©photo : Anne Loubet

Paintings and Reliefs

When Izabela Kowalczyk discusses her artwork, she distances herself from interpretations, leaving it to the spectators to decide for themselves. Even though she has her own stories coming from memories and personal experiences, her graphics, paintings and objects relate to something else. When she suggests its meaning, it is to describe it as pretext to her work, not so much semantic but rather plastic. However, its contents cannot be only formal. Each form, even pretending to abstraction, in some way approaches figuration.


What Izabela Kowalczyk is talking easily about is the process of realisation: the manipulation of cut off elements in a way that the prosaic motifs coming from the vocabulary of still life (chair, table, dishes) relate to something other, balance between still recognisable motif and pure plastic form, the creation of space from bi-dimensional elements, the mutually interpenetrating planes, the relation of forms to the picture space.


Izabela Kowalczyk's method of work is partly born from her experience in graphics. She is interested in the effect of printed image, present in her painting by using templates and application of paint with a roller. This method particularly calls to mind techniques of convex printing like lithography or linotype.


The initial phase of image preparation - cutting and collage - common to graphics, paintings and spatial objects, takes the central place in the process of production. In this stage, the right time of creation, a mix of a long search and rare happy accidents, the painting comes. For it to happen, a plastic event must be born from relation of forms to picture space.


The forms have a weight, a presence depending on its placement in the composition. This placement choice, colours and contrast create different planes and a depth. There are also interferences between planes; passages led by transparencies of forms or their juxtaposition. These plastic events are above all formal, but something from the figuration remains in them. This ambivalence opens a space between the name, function, social, symbolic or affective use given to things and its being irreducible, distinct, unnameable.


In her graphics, paintings and volumes her thought process is the same, visible in cutting and collage, the base of all her compositions. In the case of sculptures, the paper was replaced by a more rigid material and put in space. The aspiration to the tri-dimensionality, visible in graphics and paintings (literally in the series of monochrome reliefs Dialogue 2000/2002), finds its continuation in sculptures, objects likewise in balance between the representation and what it signifies by itself.


Silence occupies an important place in Izabela Kowalczyk's work. Her pieces do not result from a previous questioning but are an effect of intuitive searching. The forms, familiar and at the same time strange, oscillate between motif and object, sign and thing, sense and non-sense.