Jacek Swigulski
paintings / drawings



Hotel Grand Gallery, Łódź, Poland, Perceived – exhibition of painting



Jacek Świgulski paintings presented in the gallery have been created over several years from 2009 (Bathing she, Sleeping she or A Dreamer) to 2013, when the artist painted the entire series entitled Cats.


The first impression that the paintings gathered in the exhibition evoke is a sense of a great diversity. The impression remains strong despite a consistent style and strong creative personality of the artist. It is clear that the paintings belong to different periods and cycles in the works of Jacek Świgulski. Some of them are developing and closing earlier issues of interest to him while others are open to new possibilities and artistic research. They share a common feature, though. They are a visual proof of a painter balancing between two concepts of a work of art: a psychological and phenomenological one. And the balancing is an ongoing study on whether the image is „an extension of thought and experience of its creator”, or an object produced by the artist’s intention, which converts the matter, which is its foundation. A painting entitled Dancing she is an extremely readable, even literal confirmation of the artistic struggles and choices, maybe even an artistic confession, or as the artist emphasizes a kind of a self-portrait. The painting shows a tightrope walker wearing a harlequin costume struggling to keep balance. The image is the key to artist’s paintings ordering and linking together all the objects presented in the exhibition. It explains the co-existence of compositions like A dream or A talk next to the Cats cycle.


Perceived – the title of the exhibition seems to be significant as well – the very form of the verb suggests the end of a process. The process, the source of which lies in the surrounding world and the end result is a selected and processed by the artist fragment present on the canvas, is shown as a sign, synthesis, an elusive note. The sign in a condensed form is subject to painting and compositional efforts.


The number of objects extracted from the surrounding reality and transferred by the artist to the surface of a painting is small. Sometimes it is a single human figure or two heavily stylized ones slanting towards each other or a stain of colour, which suggests an outline shape of an animal or object. The artist’s full attention focuses on them, therefore the recipient’s as well.


This quantitative synthesis is perfectly suited to the form of Jacek Świgulski visual works. Compositionally they are extremely clean and clear. The painter uses a flat patch of colour, often distinguishing shapes with clearly marked lines, thus reducing the shapes to the simplest, explicitly clear signs. This allows objects and characters depicted on the abstract, devoid of references to the reality background, become meaningful. Suspended in an indefinite space, as if they existed at various levels, the paintings are a kind of cut-outs in which individual elements abstracted from the real world have been compiled into a new artistic story.


The artist is not afraid of striking and strong colour combinations. Sometimes subtle, pastel colours are combined with broken and soiled ochre and sometimes dark, deep, almost black background of his paintings bring out even more patches of pure resounding colour. It is the colour of a very high impact and intensity which attracts and invites a recipient to submit to the excitement of artistic works by Jacek Świgulski.


Anna Niedzielska
translation: Agata Matusiak