Interview: Jacek Limanowka
Luca Curci talks with Jacek Limanowka during VISIONS, third appointment of ANIMA MUNDI 2022, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.
Jacek Limanowka is an Adelaide-based artist working primarily in oil on canvas. He has been painting for nearly 30 years following a life-changing accident. His practice is used as a means to heal him emotionally throughout his ongoing recovery. Jacek Limanowka was born in Krakow, Poland in 1959. As a young boy, he travelled a lot with his mother and sister and visited many galleries around Europe. This early exposure to art had quite a formative impact on him. From their earliest years at primary school, his talent for art was noted by his teachers and he became known for his work with colour. As his schooling progressed, he became more focused on art and often managed to skip school to visit the many galleries and museums in Krakow and to gain exposure to different styles of art. Jacek’s sister was also artistic in nature and an accomplished practitioner in the restoration of antique art. Jacek claims that she was his ‘worst’ critic. Jacek migrated to Australia in 1980 and worked in many restaurants before becoming a chef in 1984. Realising that the world of art and design was where he wished to concentrate his life, in 1990 Jacek decided to undertake a range of studies, culminating in an, as yet incomplete, Bachelor of Design in Human Environments at the Underdale College of Advanced Education’s School of Design, later the University of South Australia. Jacek loved the course which included subjects such as; Human Environments, Life Drawing, Theory of Colour, History of Art and Principles of Design. He was particularly interested in Design, which was taught by Stuart Gulth. During this period, Jacek created a number of well-designed paintings, among which is a favourite and one that he considers the first of his signature pieces “Trinity”.
Luca Curci – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
Jacek Limanowka – In February of 1988, whilst travelling from work Jacek was involved in a serious car accident. The car caught fire and Jacek was trapped in the burning vehicle. Seriously injured, Jacek spent many months in “hell” recovering at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. He had deep burns to 40% of his body and nearly lost his arm due to deep lacerations. The physical scars are still very much there as witnesses to his trauma. Because of his “frozen arm” but also as a form of emotional release, Jacek took up painting for occupational therapy. From the very start Jacek’s paintings were very “unusual”; vivid, colourful oils and pastels, including “UnderwaterWorld” and “Dream”
LC – What are your thoughts while you paint? Do you have any habits or rituals while you work?
JL – I don’t think. This is a real art to learn not to think. So I don’t have any thoughts when I paint.
LC – Do you use art to express something in particular? Is it your medium of expression?
JL – For me art is a therapy which became a habit, to put it simply I’m addicted to it.
LC – How do you feel when you see your work completed?
JL – My work is never completed. It’s a never-ending process.
LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the exhibition’s theme?
JL – Over the years Jacek’s art has become more abstract and he has focused on the meditative aspect of art. He experimented with colour frequencies in different styles. The results have been shown in exhibitions like “Eternal Rhythms” and “Studies for Meditations”. In Jacek’s words: “How is a form made – it follows a rhythm. There is an underlying rhythm to everything: a heartbeat, ideas, brain function, the earth has rhythms, seasons, and multi-millennium changes. Certain sounds can change the environment around you. If frequencies are found in sounds and frequencies are found in colour then if I paint with colour frequencies I can change the environment! Van Gogh used short strokes of colour and line to express short frequencies – waves, the basis of creation. Plato expressed his thought about the Anima Mundi in the Timaeus, “this world is indeed a living being endowed with a soul and intelligence… a single visible living entity containing all other living entities, which by their nature are all related”. And Jacek’s work fits in beautifully with this theme!
LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
JL – There is a rhythm to each season. I tried to capture autumn rhythm that is the colours, and shapes of autumn.