KRZYSZTOF FIGIELSKI “WATER AND AIR”
Gouaches, drawings and monotypes
Krzysztof Figielski treats art as a kind of inner journey. He moves along the perimeters of culture, epochs, and geographic lands. He is a self-contained artist. In his studio he becomes a wizard, sometimes a jester. With consideration, sometimes ironically or with a bit of humour, he combines the organic world with the world of imagination. These alchemic processes are fed on symbols, myths, fabulous castles and creatures on the one hand, but also nature: a bird, a tree, a stone, a stream or the moon, on the other hand. The artist is influenced by the sources of nature, he refers to the equilibrium between the external world of culture or technology and the internal area of spirituality. Creation is for him an opportunity to combine the mind and matter, to feel the plentitude of existence. A man appears in Krzysztof’s works as a universal sign and figure. He is inspired by things that are wild or innocent. The elements, animals and plants, minerals and celestial bodies. Nature has got the attribute of an archetype and at the same time it is treated directly. The works presented at the exhibition entitled “Water and Air” concentrate on the opposite edges of the visible reality. On the area of the underground and the primeval ocean, as well as the expanse of the sky. The tree rooted in the damp soil erecting its crown towards the sky, joining two organic worlds into one. The bird flying up in the air, and then floating on the surface of the lake. A fish and a jellyfish moving nimbly in the stream of the river or the ocean, breathing the air. The sunlight and the moonlight permeating the water in silence… A man is a part of that high in creatures, plants, planets and space cosmos. Let us stop for a jiffy and look around …
History knows first and foremost settled artists, imprisoned in their studios, dependent on the nearest secular or church founds, the nearest club or joint, addicted to their position in the circle. Though the artist seems to be a resident, there are still superb exceptions with great Leonardo in the first place, who could not find his spot through all his life, or Dürer looking for something in his journeys, not mentioning minor loiterers. Nine times out of ten I meet Krzysztof in Szklarska Poręba and there might have been an impression that he has been permanently rooted there. Anyway, he fits the background of The Giant Mountains and The Izerskie Mountains to a nicety. I rather think he is imprisoned and dependent on that very place. Besides, it can be seen straight off that his relationship with the landscape is somehow important because of certain choice that is at the same time his destiny. We wander together round the forests and mountains to eventually come back under the same roof we had set out. Though, it happens that we meet unexpectedly in the street of Warsaw. Such meetings are most often transient, there are no conditions for a quiet conversation; I hurry to my trifles, he is also in a hurry between an editor’s office, a publishing house and an art gallery. Then, it turns out that Krzysztof is a wondering artist. Why? Because it must have been difficult to live on breathing the mountain air and admiring the magnificent landscape. It might be as well due to a kind of inner sense of duty he must transfer the natural beauty of the mountain world he absorbs into the area of flat as a board lowlands. Amongst different kinds of wandering there is one called creative activity; wandering with a pencil, a pen or a brush on paper, canvas or board. As well as free wandering of thoughts that accompanies the process. I am not going to dwell upon the specialties of visual beauty Krzysztof deals with, but for regularity I must mention that his first language is print, black and white world, poetic signs and objects taken from truth and fairy tales. What are the specific signs and how they change in the process of creative quest we can observe at the exhibition. It is still worth noticing that the destination port of the artistic navigation is the world of colour. We can see how prints are changed in his workshop into paintings, although sometimes inversely, paintings into prints. The signs acquire colourful meaning or they get rid of it, wandering in search of their optimum in order to become desirable and useful fulfillment of our popular, prosaic reality – an illustration, a decoration, a dream written down.
Be very, very quiet, then you will see things Basho
A few years ago, quite unexpectedly, I found myself in an extemporaneous wood-engraver’s studio. First, I felt the smell of printing-ink, then in the next room, on the table, I saw Tibetan texts and drawings engraved on them. This short, not longer than fifteen minutes, visit there reminded me of the omnipresent smell, which greeted me as a stubborn candidate coming to the Graphic Department at Krakowskie Przedmieście. I entered the building like
a temple, expecting God knows what, apparently a kind of initiation, or crossing the threshold. Coming back to the event from before a few years, I was intensively occupied with “computing” i.e. making up for the arrears of that domain. I must admit that before I was able to do anything using keyboard and mouse I had undergone long and painful period of taming this tool when I really could not succeed at the first, second or third trial. At night my heated head was working over solutions to the consecutive technical problems. The stable, wooden block that simply lay on the table was clear-cut, tangible and it did not disappear due to wrong combination of keys at the trial of modernizing the system, as it happened to my and Hania’s files. It provoked. I was seized with a desire to get to the other side of technological contortions, at least for a moment, and deal with simple means of expression, print without printing industry. So I decided to alternate periods of computing with experience that could be defined as “ live with your hands”. I was not particularly interested in print defined as artistic but I was heading my attention towards applied print. I was very particular about things that can be useful for illustration. “Less is more” – that was essential for me. Reducing, using only black and white, showing a fragment in order to present the whole and most of all, creating signs of things rather than their virtual picture – these things have always attracted me. The chance to check the most primitive technique appeared soon when realizing the cycle “Mount Analogue”, referring by its title to the last, unfinished book by René Daumal. The story is about the sea voyage in search of the mountain that is higher than Mount Everest and is a kind of gate between visible and invisible, the mountain that “must have existed”. The participants of the expedition slowly realize the hidden meaning of their journey. The book is an allegory of a man taking the road to himself. I feel sure that such a journey towards our true self is also the most authentic way towards others, for the world extends both outside and within us. I changed my mind and decided not to illustrate the text. Being not involved in a particular order I committed myself to present my own suggestion concerning the topic. Similarly to the author of the book I am close to the matter of crossing the barriers of time and space, that is also the language, country, tribe, and most of all, approaching this what cannot be simply seen or heard even though it is. There are air travels, winged men, birds, the ocean full of undiscovered treasure, under-water voyages and trees, in my works. The world of imagination, archetypes i.e. primaeval pictures is the area that is perpetually being discovered. If a scientific laboratory is based on examining and explaining the matter, for me the most essential is investigating the interior. The goal is , like in fairy tales and myths, to understand. When it is possible to catch this what is born within silence the whole process is closing.