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The works of Małgorzata (Malwina) Niespodziewana are a reflection on the subject of humanity, a quest for the answer who a human being is, where they come from, where they head for. They speak of experiencing solitude, but at the same time of human existence in relation to and for others. A starting point for such a reflection is the body. Feelings are manifested in the body, they shape it, therefore only through a real body we can see what is invisible. The invisible in Malwina’s works is displayed by means of analysing various roles of the existing body. The figures on the graphics become the Faun, the Empress, the Butterfly, the Black Angel, the Hypnos. They have something from archetypical model, which reiterates invariably in each of us despite our hope to preserve our individuality.
In these pictures two feelings alternate with each other - the sense of uniqueness and being subordinated to this invisible power that is beyond us. Extremely intimate ceremonies of everyday life reveal another face becoming universal rituals which we need to confront to. Showing this tension, Malwina’s works have something from statuesque monumentalism and dignity, and at the same time they can be in such an unusual way intimate.
The figures from Malwina’s graphics search for the answer to a question about their identity. For that reason the issue of ‘gender’, recurring in the artist’s works, plays such significant part. The artist interprets this concept as a state of indefinableness, being somewhere beyond what is clear and definite, exceeding all the limitations connected with any identification, especially sexual identification. Each of us can be whoever they choose and unceasingly create themselves again and again. If there is something invariable and defined in a human being worth noticing, it should be searched for in the sphere of common-for-all instincts and emotions. Thus the form of Malwina’s works refers to primitive art, in which we want to perceive a record of primitive truths about a human being. The simplicity of form reveals as well through sophisticated drawing, based on harmonious lines describing whole elements of a composition or serving as ornaments.
In Malwina’s latest works, the ornament has started to rise in importance. The ornament could be a sketch of blood vessels, which allows the body to expose its physical dimension. The ornament could be facial features or grimaces, which express particular feelings or emotional states. The ornament could also be fingerprints, a sketch of a brain, the structure of a tear. In the works of Malwina the ornament performs its primitive, magical, mysterylike function. It is a picture of nature forces which drive a human being, a symbol of vitality and a sign of primitive beliefs and rituals. Flowers become symbols of gender and eroticism. The bodies of the figures become covered with ritual tattoos deriving from Polish folk ornamentation. The artist has discovered for her the ornamentation of Polish province in Japan, when visiting the antipodes of western civilisation. From that perspective she was able to discover the value of ‘folklore’, which Europe has been identifying since romanticism with what is ‘beyond’ culture, and with what is natural and primitive.
In pursuit of her own vision of a man Malwina enters new areas of search. An important element of artistic creation becomes three-dimensional figures made of paper which look like exterior coating - human costume. Sewing figures is for Malwina yet another ceremony, the ceremony of the return to her childhood – a recollection of ‘Singer’sewing machine in her home, of her grandmother, who foresaw a career of a good dressmaker for Malwina. The creation of coatings – costumes is above all an act of a demiurge who brings into existence figures, gives them identity, leads them into the space of two-dimensional graphic works. There is an androgyne among them, but also a pregnant woman and a little child. In that way Malwina tries to experience the process of transformation, defining subjectivity, the mystery of life.
The works of Malwina are an exceptionally subtle, metaphorical sketch of self-portrait. This self-portrait cannot be finished, it constantly undergoes changes together with the artist. Referring to her personal experience and emotions, Malwina is able to find there universal truths. That is what determines the value of her creation.
Andrzej Szczerski
Małgorzata Malwina Niespodziewana Serce/Dusza/Ciało Herz/Seele/Körper. Grafiki 1998-2003 Graphiken 1998-2003, wyd. Jan Fejkiel Gallery, Kraków 2003