Where is painting?

July 06, 2012 - September 15, 2012

The exhibition presents young artists from Painters Space Studio of Leon Tarsewicz and Pawel Susid. "Painting has always accompanied the human race: from times immemorial, from the first manmade visual modification of the surrounding reality. Painting seems as natural as breathing, walking or making love. It is the first, virginal gesture describing reality. It precedes speech or scripture. Children explore the world by means of colours and images before they are taught to read and write and having mastered the alphabet they seem to give up some of their spontaneous freedom and autonomy. Anyone could paint had he or she continued art education started at school. Of course, it does not mean that anyone could become an artist. Likewise, not everybody who is literate is destined to become a writer or a poet. It is the intellectual content and message which are essential to creativity and not the media used to convey them.

Contemporary artists have so many media at their disposal as potential instruments of creativity that, paradoxically, selecting the optimal one has become a challenge. And, alas, it often happens that a young artist concentrates on the medium rather than artistic content in the fundamentally mistaken belief that it is modern media that make modern art. It is worthy of note that the great masters of the past, Michelangelo for example, explored multimedia approaches and employed various techniques. The multitude of media that are available today and appear so easy to use may inspire doubts about the rationality of sticking to the traditional medium of painting. Such doubts are bound to surface with an increasing frequency as we seem incapable of following and controlling the rapid development of technology. Therefore the choice of medium best suited to one's artistic expression is vital.

Despite criticism directed against it throughout history, painting has always managed to find its place. Successive generations of artists have proven the news of its demise premature. In Poland, such art groups as Gruppa, Grupa Ładnie ("Group Pretty") or "zmęczeni rzeczywistością" ("Tired with Reality") have produced exquisite paintings which have become part of the canon of Polish contemporary art. Never before did Polish painters have such a profound influence on current European art.

Since the foundation of the Painterly Space Studio at the Faculty of Media Art and Set Design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, I have attempted, in collaboration with Paweł Susid, to find a suitable domain for painting, a painterly space so to speak, in modern art; to develop a painterly language which could not be substituted for with other technologies. The virginal, colourful sign hand-made by the painter has emerged as the fundamental and indispensable element of the young artist's work. The adepts have made painting their medium of choice and they try to find a new space for it. Therefore, today we introduce to you a select group of young painters who have participated with us on this creative expedition. There is no final answer to the question of painting's current place. But this is precisely the reason it remains so fresh, attractive, and full of promise: so much so that we have remained faithful to painting."

Curator Professor Leon Tarasewicz


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