Interview: Raf Tarnawski
Luca Curci talks with Raf Tarnawski during Venice International Art Fair 2020 and Fragmented Identities, second appointment of BORDERS Art Fair 2020 at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
Raf Tarnawski was born 1953 in Wrocław, Poland. In 1976 he moved to Lund, Sweden, where he graduated from the School of Graphic Design and spent several years working with photography, graphics, illustration and advertising. In 2006 he returned back to Warsaw, Poland to study sculpture techniques at the at the Academy of Arts in Professor P. Gawron’s workshop. Since then, he has been sculpting full-time and has exhibited his work regularly in multiple solo and group exhibitions. Raf creates the lightening rods to diffuse stress and an escape route from daily desolation. His sculptures are vessels that are filled with emotions and desires: the joy of encounter, heat of the setting sun, or yearning for what might be. He wants to bring order and understanding of basic values that comes from aesthetics and beauty.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Raf Tarnawski – I see art as a means of communication. A universal form of communication, on a higher plane. The plane of aesthetics and beauty – that ethereal entity that is the basis of our universe and which lends meaning to our existence. It is, and should be, the tool with which we can bring order in our lives.
LC – Which subject are you working on?
RT – I create the lightening rod to diffuse stress and an escape route from daily desolation. My sculptures are vessels thatI fill with emotions and desires: the joy of encounter, heat of the setting sun, or yearning for what might be. They always contain a part of myself, a fragment of my life. I work with the human body as the best way to express its natural emotions and beauty.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
RT – In fact, I am not looking for it, it seems that it is inspiration that often finds me instead . It is a kind of feeling that can come at any time. It is nourished by my memory, by my dreams and desires. It comes throughout the eyes of others, throughout their smiles, emotions, throughout a rain or a storm. There is always a tiny spark of inspiration in each of these things. You just have to notice it for a flame to burst out of it.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
RT – One can be an artist in many ways. It also depends on what one wants to achieve as an artist – fame, money, self-realization or maybe just to have fun … It’s hard to say. But it is not easy. It never has been easy to be an artist. Now, in the times of the Internet, we have at least the opportunity to show our work to a very wide audience. It helps. I took up sculpture quite late in my present life. And now actually, I don’t sculpt to live, but I live to sculpt.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
RT – Yes, I think so. But it’s rather natural. When we master the techniques better and have more and more technical possibilities, it is much easier to transform and make real our mental pictures. I have improved my technique over time, so now I can penetrate better and deeper into the structure and perceive matter better.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this festival? In which way did it inspire you?
RT – There is one sentence in the exhibition program that fits perfectly with my works: “… through an immersive experience inside the fascinating universe of the complex labyrinths of our consciousness.The human body is a changing system that connects us with other bodies and spaces to perceive the surrounding reality; a strong communication system with its own language and infinite ways of expression.” This concept is exactly what I am communicating with my works. We are labyrinths living in a labyrinth of space. The whole universe is beneath our skin. Only when we realize it and accept it we will be able to have this game called life.
LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the festival’s theme?
RT – I’ve been fascinated by the complexity and depth of the structure of connections within ourselves and with the entire external world. It is enough to see my sculptures to realize it. I have a whole collection of my sculptures named “Entangled” – see https://raftarnawski.eu/entangled/
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
RT – It’s very good. For a long time I’ve been looking for and checking various platforms for artist and actually ITSLIQUID was the first one I found reliable and giving me good opportunities to be part of world wide art.
LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
RT – Unfortunately, I could not come to the opening of the event, but considering the current situation around the world, I am very pleased with the way the preparations were carried out and the good quality of communication between the organizers and me.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
RT – Yes, of course. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here 🙂