As I mentioned previously, I would like this blog to serve not only as information about the residence in Bialystok, but also function as a place for information about contemporary Polish artists, Polish art in general, Polish culture, music, food, as well as regional information about Bialystok and Podlaskie province – of course, stuff you won’t find in most guidebooks or art books (in English).
Today, I present Leon Tarasewicz, one of the most interesting contemporary Polish painters. Leon Tarasewicz comes from the village Walily in the Podlaskie province located near the eastern border with Belarus. He was born on March 14, 1957 and continues to reside in Walily. He studied at the Fine Art Academy in Warsaw (1979-1984) and debuted in Galeria Foksal in 1984. Since then, his work has been widely exhibited in Poland and around the world.
Tarasewicz’s work challenges the ideas of what painting and art are. His paintings are monumental, architectural installations, where the viewer is not a passive viewer – we are able to physically experience the “paintings”. These works exceed the traditional understanding of painting. In his work, painting in not limited to the canvas – it covers floors (like at the Venice Biennale in 2001), pillars, ceilings, entire walls. It isn’t flat, but three-dimensional. Some installations are like mazes, where the viewer literally gets lost in the painting – or maybe the comparison should be to a fun house; the artist uses the architecture of his paintings along with mirrors to completely disorient the viewer.
There is a lot more I could write about this artist, but I think this is enough for today.
I hope this inspires you in your own work.
Just a reminder that there only 3 more days left to apply for the Art Factory Bialystok residence this summer. The deadline is a postmark deadline, which means you must mail the application by Jan. 16. If for some reason you cannot make it by that deadline, but you really, really want to apply, please email me. I will probably give you a few more days.
Two more things:
1. I am in the process for applying for a grant that I hope will help lower the costs for artists this year. Please keep your fingers crossed.
2. I’ve decided to nix the trip to Biebrza National Park, and instead we will go to Warsaw for three days. We will visit museums and hopefully meet some interesting people in the Polish art world. I think this will be much more useful and educational.
Soon I will feature some contemporary Polish artists.
I was in Warsaw on Tuesday. Originally, I had planned to go to the Retooling Residencies Res Artis conference, but I also had to take care of some things at the U.S. Consulate and only had one day in Warsaw – actually, more like a few hours. I have a 5 month old son, so everything, including going to Warsaw, is a bit more complicated. The plan was that we (my husband, son and I) would go to the embassy, take care of what needed to be taken care of – Consular Report of Birth, Passport and Social Security card applications for my son and myself (renewal) – and then I would go to the conference while my husband took care of my son. Easy enough in theory, but in practice it turned out that everything took a whole lot longer than we had anticipated. On top of that my son’s been teething (but no teeth yet), so he’s been a bit cranky. Going to the conference would have been impossible and a bit selfish.
One thing that always hits me when I am in Warsaw is how different it feels from Białystok. Warsaw is like any big capital in the sense that it has this feeling of people rushing and a fast pace of life. It seems like there is almost no place to breathe there. Białystok is definitely a much slower, more lazy city, which is exactly what I love it for. For most of my life, I lived in Chicago, and now I realize why my life since moving here feels like I live in a completely different world, because in many ways it is.
This is exactly why having an artist residence in Białystok makes sense – artists and writers can come here and take a breather from their worlds.