Marzena Nowak, A Bright, Bright Day

July 7, 2014

 Opening: 9.05.2014,  6 pm

12.05.-13.06.2014

Curator: Katarzyna Krysiak

Marzena Nowak’s art is developing with great consistency. She makes extraordinarily sensitive use of media such as painting, drawing, photography, spatial objects and video. Her projects are characterised by a subtle, lucid and cohesive creative language, constructed not only on the strength of her personal experiences and a profound analysis of her states of emotion and feeling, but also on her penetratingly insightful observation of reality.

In thematic terms, Nowak’s exhibition at the Foksal expands upon her earlier explorations. The title, A Bright, Bright Day, is drawn from Andrei Tarkovsky’s The Mirror, a film with a poetically structured plot manipulated by means of the fantasies and recollections of the central character. A Bright, Bright Day was one of the working titles for the film and, at one and the same time, the title of a poem which features in it and was written by ArsenyTarkovsky, the director’s father.

The question of the processes of remembering and the relationship between imagination and memory is one which preys upon Nowak. On the one hand, she undertakes an endeavour to systematise the combination of images, sounds, meanings and mechanisms affecting the way reality is perceived.On the other hand, she invokes the natural, human inclination, or need, to escape into the sphere of the imagination and, by the same token, she exposes the flaws of our fantasy-distorted memory.

Nowak induces the viewer to look interiorly. Using the delicately sleepy motion of eyes closing, she emphasises perception’s emotive dimension. She constructs works which are ‘after-images’ of real objects, manipulated images which are no longer what they seem. Removed from their original context, they take on new meanings, suspended between reality and dream. 

Marzena Nowak made her debut at the Foksal in 2003 with Cutouts, an exhibition showing her project for her finals at Warsaw’s Academy of Fine Arts. In 2004, she worked with the Foksal again, this time on her Red Square Dance exhibition. In recent years, though, her work has more often been seen in numerous esteemed museums and galleries abroad.

She has had solo shows in venues such as the Factory der Kunsthalle Krems (Krems, 2012), the Salzburger Kunstverein (Salzburg, 2011), the Mezzanine Gallery (Vienna, 2012) and on several occasions at the Galerija Gregor Podnar (Berlin and Ljubljana), to name but a few.

She has also taken part in a number of significant group exhibitions, including Beyond the Process at the Kunstraum Innsbruck (Innsbruck, 2014), Twisted Entities at the Museum Morsbroich (Leverkusen, 2013), Reflecting Fashion and Museum of Desires, both at MUMOK, the Museum Moderner Kunst (Vienna, 2012 and 2011), There Has Been No Future, There Will Be No Past at the ISCP, (New York, 2010) and a three-artist show at the Konrad Fischer Galerie, (Düsseldorf, 2009).

Nowak’s last major solo show in Poland was to, held at the Signs of the Times Centre of Contemporary Art in Toruń in 2011. Over the past few years, her works have also been shown at the Splendour of Textiles exhibition at the Zachęta National Gallery of Art (Warsaw, 2013), the Drawing is coming back in a big way[1] exhibition at the Galeria Arsenał (Białystok, 2012) and the New Order exhibition at the Art Stations Foundation, (Poznań, 2011). She is one of the artists featured in the As You Can See. Polish Art Today exhibition currently running at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. 

Her works can be found amongst the holdings of MUMOK in Vienna and in two more of that city’s prestigious collections, namely, the EVN Collection and the Lenikus Collection. They are also held in numerous private collections.

[1] Translation of the exhibition title as provided by Galeria Arsenał at http://galeria-arsenal.pl/wystawy/rysunek-wraca-w-wielkim-stylu.html, retrieved on 8th May 2014 – translator’s note.