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  • Writer's pictureErwina Ziomkowska

Funny games, interview for BWA in Katowice, Poland/ part one

Updated: Apr 22, 2021

Marta Lisok: You studied at the painting department of the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice. What were you doing before you started working with paper rolls?

Erwina Ziomkowska: During my studies, I went a long way of workshop and formal research, which as a result led to a turning point where, paradoxically, I found the "extension" I had been looking for in limitations. And so, in stages, I first gave up texture, in favor of flat monochrome works (broken only by slight defects), to images that gave up color, in favor of white and light problems, leading the speech into areas of subtle nuance.

Marta Lisok: Where did the interest in the paper come from?

Erwina Ziomkowska: Unlike canvas, paper has a number of limitations. Technically, it is much more fragile and susceptible to any deformation. Focusing on restrictions and limitations, I had the impression that I would achieve the truth, so coarse, without embellishments, no pretending, it was supposed to be monotonous, and therefore real. I had a strong motivation to understand the so-called "miracle of creation", which is already at its root marked by progressive destruction. I was interested in the absurdity of the conjugated relationship between creation and destruction. There is, after all, something of a sadistic excitement in this ambivalence, a deviation that presupposes sophisticated entertainment, based on the rules of destruction.

In such an understanding, the properties of paper such as incompleteness and instability have acquired value in themselves. Additionally, I liked the fact that the meaning of matter (paper) was devalued, devoid of the esteem of other artistic means. This added even more simplicity, provoking associations with the pathetic truth about the impermanence and irrelevance of existence in general.

Marta Lisok: You define your works as "disorders". How can they be defined?

Erwina Ziomkowska: In relation to rolls, a disturbance as a kind of unnatural disturbance that prevents proper functioning is reflected in the inversion of the properties and purpose of the matter used. And this, in turn, becomes the basis for the activation of meanings that are normally absent or imperceptible. The paper I use is a material with certain standard-defined properties that, under the influence of interference, have been irreversibly transformed. Suddenly the matter, which in consciousness functions as something smooth, with a certain stiffness and strength, took over the properties of a completely different object, more like fabric. The internal structure has been redefined so strongly that paper has become a perverse product, far removed from the ideas and functions assigned to it. There is, however, something attractive about this imperfection, which in a way makes it unique. It's the kind of handicap that becomes an asset. Imagine you are touching the paper and it suddenly feels like material. Instinctively seeing an object we are used to defining it on the basis of the information we have, therefore this change of properties is a kind of perverse game with the existing structure of awareness of our perception.

Marta Lisok: Your works are created during a long process of piercing.

Erwina Ziomkowska: The puncture appeared by accident, in connection with other activities, in perspective I just noticed it in an abstract way, something like a flash of consciousness. This resulted in a series of compositionally thought-out works, the only line of which was to deepen the already strong frustration. As a result, it provoked a radicalization of activities, leading me to recommend the decision to reject the form in favor of the puncture itself.

Before the rolls were created, for some time I was looking for a way to reflect the idea of ​​transformation resulting from the extraordinary simplicity of action, which would gain strength only when it was repeated. However, the tests with the tools I used in drawing and painting were unsatisfactory. I was disturbed by the strangeness of the traces, their color and the complexity resulting from the way tools were used. I needed something much simpler, which would render a clear, pure act of interference (without individualization) at the stage of action. I wanted simplicity, but which would not be without intensity, it was about transforming the structure of structure in a matter-integrated manner.

The need for justification made the attempt of the thieves' authenticity with the help of "mutated" tools (without additional means, speeding up the process), i.e. those that are left by individual people. By this I wanted to show the importance of an individual gesture, which has acquired a symbolic meaning here. Interference in space has therefore become a kind of naturally professed initiation, an introduced matter into the process of changes.

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