Interviews / Reviews

Czego się nie dotknę, na co nie spojrzę / Whatever I touch, whatever I see, aut./ by prof. Iwona Lorenc

Trace of presence. About the painting of Katarzyna Ferworn-Horawa and photographs of Izabela Maciusowicz / text from exhibition catalogue by Professor Iwona Lorenc
If for Maurice Merleau-Ponty the paintbrush is an extension of the body of the painter, the works of Katarzyna Ferworn-Horawa are more radical in the phenomenological sense. Ferworn-Horawa does not use a brush, she is satisfied with the canvas, the colour pigment, her own body, its gravity and the dynamics of movement. In her artistic practice, she goes even further than the painters Merleau-Ponty writes about: she practices and demonstrates the transitivity and mutual interchangeability of the body of the painter and the body of the image. The trace of the living, corporal presence of the artist is imprinted like a stamp until the pigment disappears on large surfaces of the canvas rolls. It is also a spatial record of the time course of the imprint/painting process. It has its own dramaturgy of the appearance and disappearance of the body presence and body as tool. The play of these two body modalities "belongs" to what is both cultural and natural. The boundary between what is alive and lifeless, natural and cultural is blurred, deconstructed. On the first level of interpretation that can be inevitably drawn (Veronica's veil, the Torah, mummy scrolls, death masks), this game with the elusiveness of the border, played by the artist, acquires an unexpected depth. It is the existential depth, maybe even metaphysical. Trace - testimony of human, bodily existence is marked in these works by the lack of full presence; it refers to what, being invisible, generates this absence; relates to what is at the root of the need to leave a mark and at the same time does not allow to be satisfied with it. In this respect, the projects of both artists are connected: the painterly trace of the living body of Katarzyna Ferworn-Horawa, as well as the photographic "imprint of reality" in the works of Izabela Maciusowicz, are images-testimonies, but also images that gain their own life, visual and aesthetic autonomy, and the mark of timelessness. The magical colour pigment shines through with its own light; the material becomes immaterial, the heavy and descending by gravity shows its lightness. The works of Ferworn-Horawa are characterized by amorphous nature, thematic indeterminacy, and conscious confusion of the clues for the interpretation which tries to recognize the subject of the painting. Maciusowicz suspends mimetic promises that seem to be made to the viewer, by frequently photographing objects and landscapes that are easy to recognize. By zooming in, however, she blurs the boundaries of their recognition. She takes their presence from "here and now" to the time-and-space indeterminacy and immobility in the face of "something more" - to the state similar to the one we experience while standing in front of a Vermeer jug with a trickle of milk frozen in the image, but still escaping. These photographs are also permeated with a delicate anti-mimetic irony, which relates them to broader critical contexts: ornament from sediments of carbon pollution on the sand is not, after all, an aesthetic escape into a beautiful form, but an artistic reflection on the trace-form that man impresses in nature.
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