Magazine article Artforum International

Stanistaw Fijalkowski: Galerie Isabella Czarnowska

Magazine article Artforum International

Stanistaw Fijalkowski: Galerie Isabella Czarnowska

Article excerpt

Stanistaw Fijalkowski

GALERIE ISABELLA CZARNOWSKA

Until now little known outside Poland, Stanislaw Fijalkowski can claim, to say the least, a most distinctive artistic lineage: He was a student of Wladyslaw Strzeminski, who in turn had studied with the modern master Kazimir Malevich. But Fijalkowski is also heir to all the upheaval that his part of the world has suffered over the past century. He was born in 1922 in Poland's southeast, "a region that was soaked with blood in World War II," as Anda Rottenberg and Ory Dessau write in the gallery press release; the area is now part of Ukraine. During the war he found himself in a forced-labor camp in Konigsberg--the oncePrussian city that is now the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad--and in its aftermath settled in Lodz, where he studied, taught, and still lives.

Needless to say, then, Fijalkowski's work is hardly imbued with the crisply declarative forms and optimistic elan of prewar Constructivism and Suprematism. This selection of nineteen paintings and two drawings made between 1961 and 2004, oddly titled "Before and After Abstraction"--all the works were what I'd call abstract, though according to Rottenberg the artist "is reluctant to call them abstract"--suggested instead a reticent, pensive, perhaps ambivalent take on pictorial form-- what Fijalkowski calls "a secular equivalent of theology." With its simultaneously blunt but sensitive touch and moody, almost muffled color (the cool end of the spectrum dominated), the work at times put me in mind of his younger Belgian contemporary Raoul De Keyser, though the two artists were presumably quite unaware of each other as their work developed. In some works Fijalkowski seems to be reaching for a zero point of pictorial action, as in 14.IX. 61 Mandala, 1961, a gray-green square bounded on all four sides by a red band, with a single, somewhat awkward gray line traced from its center to the bottom of the white field. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.