Interview: Joanna Wojtal-Kalinowska
Luca Curci talks with Joanna Wojtal-Kalinowska during BARCELONA CONTEMPORARY 2021, 2nd Edition, at Valid World Hall Gallery.
My name is and my creative work includes drawing, painting and nature photography. I live on the edge between Poland where I was born and graduated in landscape architecture and in the arts, and Berlin which makes me feel thrilled. Perhaps it is nature photography that is my core inspiration. In the wonderland of forests, parks and meadows, I search for the truth and the eternal beauty. Following my path, I unveil various emotions, desires, thoughts, memories and precognitions. I wander between dreams and daydreams, though unknown landscapes and spaces. In my drawings in the swarm of lines, one can notice the shapes of faces and bodies, the silhouettes of animals and plants, the forms which are not been discovered yet. There it is the unsatiable nature in the variety of shapes and possibilities – over-plants, quasi-animals, human hybrids. The lines cease to be lines drawn by ink pen, they turned into arteries and veins, building a new body, new space. Each drawing tries to provoke and seduce a viewer. Indeed, it is a game, a labyrinth full of meanings and symbols. There are so many ways to exit my labyrinth, each of them is correct if it becomes intuitive. There are so many feelings and revelations one can experience while contemplating my work. That is why a viewer is my co-creator.
Luca Curci – Which subject are you working on?
Joanna Wojtal-Kalinowska – The main source of my inspiration, as well as the subject of my works, is nature which fascinates me with its unbridled strength, variability and unpredictability. However, I do not try to blindly imitate nature. I’d rather let myself be guided or even seduced by it. My artworks evoke different figures, new shapes and organic forms coming from the world of plants, animals or humans that penetrate each other and create completely new beings, a new organism.
LC – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
JWK – In fact, I have been drawing and painting, mainly animals, since I was a child. My passion for nature and art pushed me to study landscape architecture. I started to capture wild nature in photos and improve my painting skills. That’s why I decided to take postgraduate studies in painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow in Poland which I graduated in 2019. It was very important for me in terms of technique and inspirational experience because I got to know also another artist. By creating green spaces as a landscape architect and also working with a photographic lens I developed a different perspective on the surrounding world. Nature, animals, people, emotions, details, light, sounds connect with each other and leave in my memory unforgettable traces which then come back when I create a new image.
LC – Which is the role the artist plays in society? And contemporary art?
JWK – In my opinion, the artist plays a unique role in society. She/he is the one who is more sensitive than others. The one who can transform her/his personal impressions, emotions and phantasies into something universal, and maybe something eternal. The role of the artist is to provoke other people to reflect, feel, to interpret the surrounding world in various, sometimes unexpected ways. Everybody has the potential to create but it is the artist who is able to wake it up. Today it is very easy to find art: we have social media, the open access to museums and galleries. Contemporary art gives the artist and the viewer a full sense of freedom: freedom of opinion, freedom of choice, freedom of interpretation, freedom of forms of self-expression and creative expression… The feeling of freedom that a person needs in all aspects of life. Besides, I believe that contemporary art also broadens the perspective of thinking, perceiving or understanding reality. In my artworks, I try to come back to nature, to something very basic and understandable by all. Nature is our common language, our organic microcosmos.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
JWK – As I have said before, my art is rooted in nature, which, as I feel, might be our common language. And the art is for me a kind of visual poetry. It can at once open and close various spaces, emotions, memories, stories or premonitions. When I create, it is my internal journey through various spectra of feelings, desires, thoughts, a journey between reality and dreams, through unknown landscapes. Each artwork is a separate, individual journey, a kind of labyrinth to be explored. What’s more, it is also my private visual diary in which I embody my secrets. In my drawings, one can find shapes of faces and bodies, silhouettes of animals and plants, or completely new, yet undiscovered, even by me, forms. Here it is the insatiable nature in a variety of shapes and possibilities – beings, quasi-animals, quasi-humans. The lines have ceased to be lines drawn with ink and instead, have turned into arteries and veins.
LC – Do visitors’ suggestions enrich yourself and your art?
JWK – Yes, I really like to listen to visitors’ suggestions. They not only enrich me but also often give me a new, fresh look at my own artwork. The new interpretations discovered by viewers inspire me to further creative experiments. Each drawing tries to provoke and seduce a viewer. Indeed, it is a game, a labyrinth full of meanings and symbols. There are so many ways to exit my labyrinth, each of them is correct if it becomes intuitive. There are so many feelings and revelations one can experience while contemplating my work. That is why a viewer is also my co-creator.
LC – We were attracted by your last artistic production, has the artwork presented been created for the festival or as a part of preexisting works?
JWK – I’m very pleased to hear it. The artworks presented at the festival were not created specifically for it, but are part of the already existing series of my artworks on the subject of nature. You can also see my other works on Instagram: @joanna.wojtal.ka_art
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
JWK – Yes, I liked your vision of art very much, and I was intrigued and interested in the scope of the festival. That is why I decided to submit my work to be a part of it.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
JWK – The ITSLIQUID is a very professional platform focused on the creative sector, which brings together many artistic areas, such as art, architecture, design, fashion. Exhibitions and events are very well organized in the galleries which are located in different parts of the world and the art can be presented in many places at the highest level. I think every artist is looking for professionalism.
LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
JWK – I am very impressed by your organization of the events. The exhibitions are well arranged, there is a great contact with artists and press and a lot of photo and film documentation. And I have to mention that the ambience of your exhibition is also fantastic.
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
JWK – I am very open to all kinds of cooperation with you and I look forward to hearing from you about new possibilities of it. In my opinion, your services are at the highest level, with very quick e-mail contact and competent and factual answers to questions.