Paintings nobody has seen

Klaudia Kosziba in an interview with Joachim Fersengeld jr.

JF In the period after school, you’ve been creating abstract works using casting, printing via pressure, crumpling, and other methods/techniques.There’s clearly a similarity between the uncoded media of photography, which you’re using in your contemporary approach to painting, and the use of index - print that you’ve used in past. I’m interested in this in two ways: one, to inquire about the origin of preference for this kind of a sign, and two, how does it affect the self-concealment of the work - hence, what are the options of the uncoded? We can see that it allows the development of inner techniques, a gradation of some kind, compression of the work beyond the signs, or by distancing them. What are the inner techniques, and also, how did you get to them? An excessive difference between the inner and outer techniques is possible, and it’s possible to build it up and create in this way…

K2 I don’t know what you mean when you say method and what you mean by technique. For me, there’s always been this strong setting towards the material, its limited possibilities, perhaps also that’s why paper constituted the main technological domain after school - with the possibility to go to the threshold of the infra-thin milieu. There are at least two options - either you keep advancing by building up variations, or you set for yourself the method of obstacles. At the time it was very important for me not to create illusion on the surface. By crumpling the paper, some kind of moldable sheets are created, labile planes of various sizes with a strange and imperfect stability in space. It was basically mechanical work, which led to a transformation of the material. Nothing else was a concern, since the outer technique was incommensurate to the inner technique. Not being limited by a frame gave me substantial freedom, only later I’ve experimented with frame deformation for the painting in an effort to simulate a bilateral illusion. By abstraction, I’ve tried to divert the gaze from myself, basically I was shifting my own vulnerability into the hideout of invisibility. However, perfect disappearance of the author is a transcendental matter, as it were, but back then I was reflecting upon it more in the sense of transience of a work of art.

What were those inner techniques?

Unconditionality. I wanted to separate dailiness, albeit interesting, from the act of opening oneself up to art.

In my view, we can follow the line entwining the uncoded, thanks to which painting ‘after photography’ doesn’t turn out to be that much different compared to the works created on paper. I’d like to return to the origin of preference for this kind of a sign, using which we are able to follow the inner logic leading to painting after photography. At the same time, we can also transfer from the medium of photography to your work its sorrow, which originates in the fact that we always see that which no more is in it, and that is perhaps this very sorrow ascribed to your paintings…

By the means of photography, something specific has arisen. But the uncertainty connected with the intrusion of a memory has brought with it a certain blur and changed the appearance of things. The technique has changed, and therefore the method has changed as well. The reason why has it appeared only then and not sooner can probably be transferred onto a melancholic trait, transferred from life, and its specific discharge into seeing “within”, seeing “into”. It has attributes of irrational thinking, yet it isn’t mooniness. In the world-view of a melancholic person, everything turns around root-and-branch, crumbles and loses proportions. Melancholy casts doubt upon the dimensions of time, including the relation between the present and the past, often so while eliciting very contradictory states.

The “joy” of photography, as opposed to its sorrow, is its present. Do you also see this counterpart in your work? Perhaps this is where the humorous connects…

That’s not only a matter of past, it’s more of an applied sense experience. I’m not interested in photography because of the ‘photographiness’ moment, or because of the potentialities of photography as a medium. The blur, therefore, does not originate in my experience with this medium. The joy is in the theme, its choice is conveyed despite my possibilities and relentless corrections, which oftentimes divests me of the illusion that it is feasible.

That’s what captivates me about it: that in your painting, you create the sorrow of photography or of ‘that which is no more’ regardless if it’s a photograph, or a print. Technique, that particular attribute of technique as if materialized through you, not as if you were materializing it. You’ve created abstract artworks, once you’ve mentioned that it didn’t communicate this way. What influence does this concealment have on the process of creation of a work of art? Does the objectlessness allow for the development of inner techniques - by gradation, densification of the artwork beyond signs, or by distancing them?

It is kind of a minimum requirement. Concealment, hinting, conciseness, particularization are challenges which an attentive consciousness “senses”. Most likely it happens as an opposite to inflation, i.e. from more towards less, by ego suppression. The need to isolate the attractivity of communicability has to do also with deciding what do we want to pretend, to what extent will the art story be identical with the personal fate. Balancing sometimes leads to mediocrity, but that’s not what you asked about.

To swap full with empty and then keep on swapping on and on… Are there other permutations?

I’m not sure if it happens this way. Things sometimes have no relevance in the moment of their formation. But in the outcome, it probably counts.

I understand this transition from, let’s simply say, a non-depicting imprint to a depicting photograph, as a necessity to transfer methods accumulated on the inside. Was there present also a crisis of losing that which wasn’t bound?

Either techniques or life, if you will, can be realized in densification, but at certain point it begins to be too much… It is possible that those creative periods, we may refer to them as depicting or non-depicting, are preparations for change. Abstraction gets its application also in figuration. The switch between techniques manifests itself as re-evaluation in presence of negation. Although lately I’ve had the impression that it constitutes merely waiting for crisis.

I’m interested in that, for example, when I’m covering an area with points (which brings to mind your non-depicting period), I’m ¾ done covering it, when suddenly a significant change occurs within me, and so I continue in a different mode. Is the picture changing, or is the one after it changing; or is it just me who’s changing?

I think that even those things which seemingly aren’t concerned, that came before, are affected as well. You’re looking at it with an experience, which you didn’t have before. This absolute difference could have happened also within you while you were creating that thing.

I can imagine two basic ways. The first is that this is a purely inner technique (although we still haven’t defined it yet); I make points, but I’m thinking of triangles, so the difference (or significant change) happens thanks to an absolute discrepancy between the inner and outer manifestations. Or is it rather that: I’m thinking of triangles and I also make them, but I’m not doing it well? Is it, in your case, a matter of integration, or rather as much discrepancy as possible?

Integration, but with the possibility of transformation of the course of surrounding events. The inner technique is not defined between me and the painting, but in some wider field. This is probably also the source of my inability to repeatedly deal with just some detail hanging behind, although everything else is done perfectly or correctly. The painting is a whole. If I’m re-evaluating something, it’s always the entire picture, and therefore I can also comfortably deny it by totally covering it. However, it produces the conditions for something new to be formed, something which gains from it. It is interesting that in some paintings, there are five other paintings which are not related at all, but they refine the last one.

One of your paintings with a filled circle on empty background employs focus, similarly to a snapshot in photography, but here the space is blurred, as it often happens around the pose which we would - along with de Duvy ² - set as a counterpart to the snapshot. The surroundings here constitute an entirely empty canvas. I choose this painting because I think it inconspicuously blends together the principles which you’ve used individually in the first period after school, and in the second period after switching to photography. Is it possible to say that you have been creating entirely blurred reactions to the indexical uncodedness, some kind of protests against it, [or] its escalation?

That’s possible, but that was before digital imaging went into wide use. I recall some reactions which confronted the appearance of these large-format structural abstractions with the immaterial nature of digital structures, and it is strange that those were reactions from people who put their minds into programming in the beginning of the 90s. They recognized the intangibility and unintentionality.

So if I desire coded expression, but there are predetermined conditions of uncodedness, so I overreach and do it absolutely without code. In a lofty way, I could say that you’ve been working after photography back then (because of the merging of crumpling and uncodedness of indexical photography), that it was a matter of absolutely blurred photograph. Following such a path would entail the possibility of accentuating that you had to experience some breakdown of codedness.

Back then I didn’t see it this way. But it could’ve been, if not a crisis, then certainly some dilemma about how to deal with it. The last figurative intervention was concerned with the ambivalence of partnership and it is most likely that I needed to dampen its unbearable expressivity.

A follow-up question: does something static dominate thinking about abstraction, which would imply that you began to understand the picture more operatively, uncertainly (snapshot), as a field where absolute change, or rather, absolute exchange is possible. The humorous becomes tragical…

My reactions probably always happen in an opposite setting. I have always perceived the possibilities of painting as a position antagonistic to life. It seems to me that I still paint with the same feeling of awkwardness and cumbrousness, but at the same time it is connected also to some satisfaction for me - I have a good time while at it.

So we could say that you’ve perceived painting as something static in the first period…

There is no direct correlation to it. Especially since I have discovered perhaps the most fundamental “influences” on static painting for myself only after I have abandoned this basis. So, once again, it is reversed. And therefore I have not, until my 25th year, either discovered, confirmed or reflected Kiefer or Simon Hantaï, although I would’ve been able to connect up on it back then…

Do you consider them to be static?

You see, it’s not certain. It appears to be static, but it is the opposite. For me, it was probably static, as well as appeared static. That’s what started bugging me. Hantaï, for example, had devised a whole methodology of “crumpling” of a plane and he could accurately predict where will the technique take him. Unlike me.

But it seems to me that we’ve made a mistake after all, by designating your abstract phase as static. You painted structures and they disintegrated. That disintegration is uncontrollable.

For me it was processual methods, however presently I think I could’ve done it more radically. Observing this transformation from nothing to something is still the most interesting part of it.

Do you ponder upon the various degrees of sharpness/blurriness in respect to the motive?

What stays pronounced and what will be suppressed is, more or less, already contained in the motive itself.

Several degrees of blurriness are represented in the exhibition Recurrence: a New Substance. Let’s compare the paintings Draper Extract and Night Turn with a third painting: Votive Still Life, in which, so it seems, several methods are employed.

It has to do with spatiality and extension. In the first case it’s a certain pattern, with which I can do whatever I want and nothing happens, I am not applying a load to the picture space. When repainting with a brush, the motif was initially rather pronounced; in this phase, its anchoring was concerned. Then I have put the graininess of the substance itself into foreground. By adding ashes to the base, the painting got heavier and got ‘blurred’, and in the third phase, the whole scene has melted in the shiny brightness of yellow. The severalfold tipping over of the motif itself into the picture and maneuvering between the individual phases constitutes integration of the technique of emptying out. It should always have some kind of an extraordinary difficulty. The Night Turn has to do with the perspective of Labyrinths and is confronted with a dimly lit corner of an ancient cemetery, but in fact it is about an invisible force which bounces us into a world without vanity. In the third case, it is a sketch of a non-rewarding sacrifice with which the demand for a specific, yet unpredictably changing motif is fulfilled.

Votive Still Life implies an inquiry into how will crisis, help and acknowledgement manifest itself during the creative process? However, the “circuit” ends with the Night Turn - emphasis on the notion that this will all be recurring…

It was confirmed by the title only additionally. Recurrence - lightened by the appearance of fruit on the sacrificial ground is repetition in transformation, some kind of a trick. It’s a “technical” variant of the revelation. In transformation there’s also the trust that recurrence really works. That’s a good point for the atmosphere of the whole exhibition into which I have tried to implement, even despite more serious motives, something benign or even awkwardly charming.

From the position of a creating person, I see in painting the condition for one stroke to be everywhere at one moment. People have tricked this via photography, but that doesn’t mean such a mental condition ceases to exist. Maybe the inner techniques are a storage place for desires fulfilled by technicality, but not absorbed…

To think separately of that what really is separated is difficult. Articulation of desires, in my view, always takes place in the ambiguity of reality and in unexpected constellations, and therefore it resists development. It is resilience and awareness, unlike routine, which doesn’t subjugate us to any such adaptation.

Have you applied similar affairs as acknowledgements, crises, solutions before, or was it always just crises?

Crises for sure, but acknowledgement in this form wasn’t there.

Painting “after photography” is common nowadays, but I’m not sure if anything such as its perfect deployment/repainting has ever happened, since without revelation, in my view, it isn’t possible to even see the difference (and presence or absence of the code isn’t the biggest difference). You have used a photograph as a model for the whole picture during the painting process, as well as a model for just its detail, where you depict it. Can we trace a difference between the photograph and the painting here?

Which we can take from it? If you have a personal interest in photography as a model for painting, then we can talk about yielding one’s own life (in photography) into one’s own life (in painting) or about the motivation as for why even use any model. A painting after photography, in which the photograph is depicted as an object. In one case the transformation is such that it is only visible in the painting (photography is drawn back entirely) or it is only present there as a thing along with other things. Does it say more or less than a rock? Displaying materiality still attracts me, however I am much less attentive to details. Photography, to me, also represents coding within a restricted monochromatic scale. Watching only black-and-white television programs and the magic of developing black-and-white photographs in early age has probably left its mark on my future reservedness towards exuberant and insensible colourity. I’m also interested in: the imperfection/impreciseness that is unacceptable in the process of formation of photography, which is different from the imperfection/impreciseness in painting.

The colour is coding the image. You correct it via uncoded black-and-white photograph. Hence something such as colour and something such as black-and-white combination separates distinctively. Black-and-white is what depicts plasticity, it is something which, in essence, can even go against the surface, against the picture…

It cannot be said that I do gray paintings consistently. When photography yields into painting, it’s already too late to want to transfer something. It’s stretched in all directions. It ‘yields’ when an absolute difference is shown. For me, the picture is dependent on the influence of the whole. Most painters use photography in a more effective way, they make use more of this tension between photography and painting, but I’m interested in the moment when photography is no more present there. It depends on the degree of deformation, it’s not important whether it is exactly identical. One can work with various exclusions in composition, in layering, but I’m interested in how painting retains its effect across that same experience which photography has already given us once. The smooth surface of a photograph doesn’t suffer from magnification, you can even discover something remarkable there. In my view, painting doesn’t offer such a benefit. Its actuality rests in creating a real presence.

It could be said that by the total approval of the imperfection of photography, which you invent anew through painting, the photography itself gets lost.

For a certain period after the arrival of photography it appeared as if nothing can ever be more exactly depictive, although there still were efforts to “better” the artsiness of its appearance - by procedures similar to painting.That which later distances them perhaps happens right in that process of creating a photograph and creating a painting. By putting larger emphasis on the unintentional poor quality of photography, it is shown that it’s also some kind of dissimulation of technicality, so that’s where painting can reconnect again and finish its own exposure here.

You remind me of my teacher who was unsure whether he’s teaching at all. I have later realized that it was mostly his presence that was important, which was more invisible to him (that’s probably what his uncertainty stemmed from) than to us, the students. He encircled us with such a large space that enabled us to learn to walk (so large that we had to look only at our own insides), that we didn’t perceive him as something firm, yet despite this, he still was there… Can you say something about this? To be in a place, but actually not be there…

Producing this kind of uncertainty may affect someone in a rather perturbative way. Especially if they take this uncertainty unto themselves. It’s essentially terrifying to be confronted only with one’s own self. How to manifest uncertainty consistently when everyone manifests sovereignty? Pedagogy is quite benevolent, it lets itself be led into error by its helpfulness, because it believes that overall, nothing is absolutely erroneous. It is the usual tactic; to adapt to the consciousness of another, to identify with their point of view, so that the course of their passions is transformed or diverted. Being interested in disinterestedness, the art of small compromises or, if you will, presence in absence, ignites the soul to open and trust.

We are approaching the “richterian” techniques, which you use converted into methods of painting directed towards apparition, or revelation, in my view. If I had to say this in a simplified manner, two poles happen in the art history (oftentimes difficult to distinguish, perhaps only as a matter of one’s own desire): revelatory and technical, whereas a transfer of technical methods of image formation into the revelatory methods happens; I’d define this second set of methods as the affirmative, because it’s as if the follow-up image was getting entirely detached from them. The revelatory then either disintegrate, or what remains of them is, again, only the mere technical. They are not transferred as a whole - picture, although they allow for the period of exhaustion of variations to occur; “manufacturing” of pictures - a technical period. The art history is mostly a description of technical palingeneses, since the revelatory line does not follow up upon itself chronologically. So, it is not the images that are transferred, but the techniques. I gather that a transfer of “richterian” techniques into the whole of a revelatory picture happens in your painting. It means that the picture covers the traces of its creation after it, the reference of the signs is thus cancelled. You employ the techniques of smearing in the layer where their directness vanishes, in contrast to Gerhard Richter who employs them on the surface. When do you use them during painting? What is a revelation? Is there a difference to apparition? Does painting have a direction during painting? Does it have some kind of a culmination? (Would we say about direction that it is apparition and that the culmination is a revelation?) A revelatory picture may supposedly also be able to speak of its absence - isn’t it afraid of it?

For me, a sharp demarcation means easing up on awareness regarding something which was supposed to be more open to possibilities. Therefore it attracts more attention.The technique of smearing - blurring comes into play only at the end. Although the technical “smearing” is the last, it’s not the climax in the sense that it “just” connects. That which binds it together basically always precedes it. It is often by superimposing one painting over the other, by their separation via new background, by a new painting.

So what happens here is an active overlay as a resolution to create, as some kind of an insertion, a proof which the painting demands - and therefore the creation, too. The overlay isn’t mechanical, but rather it’s intermittent, as in crosshatching or weaving. You don’t have a technique - a way in which you’d make clear progress, but you’ve got to have had void integrated very well in the inner techniques. I couldn’t even proceed until I’ve defined the place where the picture doesn’t reside. Technique makes this much easier. I know how to define exactly where is the peripheral part where I’m not looking. I have the void in the picture, you have nowhere to “define” it in. You really have to experience the feeling that each and every stroke must be everywhere at once, over the course of each single painting session.

I have a rather fidgety awareness, perhaps that’s the reason.

And I thought that you have such a superb way of looking.

Perhaps it’s more of a super-sensitive inattentiveness.

So you have said that the smearing in the end is not some kind of a culmination, but rather it’s imbued onto revelation and you do it all at once.

It probably isn’t supposed to have the effect of breaking a border given by a sharp line, it should strike into the depths of a painting and have effect in all directions. There still may be given some direction, i.e. from one side to the other - that associates the presence of a technique a lot. Moreover, one needs to be careful as not to wipe it all off. If I don’t figure it out, then I have to do it over and over again. Often even entirely mechanically. In my view, the blurring and the revelations are unrelated. Actually, why have you fixated so much on the smearing?

To define that you don’t create as Richter does, to say that you transform it...

But perhaps the non-depicting abstract operations are realized in order to divert attention from what’s essential.

A revelation is actually a completely simple thing. It shows real as real. Today pictures stand in their own way, they hinder themselves. The revelatory picture is not always where people want it to be. Abstraction has taught you that it may happen later and in a different place. Were all paintings at the exhibition revelatory paintings?

Not all of them, but those that were have helped the others as well. Have you ever seen an exhibition by a single author where would all pictures be revelatory? It would therefore sometimes suit me to just exhibit one painting. And it would be of utmost suitability to me if even the book had revealed itself.

What is the revelation, then?

When the form and content turn over entirely and bring out even the last drop of emanation.

How does an entire picture ‘happen at once’? All forms begin to emanate at once…

You have magical power over it. I’m not sure if anyone had succeeded in doing it this way.

But just so we understand the actuality: until a painting is revealed, it’s as if you didn’t see that painting; there’s just a surface, some forms, but when the revelation comes, what you saw in that moment is there all at once; and it’s there just the same for the other, too. You finish exactly where another begins, but just because you’ve ‘been there longer’ doesn’t mean you see any more of it. Are you close to the painting then?

As close as possible.

So you actually almost don’t see it. I remember Barnett Newman. So we could say that painting has a direction.

The process of painting heads somewhere.

Not every creation has an end in revelation. Is it possible to continue even after the revelation?

Of course, that’s possible, but that would mean I probably didn’t notice the revelation.

What is your stance on distinguishability of the origin of a painting after photograph, do you sometimes want to emphasize it, or suppress it; or is the revelatory picture that which always disrupts this origin entirely? What techniques does it act by: is it right by the necessity of a relation between all the parts, by the impossibility of omitting or not deploying some of the parts? Overlay in the angels (note: paintings On the Journey I.-IV.) happens in multiple layers. It’s not certain in which layer is a particular part of a figure located, but it’s obvious that it’s not within one common layer. That speaks of the painting: that it happens, after all, necessarily outside of its signs in their interconnection, which cannot be used to retrospectively construe signs without losing the painting. The painting and the signs are set apart from each other. How far aloof from each other can they get?

It depends on how far you unleash them. I did four versions consecutively, in case one of them wasn’t comprehensible, since it was impossible from the very beginning to pay attention to the whole scene at once, and therefore necessary to omit minute details. Out of the four, perhaps one painting is revelatory, the others join it. In this case the symptoms are rather distant from each other, and besides that, one more model had played its part here: a black-and-white newspaper scrap which was a mere fragment of the original, discovered in an unlikely place. Setting the individual components apart had a prominent position in each of the paintings in order to emphasize something else. It wasn’t supposed to be either adoration of the original or iteration of an apocryphal story, nothing like that. It was more about emphasis on the experience, the touch, the flexuosity, and the real presence.

Do you use the experience with material as inner techniques?

That which occurs in the surface should not threaten the inattractivity which we spoke about.

...since after the revelation, this all becomes triggered. A total inversion happens, absence of the gaze and the painting gets there, too. Nevertheless I still don’t understand where in the algorithm is the absence/void/natural omittance when it comes to your paintings.

It has to be some kind of an exclusive alternation: present - absent - present - absent - present - absent…

I consider a loss in the layers to be an important factor in the process of creating, as well. Is this some oblivion/evanescence of sorts? What is the difference between a revelation and an illusion, though? What phases does an illusion have? In the paintings with angels, we see sad and joyful layers, similar to the alternation present in a rainy day which is, in the end, during the sunset, illuminated by sunlight. Let’s imagine such days in layer. We experience such layering also on a mountain ridge, when a faraway view alternates with a view that ends a couple of meters from us - in the mist. From awe to depression. So, the layers of painting are, in my view, connected to the coming and departure of a picture - to its algorithm. The painting is not always present, when/where does it “depart”, though? It can be said about these paintings, though: they contain this departure, as well. The phase of sadness is ascribed to departure, and the phase of joy is ascribed to arrival. What algorithms of present and absent (so various kinds of disintegrations) happen here? What phases of absence does a painting have, and is it possible to make those full as well? Why is it that the painting “demanded” today is always present in itself? Doesn’t this reduction of art/painting to an “information” unit originate precisely in the unarticulated fear of a loss of image, of a loss which it is difficult to integrate, which may be a simple mistake in education - an accidental omission...

On the contrary, it is by the constant emphasis on the loss of aura in the technical world. It is rare for someone to reflect upon it in this way, though. That’s why it can hardly be suggested by any educational institution. It’s good that this responsibility rests on the shoulders of individuals, otherwise it would lose its weight. You have asked: why does this particular painting leave in a way that it fills this departure, this omission, this empty phase as well. In my view, this is partly because it’s only a half of the scene which one was supposed to conceive in their imagination.

It is as if the painting was saying: great that I’m here; great that I’m not here. I deem it to be good that it’s inscribed in those layers, because absence can be just like the dark between two flashes of light. Does every painting have its revelation? I’m saying that it only has one expression, that it’s still the same, that it’s a return to awakening.

Painting is only a technique of awakening, too.

You often express yourself by one sentence applicable to two tenses - past/present and future/present. When does a painting become a divination?

It’s catching up on itself in my case - I talk about something which has long before been thought. It is some kind of predictability or foresight. Such a painting then goes beyond all three time dimensions at once and can “foreshow” the revelatory. That’s a quite sensitive matter.

You’re catching up by, for example, telling me now something that you wanted to say a week ago, but you say it now in an inadequate situation, according to you. It is possible that you perhaps just express yourself by using one sentence applicable in two tenses - and only you deem it inadequate. You know how to say it so it’s certain. You didn’t say it back then, but now you say it - however the overlap can still be felt in it. Can you control the inadequate as well?

I do not prepare it for the occasion. But I probably know how to control the “inadequate” better than how to hit the right moment and on the first try.

So the divination is present in the painting… Isn’t that a double-tensed sentence as well, actually?

Sometimes it flashes through in this way, but I don’t assess it as soothsaying, and absolutely not with some kind of a negative or positive phase. Prophetic - in the sense of being actually present in both tenses - I only realize the present. I do not perceive it as a warning, it just has a different character or way in which it comes up. Ideally it’s not a “frowning”, ambiguously imperfect, black-and-white experience, but prescient knowledge that can also play with errors.

Sadness in your paintings… Yes, but also trust which is the goal of communication, and information is a mere arabesque to it… Can the “want” actually be put into the painting?

It can, if you’re not afraid! In the trust which is given, there is also some kind of infatuation, which only spirit is capable of. The advantage of an altruistic approach to creating isn’t lost, it just gets refined and moves from admired to the admirable. However, by getting rid of all fears, we miss out on the possibility of solace.

Is it always just the advantageousness that gets in the way? I’m attempting to clarify the terms regarding revelation, because I see that we have almost no vocabulary. We don’t want to voice the most precious without triggering the same in the second…

Aesthetic categories used to exist once, which served to name that which is concealed; categories that also contained some kind of an ethical dimension. For example “good” in some sense, but if we want to relate it to appearance, then probably “Grace”, “Sublime” and their nebulous categories “that, I don’t know what” and “almost nothing” as equivalents to the normative and static beauty, denoting the unnameable, that which nothing specific can be claimed about.They point to the multitude of meanings of the disappearing and unreachable, they are bound to fictitiousness and incessant change. “Almost nothing” is that uncertainty which inconspicuously fits itself among clear words, and sets up a state of almost metaphysical emptiness.

At the same time it’s not a matter of finding the exact terms. It’s more to circle about it so that we can then be quiet for a while…That is probably articulated the best in those paintings with the angel. You have mentioned a period when the appellations were still closely connected to visuality; cathedrals come to mind.

For me, they pop up already as ruins during the formation of a painting. Few people believe that this turnover happens implicitly much earlier, that I don’t intentionally choose motifs, reverse side of which I would revel in. But perhaps that’s the view others have of me, not of what I do. When you focus on a ruin, you enter yourself. You get ahead of the destructive force of time and in your fantasy you destroy also the houses in which you dwell. You are the last person left in the world. Silence and solitude is everywhere.

The relationship between ruins and transience is ambiguous; on the one hand, time stops for the viewer; on the other hand, the passage of time leaves its marks. These marks are bound to spatiality and are conspicuous. From this, many term pairs can be derived, such as the interior and exterior of the buildings open to heavens, or the antagonism of living and non-living nature (plants and rocks). It is no coincidence that the symbology of the ruins relates to contemporary relativism, exoticism, interest in the past and secularization of the sublime. For instance, despite that transcendence was waning due to materialism of the ideals of the Enlightenment, an aspiration for some immutable quality was still present nevertheless. Although it is not the same kind of turnover as with a mystical experience - when the unspeakability, unnameability refers to a different world, presented via strong visions, parables and vague abstractions - it’s still a guide on the journey to one’s own awakening.

I once had a dream with an illuminated street (it’s linked to the ruins theme). I felt happiness and joy that it all came down. At the same time I knew that it’s temporary, because chaos will soon take over. Is this how you contemplate ruins?

It’s not mere sentimental fancifulness for the symbology of that which came through destruction. How would this requirement relate to the painting itself? What’s the equivalent for the imperfection of a ruin in painting? Would it be picture of a ruin? Under certain circumstances that’s enough. How should a painting which is to become the base for something new look? Could interminability, or the inability to finish telling it, “solve” this? It’s probably inter-linked with artist’s life as well, it gets more authenticity this way. For me, it perhaps means the instances of artists who “let it all come down” at the time of best (creative) condition.

Labyrinth represents a complementarity where sun pierces through onto the genesis of something in the picture of “ruins”. It appears approximately in the center of the painting, whereas its surroundings are “undepicting”. That implies coming of the picture into/out of gaze which is already looking at the undepicting base. The surrounding area is an expanded space of the gaze. It fills it, but depicts nothing, besides creating some sort of an environment for the gaze. The “unaimed for” allows the painting to “reveal itself” to a gaze which doesn’t see anything. The painting arrives from the same place for both the viewer and the author - out of “not-seeing”. The undepicting surroundings are ambiguous here, though: it is what allows “getting to see” (which “sees no further” - “sees no more”), but at the same time represents loss of image - a crisis (of getting lost) bound to sight. How can we distinguish what phase it is? Is it the ruin which is dead, or the ruin which “is coming to life”? Now, with not seeing/not seeing far enough, we can only rely on the surface - on the picture. At the same time, labyrinth shows that it isn’t formed by the exact, we could say, controlled method, meaning that we would get lost in it, perhaps a long time ago, because when it begins to crumble, sight is not going to help us to leave it. Therefore, painting says that it’s just in sight, but at the same time that it isn’t enough. Another way is necessary. An angel will give us a hand…

Generally, labyrinth includes the possibility to find a way outside. I imagine it on a circular floor plan, although it may have a different shape, as well. A maze impedes more, it retracts more. Once we are in a maze, or rather, once we think we are in a maze, when we come out of it, nothing is solved by it, we need help (guidance) of another quality. A total turn-over, a total transformation.

You put a request as well as an option there: if there is a way to do it, then do it. In my view, it reciprocates perfectly with the seeing and not-seeing. There is a base, where we see, and then don’t see again. If we come back to that ruin which has various alternations, and within them, a phase of illumination and breakdown as well. Hence we must come to awakening by another method.

There’s some kind of a healing expedience to it, when we’re able to navigate in these turns, get back, dodge obstacles in order to be able to try all the roads. It also requires some degree of spontaneity. Everything that’s provisional, everything that leads to something else, already emanates a sort of metaphysical negation of the previous. Effort, then, means to want everything together, to want a goal and to want means, which are a goal in reverse.

We have seen ruins as alternated between their elements, at first. Then, the whole picture proceeds to another alternation of presence and absence in itself

Ruin has become some kind of a repeating sign where you are unable to hang onto almost any corner or sharp delineation, as it is with the fabric. But then, on the other hand, there’s also the overview aspect to it; it is exactly the rapture out of the state of inertia, out of stagnation under the rubble of time. So it’s not a dead-end situation which the infinite alternation would evoke.

You said that the imprint on fabric is imperfect, ruinous, non-revelatory for you.

Yes, but it catches up on it in the missing parts, even something that originally wasn’t there happens.

Then in the ruin paintings, there are layers of giving and withholding image, so they’re formed in-depth. In a fabric, it’s opened up widely, but here you’re repeating the complementary principle as well - to give and take, it describes the painting and the technique itself a bit. What’s the difference between these two variants of complementarity?

To keep the entire exhibition in such permanent permutation probably wasn’t a mechanism that I’d have planned upfront. I permute it straight away, I make use of it. It would be interesting if there were more spaces in which these complementarities could get even denser. It doesn’t matter whether these works relate thematically, the algorithm is already there.

It’s a miracle that you have endured until the moment when the object has returned. The first phase after the phase of departure (disadvantage) is illumination. That may fill the space of the painting and, as a principle, also other paintings.

Desire of the object is a talisman of the world which it transcends in consciousness. Sometimes it appears only in the title of the painting in order to give meaning to something which, although it was present in the painting, was unnamed, transmuted to a state.

I see an example in nature: her use of grey and green. By the end of winter, green is the most beautiful colour on coniferous trees which stayed in the forest, cleaned from fallen branches and thus forming fuzzy boscage, almost like mirrors. What are the mirrors in painting?That’s the first relationship, of green and grey. The second one is that in such a grey environment, when even the sky is still grey (but not covered with a too thick layer of clouds) we can see that it is suitable for green to be in an environment of grey light. Then it can glow in its typically “green” way. It’s a similar necessity that yellow has when it requires direct sunlight and that blue, which will stand out in the dark, has as well, The third relationship (of grey and green) is that green is formed by connecting yellow and blue in such a ratio that they do not yet slump into greyness, it is, therefore, a degree before non-colour. To paint with such colour scheme requires, in my view, to create very delicate circumstances of what is to become highlights and shadows on the angels. Please, tell me more about this connection - what is it like to work in this colour scheme? How do you work with the green - blue combination? What are the difficulties of the monochrome?

Reflecting the landscape with a mirror was supposed to be a hint at this problem. How to work with the monochrome, which is represented by a mirror slanted so that it doesn’t show anything, in a space full of meaningfulness of the green and the blue, when at the same time it shows its own muted, unmanifested potentiality? A distant mirror is clear (in its meaning).The painting with a round mirror in landscape was also supposed to be a part of the exhibition, but in the end I have replaced it in the book with a paradox of a mirror, which reflects an incomplete picture lacking integrity, because it doesn’t have a contiguous reflective surface and at the same time shows what is behind it.

The mirror glows with flashes of white and black. That’s also present in the mirror version where a concealed figure appears in monochrome. What captivates me about monochrome is that it naturally calls for colour. Your monochromes have colour in them, it’s a similar experience to when the whole forest is covered in snow, we’re getting lost in all the white and white is getting lost itself, but the eye projects colours onto its retina anyway. The highlights in the mirror (mirror’s luster) are a metaphor related to painting.

Painting isn’t a window. This illusion isn’t enough anymore. The mirror is a metaphor for dimensions opening up. When I was painting the surface of an imperfect mirror, I thought exactly of this possibility. The essentials doesn’t change.

It came to my mind: you could place that photograph of yourself with the mirror in the beginning as well as in the ending of the book. Similarly as with the ambiguity of the ruins we talked about, or as with birth and destruction. Here the photograph is joyful, illuminated by light, yet in a different variant it stands for departure, for negative ruins, for decay.

Is it not negative in this case, even when it’s completely illuminated (omen of destruction)? When the light coming from the mirror covers most of the view, everything vanishes, there is only light. I don’t feel that it’s all falling apart, it’s more like a replacement.

If there was just one, then use the less blinding one, pasted in the beginning. It could be a different type of paper, too.

This is the only photograph in the book that should be black-and-white.

No, definitely a counterpoint! A complication of the relationship between blue and green, set against black, white, and grey, alternating with lustrous black, lustrous grey, lustrous white.

And the photograph could be just a sticker on the cover.

I have a piece of paper, like that white reflective circle. I can give it to you as a sample. It could be used on the cover and the photograph would be inserted in it. From glow to absolute shadow. The colourful photo would reside in the chatoyant parts. That would work perfectly. Excitingly. Title: named after the exhibition.

I’d hide that inside.