/+ - ∞
/Esprit de corps
/Living Rooms
/a fleeting peripheral phenomenon
/Places of Sacrifice

/Maria Szymańska-Korejwo, Ciało doskonale czarne.
/Aurelia Nowak, Sanatorium.
/Laundry Lung interview by Joanne Ambia.

/Agata Dąbrowska, Ciało - obiekt - relikwia.
/Aleksandra Gieczys-Jurszo, W pułapce subiektywizmu.
/Joanna Tokarczyk, Artysta jako genius loci.



Maria Szymańska-Korejwo, Blackbody

            The exhibition Natalia Szostak. Blackbody displays the artist’s latest work. In order to achieve the greatest possible authenticity of visual expression, Natalia Szostak uses a broad array of devices via such genres as painting, drawing, graphic art, video, object and mixed techniques.

The painting Forest Scene I, part of a painting triptych that shows three different situations against a forest backdrop, was an important factor for the project’s origin. These are threads taken from the artist’s personal biography, but their role is not just simply narrative, rather it is an attempt to illustrate ideas that transcend the categories of one’s own biography, that exist, as it were, beyond a certain place and time. The first painting in the series shows a forest landscape, above which we can see a black square–another important exhibition motif. A black square, a circle and a cross appear in a number of works here, surrounded by gently outlined depictions of nature: forest plants and animals, a smouldering bonfire. These are symbols of borrowed from Kazimir Malevich’s “feelings of the world as non-objectivity,” which take on a multidimensional, transcendental and elusive dimension in their new context.

Threads blend and intertwine: the artist’s actual medical experiences pertaining to her own body that make her art distinctively personal; the issue of corporeality as an inseparable part of the organic, which is subject to its laws and limitations, but still full of barely felt existential mysteries; an attempt to make out the essence of experiences on the borderline between material reality and the metaphysical world and to express it with visual means. Biographical motifs come up in many of the compositions, which often combine abstract and representational elements, often their form alludes to a religious subtext that accompanies the secular subject matter of the evoked situations, places and events. At the semantic level we can be intrigued by the recurring attributes of nature, especially the motif of the forest: a holy, mysterious and timeless place in the “borderland between worlds,” a symbol of the soul, of Mother Earth that provides shelter and safety, complemented by the soothing properties of its “fruit”: medicinal herbs. On the other hand the forest, as a kingdom of wild animals that is not subject to human control and as the “domain of supernatural beings,” reveals the tempting threat of communing with the sphere of the irrational that leads to anxiety or fear of going astray or getting lost in the unknown. We also experience this semantic dualism when we look at another motif that is important in Natalia Szostak’s art: the motif of light, the source of all visibility, the symbol of God, life and happiness, which can also be a flame that brings destruction or infernal suffering.

Natalia Szostak’s self-reflective art, full of solemnity, serenity and intimacy is an individual projection of psychological states onto practically every medium available today. Her art triggers a kind of emotional tension, a certain nostalgic musing about the complexity and ephemerality of the human condition and the inevitability of passing.

The title Blackbody is a term borrowed from quantum physics that denotes an idealised body that absorbs all incident electromagnetic radiation; such a body does not exist in reality. Therefore, it serves the descriptive role of a phenomenon known only as a hypothesis and is a counterpoise to everything that is material, visual and terrestrial.



Natalia Szostak. Blackbody

curator: Maria Szymańska-Korejwo
National Museum in Gdansk / Gdańska Galeria Fotografii