August 13th - September 10th
“Transparence is the highest, most liberating value in art-and in criticism- today. Transparence means experiencing the luminousness of the thing in itself, of things being what they are. ” – Susan Sontag, Against interpretation and other essays (1966)
Pilipczuk Gallery is pleased to announce a solo exhibition by Berenika Kowalska. Kowalska’s career has gradually evolved towards more synthetic representations after a period of depicting decorative forms with many detail-oriented elements. Kowalska reduced the superfluous and today works more simply with the form of an image. In recent works, she refers to the meditative world of nature, which has a direct impact on man and which strongly influences our emotions and senses. Kowalska sees nature as an impulse that evokes thoughts and actions, and at the same time remains neutral, fluid and transparent.
For Kowalska’s ﬁrst solo exhibition outside of Poland, she is showing 10 artworks with her main inspiration taken from waterfalls, wind, fog, sand folds, reﬂections, moon and sunlight. She has chosen
phenomenon that are permanently delicate and that are in constant motion. Due to their ephemeral form, she only presents their sensibility and manifestation, necessarily giving up their realistic depiction in favor of abstract or semi-abstract representations. Kowalska’s unreal elements of nature, additionally deprived of their natural colours, as she often deviate from local colours in the painting, help to expand the viewer’s network of associations. Just as the sensations caused by the image change and go in di#erent directions, the forms presented in the image may evolve in the viewer’s perception, thus evoking further associations. Therefore, one image can resemble both the folds of the earth and the tongues of ﬁre, water, desert, ice and waterfalls. In addition to the form and colour, light is an indispensable factor in Kowalska’s paintings. Luminosity is the main activating part of her work. By making the image more dynamic, it introduces almost physical movement, gives a feeling of change, ﬂow and elusiveness. These three elements: form, colour and light, are to stimulate the recipient, evoke a certain impulse, emotion or thought, which can then grow organically and evolve in di#erent directions. All these painting assumptions are connected with the idea of the painting, as a link between what is outside and what is inside of us. What is elusive and changeable in feeling and coexisting with our fleeting, moving thoughts:
“It is immersion in thoughts, following them, focusing or not focusing attention on them, letting go of some and stopping on the chosen ones, that is the way to our spiritual development and deep self-knowledge. Therefore, I am close to the idea of an image that helps to achieve this state of meditation or contemplation. My artistic goal is to create an optimal, comfortable situation for the recipient of experiencing, and not understanding or interpreting the image, and thus creating a transparent work – open to individual interpretations.” -Berenika Kowalska
Kowalska promotes transparency of the image in her practice, opening up a space for emotion and experiencing in the viewer. The meditative function of the work helps to enter a state of inner tranquility and concentration. A properly constructed atmosphere of the image helps the viewer to plunge into their own thoughts and inner experiences. The image then becomes a bridge leading to a transcendental experience, and ultimately remains only a starting point and a background for the viewer’s individual reflections. A work of Kowalska can also provoke the viewer to stop thinking. Looking into the picture introduces the viewer to the so-called void meditation, which consists in letting go of their own thoughts. The recipient stops at observation which leads to a close connection with the work. On the other hand, the state of image contemplation assumes that the viewer is in contact with herself and with the work at the same time. The viewer follows her reflection without giving up observation and interpretation. The image then becomes an integral part of the experience.
About Berenika Kowalska
Berenika Kowalska was born in 1989 in Lublin (PL). In 2014 Kowalska graduated the Faculty of Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków. She has a diploma obtained at the interdisciplinary studio of prof. Zbigniew Bajek. In 2010, she studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw in Leon Tarasewicz studio, in an exchange program ‘MOST’ for the best students. In 2011 she graduated at the inter-Open Studio Fashion Design. Kowalska received a lot of awards for painting, drawing and textile art by the Council of the Faculty of Fine Arts of Kraków. In 2014, she received a scholarship from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. She was selected as one of the artists representing Poland at JCE Biennale 2015-2017 (Jeune Creation Europeenne). In 2017 she received a scholarship from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. In 2017, her painting was bought for the National Museum collection in Gdańsk, Poland. In 2019 she participated in Shiro Oni Studio art residency in Japan. Kowalska lives and works in Warsaw. Learn more about Kowalska here.