Anna Orłowska’s projects express her fascination with mental, ideological constructs that may have a material dimension – they are embodied in the form of material items or objects. One such most permanent form is architecture, a spatial expression of an idea, exerting a long-term impact on the quality of life.
In the course of her residency, Orłowska was inspired to create the Soft Facade project by the buildings of Sopot, its verandas, various styles of windows and facades. The initial idea of forming the city’s structure, bound by restrictive regulations yet nonetheless enabling all kinds of finishing touches, apparently unlocking ingenuity. In the artist’s own words, it made her think of the unrestrained and unlimited imagination of a child, expressed with innocent enthusiasm. “This resort is a fantasy, a play, a sand castle.”
Orłowska’s approach to her own creative process is similar, as she does not engage in an in-depth analysis of the symbolism of each item or plan the final outcome right away, instead observing and working intuitively, to some extent playing with and delighting in art.
For a long time, Orłowska has been dying fabrics with iron, whose ore is abundant in a spring close to her family home in Silesia, and thus this distinctive color naturally evokes childhood memories. This is also the case with the Soft Facade project, where the artist uses colors and their combinations as observed in nature. She creates concrete objects, weaving photographic elements into them. As a form of expression, she considers image alone insufficient. As a result, she seeks to find the spatiality and dynamics of the structures from which she draws inspiration.
A group of teenagers, actually adolescents, spend time on the beach, occupying themselves with some kind of activity, a game, a task. At first glance, the scene seems perfectly ordinary, but at a certain point, this tame image, seen many times, begins to arouse visual doubt, and thus opens up a vast number of possible planes of interpretation. In his works, Orski often uses the element of ambiguity, presenting seemingly trivial images that nonetheless force a detailed analysis after a while, transforming their form into a precisely planned performance.
The avalanche of ideas and questions about why this situation has arisen, and the attempt to understand what it constitutes and why it has assumed such a monumental form, introduces a state of unease.
It causes a flurry of thoughts leading to many possible inapparent solutions, to leave the viewer with pockets full of frustrating questions and dilemmas.
The author treats the seemingly idyllic image perversely as a metaphorical commentary on modern times, while lending it a kind of universalism that becomes a mourning for this idyll, a melancholy look at a new generation, with a sense of loss and a reverie on the inevitability of changes and disappointments that lie ahead of them.
Freezing the event in time in a single photograph and showcasing it in a huge, exaggerated form detaches it from reality, endowing it with an ethereal atmosphere and poetic lyricism. Paradoxically, one can find a feeling of harmony and peace in this form of expression and discover in oneself a sensitivity to the beauty of change.
Using the language of photographic imagery, Visvaldas Morkevičius has developed a project based on personal experiences that are characteristically self-reflective – an analysis of one’s feelings, behavior and fears, while searching for their causes. Inspired by Carl Gustav Jung’s philosophy and his archetype of the Shadow, Morkevičius creates dark, contrasting images. He does so using simple everyday objects, random places, seemingly dead and expressionless, which, thanks to the form of photography adopted by the artist, become symbols of his emotions in their aggressiveness, repetitiveness, and disorder. Jung defines the Shadow as a subconscious, suppressed part of one’s personality characterized by negative and instinctive attributes – it can be considered a kind of stigma. It operates behind the curtain of our desires and perceptions, and at the same time determines the way we form relationships with the world and often creates internal tension that is difficult to bear. Suppressing or ignoring this aspect of one’s character enhances its destructiveness.
The second part of the whole and also the opposite of the Shadow is the Persona. This is the conscious side of one’s personality, which one shapes as a result of socialization and as a response to one’s need for acceptance; it enables one to conform to the demands of the surrounding world, but also to one’s own expectations and patterns. It is a kind of metaphorical mask shown to others, which deftly conceals one’s true nature. It is an emanation of character traits that one wants to identify with, believe in and project outwardly.
Murmurs is the Morkevičius’s attempt to confront the hidden and difficult layer of one’s psyche, to seek acceptance and conscious integration of its essence. The shadow has its own potential.