texts from the catalogue of the 'Painters toolkit' exhibition, which took place at the Municipal Gallery in Bydgoszcz in April 2018


Our body has such a structure that when we look back, we immediately lose sight of the direction and point we are heading towards. Although it disappears (the beginning of the end) from the field of vision, its afterimage remains and overlaps with the memories that shape our memory.
The process of forgetting would therefore be a simultaneous loss of the past and the future, as well as a temporary selection of what is important and what is not.
Living and looking back, seeing the past determines - together with our eyes - the direction of the face, and thus the taste, smells, touch...
The kind of post-modern game of "feeling in reverse" in Alicja Kubicka's works combines the past "time of looking" with the reworked and conscious "time of seeing". It is yet another look at what already happened - and what, in relation to the reacting and feeling body, is in a continuum of "lasting time", as being involved in what is "behind".
Therefore, an important but not the only direction of her search is to reveal the consequences of the dominance of the sense of sight in the history of culture, as well as of the important relationships between visual experience and its content.
By creating, she addresses the problem of self-thematism - in constant deconstruction and reconstruction of modern and post-modern visual tradition.
In her work, what we look at is what Alicja sees and what Others have already experienced before. Also the issues of the medium and self-referentiality, combined with Julia Kristeva's intertextuality, presented by her, allows us, the viewers, to see the reality belonging to the Other, trying to see it through its eyes. By opening up to dialogue in this way, Alicja's imagination re-reads and revives what remains and is important. The disillusioning treatments she used reveal the fictious character of the world se had seen and depicted earlier. In this situation, the image becomes a kind of a game of conventions and does not refer mimetically to reality, but essentially to its image.
A frame from Michelangelo Antonioni's film Blowup, USA, Great Britain, Italy, 1966.
1. Movement
(from the text accompanying the diploma thesis)
Julio Cortázar, like Marcel Duchamp, understood art as a kind of game that not only overlaps with politics, but also goes further than social activism, forcing the viewer to suddently change their feelings.
It is not surprising, then, that the author of the script for Blowup wrote that you can never become something you don't know. This thought is of the utmost importance in the work of Alicja, also important in the work of the thinkers who inspire her.
The reflection on the creation of images, which carries traces of power, is also a learning of "seeing oneself consciously" and one's own meaning or appointment. In approaching the self-awareness of the painting gesture, the artist also draws her inspiration from the film, from her reading by Michelangelo Antonioni Blowup. The work that has become important in the process of assimilating the principles of loss of meaning so that it can appear elsewhere.
However, unlike the mail character (Thomas), in order to "capture the vision", Alicja gets us closer to her in order to see our times, places and knowledge acquired. Although from a distance human experiences seem to be similar, in her paintings, due to their colourfulness, they appear differently than banal "always".
In the film, the protagonist photographs a scene in a park, and its cheerful atmosphere seems to him to be what he expects from the photographs he would like to finish his album, that has just been prepared, with. However, the series of photographs reveals the drama of the events taking place there. The medium used by the protagonist and the director of the film creates a drawer structure from the perspective of a male gaze.
The narcissistic attitude of the protagonist, as well as of the viewer identified with him, is confronted with lack. The disappearance of the body from the park, as well as of the photographs documenting the moment of the drama, make us realise that now there's no evidence of the incident.
An unproven crime remains in the powerlessness of expression of the awakened Thomas. Is it so with the work of Alicja?
Unlike Antonioni, it is separated from the film structure of the image. Painting gestures, margins on rectangular stretchers are again given meaning by her.
The artist does not go for an album, like Thomas, but creates a catalogue. Believing that this moment of realizing the crossing of visibility (recognition), is like a contact with the absolute.
The director of Blowup was not such a believer. Just like Pieter Bruegel the Elder, when in "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus" he painted an almost invisible corpse of "Abel" in a thicket of trees. He also places the hidden corpse in front of the figure of the leading "plougher in red". The one who will create a message about what happened - culture.
It is a difficult knowledge to realise that he sees who survived.
In many cases, paradoxically, it is "non power" that is the inspiration for expressing and proving to others the truth of cognition, but the pain they feel.
Because unlike Maurice Merleau-Ponty's tomeless body, as long as her body is alive: she is on her period, she eats and expels, she may be blind since birth; then she is able to feel and learn to react. Because still something happens that becomes so close, so noticeable, that it becomes "me".
Alicja, through her catalogue, makes us aware that she already knows that "the blowup essentially blurs the image and, instead of zooming in, distorts it, degrades it, deprives it of its quality".
We can wish her that, together with the perceived loss, the degraded, through her presence, would change tenderly into the "uttered".

Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, Death Seminar B, 2005 http://withreferencetodeath.philippocock.net/blog/rasdjarmrearnsook-araya-reading-corpses-to-female-corpses-2005/
2. Knots
In Alicja's work, "staring" emanates melancholy. It is only somewhere on the borders of recognition that the structure of a painting reconciles the "physical" with the imagined. The action of going "beyond" - into the unknown - is also the work on the real - so that imagination, by transforming matter, would change its earlier meanings.
By tying time and materialised fiction together, the artist woven the image of the viewer that breathes life into a painting into an excess that arises. She confronts it with a number of experiences reacting to thickenings resulting from the places of "bonds". From exaggerations built by re-trying to combine what has been broken. That which does not remain in the communication of message and understanding, including consent - resistance to power, which, in spite of the rules of life, is realised at the expense of others and their small chances of survival.
So what are these knotted thickenings, cracks and interruptions - that which is empty... in reality, they only seem to be the paint and substrate applied, but for Alicja, they are the "phisicality of the inexpressible". The materiality associated with the memory of images, as well as with the recognised places of events that one can say they exist because they do not exist.
This is similarly reflected in a work by Jeff Koons, Play-Doh. Looking at the installation, we can only see the huge shape of the shapeless, expressive pieces of coloured plastic. Trying to recognise the content in the shape, we go back to our childhood with our memory. To the period of contact with the surface of the space as if it were a plastic mass to play with. Now, having a different body, we realise that in the process of recognition we also discover ourselves, being as inalienable part of the gigantic form.
So Alicja, getting to know the "other side of the mirror", is determined to face the "image" as an area of politics, privacy... of personal dillemas, as well as human dramas. She still is like a child, amazed by the world - as well as m i x e d with it.

Jeff Koons, Play-Doh installation, polychrome aluminium 312,4 x 383,5 x 348 cm, 5 unique versions, 1994-2014, Newport Street Gallery, London, photo by Sławomir Lipncki, 2016
Catalogue, framed reproductions of the artist's paintings, site-specific installation, Colony of Artists in Gdańsk (appendix to the diploma), photo by Alicja Kubicka, 2017
Catalogue, framed reproductions of the artist's paintings, site-specific installation, Colony of Artists in Gdańsk (appendix to the diploma), photo by Alicja Kubicka, 2017

dr hab. Sławomir Lipnicki

Chatty canvases, or the rhetoric of painting

In the case of thinking about painting, it is extremely important not to try to pin a painting down with words. Painting is an anchor point, a space, a research area; it is such a kind of activity that allows to turn every gesture into an experience. It seems that in the case of Alicja Kubicka's painting, the less is verbalised, the better. Her works are extremely independent - they do not need translation through language phrases, but rather an insightful look. But the first glance at them is already enough for the canvases to start talking to us, asking us questions. Paradoxically, therefore, the word, is not able to describe, to fully experience the image, but the image can freely use the word, it can create language and talk - through painting - about it. It's images that may come into possession of a word. The basic content is realised in the painting area, and only the direct experience, the presence of the image and of the viewer creates the completeness, that is, the experience.
The painting by Alicja Kubicka allows one to feel the commitment, seriousness, but also the ironic element with which the author approaches this medium, at the same time using lightness, sketchiness of some areas and the choice of the motif used. The annexation of the fragment being worked out, one time derived from everyday life, another - from the history of painting, is carried out in such a way as to serve painting as such. It is understood as dynamics, as the potential of activity, it is in the first place, it constitutes and invokes the content of the image.
What is important for Alicja Kubicka's work is the multiplication of quotations, self reflection and interactivity, as phenomena that take place between the images themselves, in their painterly layer of meaning. This way, the canvases become simultaneously introvert and extrovert - they accumulate and release content. They can be watched, but what is equally important, or maybe more important, is that they watch each other and look at each other. The use of seemingly narrative elements, the incorporation of fragments of texts, serve to build a story with the language of painting. Painting here is simply justified, natural, without arrogance or patronising tone. Staying with these images, we feel that they exist because they should. This means that they are born of a natural need.
Karolina Pikosz

Viva youth!

What can an old painter write about young painters who arrive at the "planet Art" every year, land with their own maps, equipment, quickly dispersing around the world? They fill galleries, exhibitions and competitions... - New Generation, New Decade, Freshly Painted, Fresh Blood... it's so beautiful and touching. We look hard to get a glimpse of the language which the young people speak and what they talk about, what they grew up on and what turns them on. After all, we were young as well not so long ago... Well, it turns out that for over 100 years we have been stirring in the same pot, recognising elements, atmospheres, smells and even ways. This common age of formal and mental language - first discovered as an avant-garde, then it only changed accents depending on decades of political events, the leap of civilisation and the changing condition of societies - Europe. How it is now, how will it be in the future? It is said that this is probably the end of what constituted the ground on which generations of artists grew, who - crossing borders - have always made discoveries, adding another option of viewing the world, beauty, freedom through unselfishness. Questions about the meaning of painting and even visual art, which has become a multimedia game for the happy fate of being successful. Will there be a society that needs to commune with the artistic message in its everyday existence, creating a continuation of spiritual civilisation? Maybe, however, artistic activities are already strongly entangled in purely political purposes, as an order, e. g. critical art, anti-art... Therefore, there will always be hope for young people who bring light with their talent, no matter what darkness they find.
Alicja Kubicka - from Bydgoszcz, a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk (2017), will make her debut in Bydgoszcz. She has already had two small episodes of showing her works in our city, but now it's the gallery in the centre of the city.
Now it is already an intensive process of development, without the protection of academic studios. At the academy, Alicja Kubicka stood out with her talent and diligence, and was rewarded for this when she was selected to be a representative at the Esteemed Graduates of Art Academies (2017), as well as at a review of young artists in Socato Gallery in Wrocław. The exhibition in the Żak Gallery in Gdańsk showed that she treats her work seriously. Large, bold compositions present her freedom to define the form with very accurate decisions and a sense of painting.
This is the beginning of the path that promises to be very intriguing, obliges to observe, because behind it stands a rich imagination, sensitivity to the surrounding world, its semantics and the history of art as a context of tradition. her knowledge of the young generation's contemporary language gives hope that it will be a valuable statement. I wish her perseverance in this long journey to the end.
Stanisław Stasiulewicz