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Opening Hours

Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm


Art Agenda Nova
Batorego 2, Krakow


Katarzyna Skrobiszewska


This is a continuation of the project “I hardly go out”, which premiered in September of the current year. in the NOVA gallery in Krakow. The exhibition enriched with new works will be shown in the LETO gallery. Thus, it will be the second individual presentation of the artist in Warsaw.

The new works of Katarzyna Skrobiszewska create, as always with this artist, a coherent picture cycle. After “Look” this is another series intended for contemplation, which Skrobiszewska understands as “a kind of source cognition stemming from an intuitive view.” However, while the previous pictures focused on the process of observation, mindfulness and forced the viewer to contemplate, the new canvases are to a large extent the effect of this contemplation.

The cycle “I almost do not go out” is a reflection of Skrobiszewska’s inspiration (it is possible that they can be treated as an interpretation of her life philosophy, and certainly outline the direction in which her search has recently been conducted), resulting from the fusion of Christian mysticism and Zen Buddhism. The philosophical writings of thinkers, such as Tomasz Merton and Master Eckhart, of which the fragment is particularly important for the artist, says that “an alternative to these two states of soul (joy and despair) is the gray zone of the spirit, barren everyday life, the most ordinary duration, monotony of activities” and “the most ordinary time is sometimes the most precious “. We know the reason why Skrobiszewska decided to present the space in which her everyday life takes place.

Another point coincident with the earlier series “Look” is the issue of light. For both cycles, the scriptures are based on John of the Cross, in which to describe the path leading to mystical unification, pictorial metaphors related to vision, light, blindness, darkness were used. This aspect explains the darkness that characterizes most of the latest works. It is an attempt to show the impression that appears when you turn your eyes away from the light source or at the entrance to a dark room, before your eyes adapt to new conditions. In this way, the new images seem to be a direct continuation of Skrobiszewska’s previous achievements in studying problems related to vision.

The exhibition could look completely different. Katarzyna Skrobiszewska planned a series of paintings depicting Christian and Buddhist monks, working with the mystical writings of both traditions (the artist admits her inspiration with the image of Fra Angelico and the eastern miniature “Asketen im Opiumrausch” seen in Berlin – what drew her attention was the extraordinary use of lights in both works). In the course of creation, however, the concept has changed itself and, as a result, the cycle consists of “images not thought out but SEEN experienced” by the artist.

At the formal level, the artist clearly draws from her experiences with hyperrealism, technical excellence, as well as lessons learned from post-apocalyptic, impressionistic painting; however, the result is a completely new quality, sort of in opposition to previous series. We will not find here smooth, shiny, chrome surfaces characteristic of the limousine saturated with light – on the contrary, there are matt, almost rough materials, almost washed out of color, operating only subtle nuances in shades of gray.
The theme of the half-open door is already known from the previous, black series. Coated with a thick layer of white varnish, with clear vertical and horizontal divisions, they lead to a completely different world: the presented interior is dark, at first glance unfriendly and affecting the potential guest, full of disordered matter and equipment in a random arrangement. The difference in invoices is almost palpable. Particular parts of the cycle are painted at different times of the day, in subsequent paintings you can observe significant differences in the value and intensity of the contrast between the door and what is deep inside. As a result, the interior, as well as the props found in it, gain a new dimension every time.

The title seems to be significant: “I almost do not go out” – under which are the impressions associated with the artist’s studio, her private world. The workplace is also a loneliness, a place of seclusion. What is striking is the asceticism of the interior, minimalism, almost poverty in accordance with the principle that “the path to transcendence is to get rid of everything”.

Thus, we get to know the entourage accompanying the creation of Skrobiszewska’s works. The artist’s presentation of the space which is the background of his creative actions, having the status of a somewhat similar laboratory – means of creating something new – in this case of art, is an act of courage. The interior of the studio usually talks about the artist a lot (“show me your studio and I will tell you who you are”). These relations, however, work in two directions: the workplace testifies to the artist, reveals some features of his personality, but at the same time can be a factor generating certain emotional states, and even stimulate the shape of the works created there, giving the work a characteristic feature.

Thus, the doors can act as a border separating the public sphere from the private zone; opening them to show to strangers, random people, what they conceal, can be treated as a metaphor of transgression between the sacred and the profane that interpenetrate here.

On the other hand, the total exposing of self in the shape of sophisticated exhibitionism seems to be in opposition to the key statement for the exhibition that “the ego must disappear”. The artist seems to want to reconcile these two conflicting messages: Skrobiszewska’s paintings show something, yet not entirely; as much as shown, it is obscured. Most of the shots are painted from behind the threshold, with the door only ajar, or with a minimum dose of lighting – so as to leave as much of the hidden part as possible in the sphere of understatement.

Skrobiszewska’s works enter into a discourse with a traditional approach to the subject, known even from the paintings of seventeenth-century masters, portraying in their studios among countless props of various colors and textures, against the background of rich tapestries, with inherent attributes certifying the profession. The aim of such performances was, besides presenting the craftsmanship championship, also exposing oneself. Skrobiszewska works the other way round: it empties the space of excess objects, it does not try to dazzle with sophisticated painting effects. The figure of the artist herself does not appear, and there are also no specific, personal accents that would suggest to the viewer who is the resident of the interior shown. This is a peculiar avoidance and, at the same time, the painter’s reply to Merton’s reflections: “in every higher religious tradition, the path to transcendental realization is the path of self-annihilation, never the path of self-fulfillment, self-fulfillment or achievement of perfection. These traditions use a language that is definitely negative in relation to what is happening to the subject – the ego. ” Ego Skrobiszewska goes down in the background and even disappears completely from the horizon. In this way, the accent is shifted to what is really important: painting itself.