seem on a canvas have to be first filtered via a human being, a residing individual. The painter themselves are the lens. For my part that’s what makes it a very sturdy medium.
Jessica: Areas appear to have such a powerful presence within the compositions. You make an vacancy communicate a lot. Are you able to inform us about it?
Zuzanna: It’s a tough query, despite the fact that leaving an empty house is all the time a acutely aware alternative, I don’t give it an excessive amount of thought, it’s extra primarily based on feeling. I believe vacancy can certainly say loads. It lets me lead the viewer’s eye, so I can inform the story via the portray the best way I would like. I like having some issues left unsaid and empty areas assist me obtain that generally. Vacancy can achieve this far more although, particularly when coping with the subject the place absence is without doubt one of the protagonists. In one of many work the empty vertical house hangs over a lady like a heavy burden, in one other – it makes a small woman weak by being surrounded by it, it emphasises that she’s on their own. The woman in that portray was probably kidnapped. The empty house tells this story in a means – it’s darkish and dense, contrasting with a childlike innocence, it fills the viewer with dread.
Jessica: I discover your color palette contributes to the theme and content material of your work. What’s your relationship with color?
Zuzanna: A vital a part of this sequence is the idea of liminal house, which is an ambiguous situation that happens through the transition from one state to a different. The expertise of disappearance kinds a particular house the place thresholds between absence and presence, life and loss of life, loss and mourning are blurred and undefined. It jogs my memory of the second simply earlier than the storm – it’s someplace in between, the aura has modified, the air is dense and sultry, but it’s nonetheless not raining. That’s why I depicted the 4 lacking individuals in a surroundings previous a storm. The darkish, blue palette lets me seize the ambiance of that second. The sunshine and color collaborate to create this very particular aura.
Jessica: I can see you employ mild to explain emotion. Do you wish to inform us extra about that?
Zuzanna: I actually like enjoying with mild and shadow, I believe they are often very attention-grabbing portray themes on their very own. Mild provides you an entire number of potential usages. Amongst different issues it’s an excellent metaphor builder. For example it was very useful in translating my very private expertise of scuffling with despair into a visible language. I generally use it in my artworks as a literal instrument. Within the final sequence, I created 4 portraits of lacking individuals utilizing age development. However their faces can’t be seen till the sunshine behind the canvas is turned on. In any other case it’s only a white, clean floor. This helped me seize that unusual house these individuals are caught in: they nonetheless exist within the construction of their households, but they aren’t with them anymore. They’re right here, but they aren’t.
Jessica: Do you sketch earlier than you go into the canvas?
Zuzanna: I’ve a fairly unorthodox strategy to sketching. I do sketch earlier than I begin a portray, however I do it within the type of a collage, made on a pc.
Jessica: Are you able to describe or speak in regards to the course of and the way lengthy does it take you to do these items?
Zuzanna: It all the time begins with an thought. I normally know what’s going to be there, and what the composition goes to be like. Then I create a collage. I attempt to seize the thought finest I can, I put collectively totally different pictures. It provides me a number of flexibility as I can create my very own actuality and alter it in no matter means I would like. However I nonetheless have a reference that enables me to color realistically.
Typically one collage results in one other one. I actually like Picasso’s quote who stated that “inspiration exists, however it has to seek out you working.” Typically the thought must relaxation although. It wants time to ripen.
Lastly I paint and the collage merges into one coherent piece. Portray provides me an entire new vary of potentialities and instruments. For example I can create an phantasm of motion or change face options. The final step is closing the pc, stepping away from the easel and looking out on the portray with a very goal eye, that’s not biased by the collage I made. Within the final sequence one portray normally would take a month to make.
Jessica: Who’re your greatest influences artistically?
Zuzanna: I like Polish modernists, so-called Younger Poland painters. One in all my favourites is Aleksander Gierymski. He was a consultant of Realism however you may as well see impressionist affect in his portray. One other one is Olga Boznańska in my very private opinion she has one thing in frequent with Rembrandt, as she additionally was in a position to seize the character of the portrayed, their core, their soul. I want to obtain this degree of mastery in portraying individuals. To color not solely a picture of an individual, however to carry out their essence. Lastly, my favorite painters are in all probability Stanisław Baj and Mark Rothko. By way of type I do one thing utterly totally different from them, however their artwork exhibits how impactful work could be and the way they’ll evoke feelings. I discover it extraordinarily inspiring.
Jessica Alazraki: Narrative By way of Color and Gesture
Anna McNeil: Reminiscence and Course of
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