Interview: Joanna Guzowska
Luca Curci talks with Joanna Guzowska during BODYSPACES, first appointment of CANVAS CONTEMPORARY ART FAIR, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello, and during SUPERNATURAL at THE LINE London.
“My name is Joanna Guzowska. I live and create in Poland. I am an archaeologist, and I have also worked as a stylist, an interior decorator and a producer of photo sessions in a lifestyle magazine. The opportunity to touch several professions in my life gives me now a deeper insight into artistic work. Archaeological studies have given me a glimpse into the depths of history. Working as a fashion stylist and photo shooting producent, I worked with many different people and professions. This allowed me to understand the importance of self-awareness and taught me to perceive the human body and personality. Creating artwork developed in me a sensitivity to different realities. I have also been involved in creating and decorating interiors, which has taught me the importance of harmony. This is also what I look for in my paintings. Not yet having known that I would like to paint, I have subconsciously chosen professions that allowed me to notice more, experience more and analyze deeply the space around me. I am fascinated by cities as chronicles of human history that undergo transformation through time. I paint abstractions, but I also draw inspiration from my beloved Art Deco period. I work mainly with oil paints. I have taken part in several outdoor painting workshops in Rome, Venice, Athens and Malta, as well as in several local exhibitions. My works are in private hands in Poland and abroad. I also sell paintings at auctions in auction houses in Poland. ” – Joanna Guzowska
Luca Curci – What s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
Joanna Guzowska – I draw inspiration from travel. I love big metropolises, Art Deco buildings, and futuristic skyscrapers. I store their shapes in the abyss of my memory like travel souvenirs, only to find them later, unexpectedly, on the canvas. I am also fascinated by time and us-immersed in it. I have studied archaeology which taught me to appreciate every fragment of the time lived, the building in which the stories of generations are hidden.
LC – What are your thoughts while you paint? Do you have any habits or rituals while you work?
JG – My studio is my very intimate place. Entering it is like entering the inside of my head. My notes, figurines of monkeys which I collect, books and albums about my favourite artists, and scented candles I bring from travels, remind me of places I have visited. All this is of great importance to me, it creates a harmonious whole that affects me when I paint. I bought one scented candle, named “Palazzo” , in Venice, right after the “Bodyspaces” opening. When I light it, I remember the wonderful Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello and the amazing moments I experienced there. And, of course, no art can be created without the assistance of my French bulldog Coco, who accompanies me, sleeping in her chair.
LC – How do you choose your subjects? Is it a reasoned or an instinctive process?
JG – For me, painting is a form of meditation, when all parts of me have a chance to hear each other. I immerse myself in my thoughts, feelings and desires, they create the canvas. I have an impression that it s like writing a book: you start creating and you never know where it will lead you. When I take a brush in my hand, I start a new adventure. At times I know how I want the painting to look like, and I know what I would like to achieve, and nonetheless, I am surprised by what I meet at the end of the road.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
JG – The world in which we live and create is difficult to define today. On the one hand, the multitude of all experiences is huge, and on the other hand, we try to make everything easier, simpler, and faster, at all costs. We live in a world of consumerism and artificial intelligence, we are constantly racing against time. And yet we need time to create something that will delight. Sadness and joy, light and darkness: in order to create emotions one must first find them inside, immerse oneself in them, and take time to translate them so that the other person who looks at the picture feels them too. In my opinion, being an artist is being yourself. I believe that only when we are real when we follow our needs to express ourselves and what is inside us, we are really in our work.
LC – Which art themes do you pursue? What is your preferred subject, if there is any?
JG – There are three categories in my work:
-what I love: Art déco has always fascinated me. In my previous lives (I strongly believe I had at least one), I must have lived in the Art Deco period. I had fun at Gatsby’s parties and drank champagne with Tamara Lempicka. When I look today at the dresses from those times in museums, at the photographs of those interiors, I feel my heart beat faster. My art déco paintings are nostalgia for the life I don’t even know had ever happened.
-what I feel: the images that are born under the influence of lived moments, experiences and emotions. For example, the series “Love in Times of plague” (four of these paintings have been exhibited in Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello) reflects my feelings, my fears from the days of pandemic Fear, Loneliness, Love and Hope.
-my own realities. All it takes is an impulse, a frame from a movie, an amazing combination of colours in clothes, a dream full of unreal events or a painting by a beloved artist. I created the painting “City of Artists/2019” after visiting the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice. The presence of my master’s paintings gave rise to the idea of what would happen if I invited them to my imagination.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the exhibition?
JG – The theme of the “BODYSPACES” exhibition is very close to me. Man is a whole: body, mind and soul. I have the impression that today’s times predispose us, humans to separate these three elements. In a world where we can experiment, invent and create ourselves in the virtual world when we can choose our body, age and gender, we multiply our personality and create new beings. And these entities create new realities. It is a fascinating world, a world of a million faces, and an unlimited number of possibilities. But it is difficult not to get lost. This is a world of illusion. Only when we think about it deeper, when we find harmony in ourselves, the unity of body, soul and mind, do we feel connected with nature and when we are reconciled with time, we realize that we fully exist.
LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
JG – My paintings at the “BODYSPACES” exhibition are two couples representing the cycle “Love in Times of Plague”. After the world had stopped during the pandemic, there were so many thoughts, fears, so much loneliness and hope. So much longing for the presence of another person. The masks that became our everyday life made me realize that we used to wear invisible masks before. I needed to transfer the emotions to canvas. And the emotions gave birth to people. The outlines of their bodies are transferred to the painting, the time recorded in their clothes that are a chronicle of their lives, their work, passions, travels and dreams, and, above all, feelings. When I painted those couples, I already knew who they were. A woman, once a famous ballerina, now a ballet teacher. People are stuck in a speeding carousel of time. And there is also this couple, lost in the rush of everyday life. People from next door. Someone we envy: people full of self-awareness, with clearly defined goals in life, with bodies trained by exercise and souls trained by meditations. But deep inside full of despair, resignation and pain, full of love for each other, and yet just saying goodbye to each other.
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us What do you think about our services?
JG – Cooperation with Itsliquid is a meeting of professionalism and passion. Very cordial contact, help and care for the artist.
LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
JG – The exhibition has been organized with great care, the organisers made sure that each artist felt special and yet had a feeling of togetherness. The choice of artists to participate in the exhibition was very interesting. It has been a great assembly of creators representing various fields of art.
LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP?
JG – People are very important to me, they create the place. For me, the Itsliquid Group is primarily people who, in a very professional way, create a space for each artist to feel special and be able to tell their story. In Venice this year, during the BODYSPACES exhibition, I had the pleasure to meet the Itsliquid Group for the first time. Venice is a place every artist dreams of. I’m thrilled that thanks to participation in this event, I had the opportunity to meet art and artists from various corners of the world.