Marzena Nowak

16 Mar - 30 Apr 2011

© Marzena Nowak
untitled, 2011
Acrylic on canvas
200 x 110 cm, each
16 March - 30 April, 2011

With subtle structures, Marzena Nowak creates memorable works that conceptually approach the sensual and the sensitive. This appears in the meticulous geometry of her new paintings as well as in the sparing repetitive gestures of her body-related videos and in the reductive alienation of the Real in her objects and installations. The artist abstracts and minimizes, she orients herself toward the intermediate and empty spaces in order to expose the uncertain, the inaudible, and the ephemeral. The crossing over between artistic media is thereby associated with a balancing act between the psychologically ephemeral and the physically tangible.

With the help of her own body, which she utilises fragmented in her videos, Marzena Nowak refers with sensitive gestures of repetition to the relational network of contrary mental and corporal conditions and experiences, such as endearment and pain, proximity and distance, internalization and externalization. Memories of monotonous, everyday childhood experiences resonate and allude to the correlations between personal experiences and societal parameters. In her new video, the looped image of a tiring and, time and again, precipitously irritable hand mediates the interplay between dream and reality, between the obliviousness of sleep and alert self-control. As though the hand was following a choreography, in which sinking into internal seclusion and the contrary attempt to find support in external reality incessantly slide into each other. The oscillation of human sensitivity and emotionality between conscious and unconscious, between emphaticness and loss of control, finds here a memorable symbol, which in its allusion to the change from day and night also addresses the passing of time.

Marzena Nowak also seeks out the ambiguity of emotion in everyday historical and socio-cultural references when she transforms the entry room of the gallery into an ostensibly domestic, intimate atmosphere through a carpet and circulating wall moulding. Yet, the carpet is merely a fragment, its form characterizes the space between two sofas, so that its presence recalls the absence of furniture and liveability. And upon further reflection, the circulating wood moulding emerges as a requisite that should protect the wall from human traces and thereby possesses a bodily resistant role. So, this space suggests a homeliness that at once appears broken and is able to induce critical reflections on internalized perceptions about room and body.

In some works, the visualization of emotion and time go hand in hand. This also becomes meaningful in regard to those new paintings that consist of precisely painted, colourful, geometric structures and recall the repetitive, ornamental patterns of carpets. It is by no coincidence that these paintings occur on a graphically prepared area and, significantly, the artist appropriates the gestures of repetition as her painterly concept, that, nevertheless, flows into a dynamically pulsating and spatially irritating colour web. Field for field, painted little by little, each image appears like a puzzle of time with agglomerations and blank spaces. As the primary means of emotional expression, the colour is here subject to a systematic abstraction, but that still allows for the coincidental and the unpredictable space. In this way Marzena Nowak deliberately keeps the play with the psyche and the unconscious open.

Rainer Fuchs

Tags: Marzena Nowak, Rainer Fetting