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Opening Hours

Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm


Art Agenda Nova
Batorego 2, Krakow

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Katarzyna Skrobiszewska


2007-09-14 – 2007-10-17
opening: September 14, 2007, at 18.00 (Friday)
nova gallery, ul. Kochanowskiego10 (entrance from the yard)


Monika Ruszało


The exhibition of Katarzyna Skrobiszewska’s paintings at the Galeria Nova in Krakow is a series of paintings showing the interior of the apartment and its (structural) elements. “I almost do not go out” is a constant attempt to grasp the essence of what makes a given thing “its own”, to analyze every single thing, and simultaneously – the synthesis of the whole. Constructed around the core, which is the cultural category of the “House” and at the same time constructing it, according to what Martin Heidegger (“Build, live, think”) says:
“The relationship of man with places and through them with spaces is based on inhabiting. The relationship of man to space is not something else but essentially thought habitation. ”

1. House

The most characteristic feature of the understanding of space by man is that it is not for him only a level of practical action, and the world “recognized” is surrounded by a sphere touched indirectly – through symbols. According to Danuta and Zbigniew Benedyktowicz (“House in folk tradition”), such a symbol and an interpretative category, thanks to which one can understand the phenomena of culture, is the home. Home is a structure of the imagination that organizes, organizes the image of the world, the experience of the world and the existential experience of man. Home as a human flat, place of birth and death is a universal model in building the image of the Universe (imago mundi), it is its center (“the navel of the world”), it symbolizes the cosmic order. The human body and later home determine the basic existential experience in organizing the world

In Katarzyna Skrobiszewska’s painting, an archetypal structure is revealed – the category of the House is the key interpretation key here. The artist condenses the interior of the House in one room, as if returning to the original organization of the space, which was the space of the (one) room – the “kitchen”. Its function in the contemporary, desacralized – at least in the epidermal layer – of the home space takes over the room (leaving the kitchen with an accidental usability). It is a “living room” (living room). In this room, one lives: sleeps, works, rubs against another human being, which is, moreover, directly explained in the title of the exhibition.

2. Things and atmosphere

The ascetic decoration of the three spaces of the Gallery, where the exhibition of Skrobiszewska’s paintings takes place: white walls, gray floor, metallic packaging for pipes and wires, enters into dialogue with the artist’s works – images of small format, uniform height, minimalistic color range. In these whites, grays and beiges of dead (?) Objects, stronger, even brilliant appear abandoned, tumbling clothes, bedding, traces of human presence. However, it is these dead, insensitive – it might seem – things organize the world in which
we feel safe, about which we can say “ours”. Are you definitely dead? The artist refers with great respect to the private life of the equipment. When portraying a table and a lamp with a lampshade, bookshelf, computer and iron, it does not do it in an invasive way, it even allows them to exist “in their own way”.

The mood of the paintings brings to mind the landscapes of the interiors of houses painted by the Dutch masters of the 17th century. As Zbigniew Herbert (“Still Life with a Bit”) notes, the Netherlands is the “kingdom of things”, the “great duchy of objects” in which: “portraits of images and portraits of objects were ordered to confirm their existence, extend their duration”.

Even stronger is the association with the painting of Dane Vilhelm Hammershøi (“Rays of the Sun” or “Solar Light” from 1900, “White Door” or “Open Door” from 1905). The twins of monochromatic interiors (flats of both artists) together with their atmosphere saturated with emptiness and silence, decorated in austere style, seem all the more unusual in the context of the spatial and temporal distance that exists between the works of Hammershøia and Skrobiszewska.

3. Grabbing space

Shots bring to mind photographic staff, which also speaks for the rightness of searching for sources of inspiration at Hammershøia, who, in line with the tendency of 19th-century realist painters, used photographs in his work. At the same time, it sends back to the seventeenth-century Dutch, using a device called camera obscura, precursor to the camera.

One interior has been broken into three rooms of the Gallery and it is only in this breakup that it unites. We have the ability to observe this interior both from the inside and from the outside, always fragmentarily. In the latter case, standing in a lit room, we look through the door ajar into a room sunk in the dark. Looking into the dark we can see furniture and shaded, muted furnishings. We see narrow strips of space expanding into the depths, fragments of furniture cut into the edges of the paintings. So often the half-open doors appearing here limit, but also open our perception of “something completely different”.

The door to the house – in this case, the room – is punctum minoris resistentiae, the least resistant place in the event of an attack from outside, according to the interpretation that sees in the door, or the windows of the house, border and mediation places. The flow of lives and vital energies between the various levels of the cosmos takes place across the border (according to the idea of the Microcosm, there is an infinite number of local centers and boundaries, which is most evident in the House concept).

4. Words and their power

Under some of the paintings, sentences about status appear, one might say, exceptions from the Book: “I was afraid that the light would disappear”, “Ego must go away”, “I took it as a sign”. The image at the end of the middle row in the room that we watch first is particularly eye-catching. It is preceded by two “preparatory” images. The first one shows the window and the outline of the view from the window reflected in the glass of the bookcase, which here becomes a mirror. The interior of the human body makes contact with the outside through the eyes. The windows thus become “the eyes of the house”, through which one looks at what is beyond the safe home space. They are also considered to be “mirrors of the soul”, because by looking inside, you can see the secrets hidden. Second – this an unspoken “interior landscape”: hung on the wall – a painting or a mirror? It seems that a gap is opened at this point of exposure. The magic triad: a window – a mirror – offers the grace of transgression, which will soon take place.

The above-mentioned painting: interior (gallery?) With pictures hung on the walls, opening towards the dark corridor, at the entrance of which there is a strip in warning yellow and black stripes. We watch them through the prism of a metal grid marked with rainbow spots of sunlight. This image gained a comment: “The gates of the heavens are everywhere.”
The sacred space is an interruption of the homogeneity of space, as Mircea Eliade concludes in the dissertation “Sacrum, myth, history”: “in the holy circle it is possible to establish communication with the gods; so there must be a ‘door’ leading upwards, through which the gods can descend to Earth, and people – symbolically enter into Heaven. ”

Eliade recalls here the description of this place and the presence of God, during which pictures of both the House and the Gate appear simultaneously. The temple, which is the “gate of God”, allows communication with transcendence, and according to Gerardus van der Leeuw (“Phenomenology of religion”), “Home and temple are basically one”. In the works of Skrobiszewska, the sublimation of the archetype is made by incarnating it into the “everyday” space with all its attributes. At the same time, we easily read the basic triad in “ordinariness”, but we also see this space through the grid (conventional meanings). This confirms the thesis of Gaston Bachelard (“Family home and oneiric home” in the collection “Poetic imagination”), that: “The house is a synthetic archetype, an archetype that has evolved.”

5. Light

The picture and the word intertwine with each other especially in the series of paintings located in the second room of the Gallery, which makes the thesis about the phenomenology of Skrobiszewska’s quest: “Charred leftovers”, “Are there any things there”, “If there are any things there” – signatures of three of six images whose sizes are identical. Repeating shots in a variable (although in this case always artificial) light brings to mind impressionist treatments, painting in changing atmospheric conditions (enough to mention Claude Monet and his series of images of the cathedral in Rouen, created in the 1890s). Thus, Skrobiszewska’s art is in this sense a kind of (interior) impressionism.

Sequence of immobility, which we are not able to penetrate due to the “dynamism” which we naturally have, the eye moved, the trembling of the hand. Delighting shapes immersed in permanent darkness, and then sudden and merciless throwing into light – artificial, bearing meaningful senses. Gaston Bachelard says: “Take, for example, a house in which – as soon as night falls – the light comes on, protecting us from the night. We immediately feel that we are on the borderline of unconscious values and conscious values, that we are dealing here with some important point of the onirism associated with the home. ”

6. Gripping space

Finally, returning to the issue of the deployment of images in the space of the Gallery and its significance, in the first of the three rooms, three rows of paintings on the left wall were placed opposite the right wall with one row of works. In this space an axis is created, the dialogue between works is clear. The second room is the dialectic of the empty wall on the left and the right wall – with a row of six images. This thesis and antithesis give synthesis in the third room. There is only one picture here – in the center of the right wall. Gradual quantitative elimination illustrates the phenomenological eidetic reduction, or process of reaching the essence of what is given. What is intriguing, the balance of verticals and levels constituting the image structure, is questioned at the end:

“You have now
empty space
more beautiful than the object
more beautiful than the place after him
it is the pre-world
white paradise
all possibilities
you can go there
cry out
pion – level

will hit the naked horizon
perpendicular thunderbolt

we can stop there
you have already created the world ”
(Zbigniew Herbert “Study of the subject”, exc.)

Through description and analysis, one comes to something that appears to be a return to the starting point. But this point is no longer the same that existed at the beginning. This is the cleansing (a / e) purification in the synthesis process. The viewing angle has changed – in this case literally. The image under which the signature is printed: “Little exits” shows the mass of colored garbage in a blue plastic bag, placed behind the threshold – next next to the window, the door of mediation between the orbis exterior and orbis interior. A diagonal line appears, as if it were an accidental (not) set frame. A break-up of the created-perfect world.