Free Surfaces

State Art Gallery, Sopot, Poland

The exhibition is the reward for winning the competition in the Multimedia category in the 3rd Triennale of Pomeranian Art. The artwork that won the prize is an installation entitled “CAD Paintings“ and it consists of several acrylic paintings on lasercut HDF wooden boards, as well as three 3D animation video projections. This work is a summary of my research from my student time and a starting point for this exhibition.

I was interested in use of new technologies from the beginning of my studies, already when I studied architecture. When I entered the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk to study painting, I continued being interested in technologies, so they became both the source of inspiration and medium with which I create. I observed and took advantage of the possibilities that parametric design, 3D printing, laser cutting or augmented reality give us. However, it was only in the past two years – the years of preparation for this exhibition – that I have started to wonder about, how those omnipresent technologies, which keep on being developed at a dizzying speed, influence our mental state.

At the exhibition I present silkscreen prints merged with augmented reality animations, video mapped paintings as well as “traditional“ oil paintings on canvas. While preparing this exhibition I realised that the multimedia artworks had been created earlier in my career than other paintings. With passing time, I have increasingly focused more on painting and less on working on the computer. “24/7” is a book by Janathan Crary, which has made a huge impression on me, explains my preferences towards my choice of artistic medium. The author describes how the fast pacing world of capitalism, consumerism and eternal internet connection forces us to be available for work always – 24/7 – to reply to our e-mails, to shop, regardless of where we are, whom with and what we are doing in a given moment. The contemporary world tries to make us be present in the virtual reality. It lures us with shiny new smartphones, devices tracking our every movement, speakers recognising our voice. All of those mechanisms divide us into little pieces, our consciousness is constantly roaming between various devices and applications. We are never a hundred percent present in only one place. We pay a price for this constant availability – our sleep is shorter, interrupted or we suffer from insomnia altogether accompanied by stress, fear or anxiety.

In the world that is 24/7 online or at least in a standby mode I realised that I find shelter from this everlasting world wide web connection in painting. When I am painting I don’t look at a screen, don’t touch my computer’s keyboard, don’t talk on the phone or even listen to music. The complexity of little shapes requires my complete and undivided attention – there is no space for error on raw canvas. There is also no space for thinking about anything else than the painting in front of me. One of the textbooks about traditional animation, which I read during my studies, in one of the first chapters says that in order to animate well you need complete silence and concentration – even music is prohibited!

In a way, for me, painting is a form of resistance and rest from the eternal surveillance of the virtual world.

A concept of perfection is another issue that concerns me, and it is associated with digital creation. Every day, I can see “perfect“ images – beautiful, edited photos with light colours, without any disruptions and unwanted elements. They are, though, only an illusion, a manipulation. What surrounds me is not perfect, and it will never be perfect. Nevertheless I happen to be obsessed with perfection. I sometimes believe automatically that I can be a better version of myself, look more beautiful, thinner, be smarter, cooler, paint more and better. I happen to forget to stop and reflect upon where I am in this exact moment. Sometimes I don’t appreciate my finished work and I start wondering straightaway what I can do to produce a new and even better artwork.

My answer to this race is repetition – very important for my artistic practice. My paintings represent the same triangles, trapezes, lines. The shapes I create are inspired by the possibilities of parametric design software. However, I believe that they evolved with time and that they speak in their own, independent language of shapes and symbols now. They express with shapes, colours and moods what I am unable to describe or say in words. The process of their creation – from the stretching of canvas to the last brush strokes – is as important to me as the final effect.

I am unable, as most of us, to disconnect from the internet and technology completely. It is fascinating, inspiring and surprising. Moreover, every day advances in technology bring new questions, stimuli, phenomena and possibilities, thanks to which I create my artworks and exhibit them in the State Gallery of Art. I try to draw inspiration from the virtual world with moderation and I do not forget about the materiality of painting.