Malgorzata Drohomirecka"Flowers of the Soul are burning under the shell of the ass", 2017Oil on canvas70 x 50 x 3 cmMalgorzata Drohomirecka, "Flowers of the Soul are burning under the shell of the ass", 2017£ 600.00
Malgorzata Drohomirecka, "Welworfes become vampires when they die”, 2017£ 1,300.00
Malgorzata Drohomirecka, Broken Flowers, 2018£ 325.00
Malgorzata Drohomirecka, Feast, 2018£ 550.00
Malgorzata Drohomirecka, Marianne, 2017£ 1,100.00
Malgorzata Drohomirecka, Vampire, 2018£ 1,100.00
Malgorzata Drohomirecka is a visual artist. She studied Painting at Academy of Fine Arts, Gdansk (Poland). After completing her master’s degree in 2006 she moved to London, where she lives and works since. Her practice intertwines painting, printmaking and film.
Malgorzata’s works range from abstract to representational. However, an interest in collective psyche has always been present in her art and continues to be so.
In her recent works, she analyses visual representations of femininity in the paintings of the greatest masters of 19th-century Polish painting. By engaging with motives from popular films, music videos and stock images, Malgorzata challenges those traditional depictions from a 21st century point of view.
Born in Gdańsk, Poland
Lives and works in London, UK
2001-2006 MA Painting, Academy of Fine Art, Gdansk, Poland
2021 Wa(y)st(o)ed Freedom, Centrala-Space, Birmingham, UK
Book launch of the “Secret of the Catkin Family”, Sopoteka, Sopot, PL 2020 Polonia_2020, Online
2019 Spider-Phoenix, Żak Gallery, Gdansk, Poland
2014 Stop-Frame, Dom Doktora Gallery, Zakopane, Poland
2013 Between Analogue and Digital, The Albert, London, UK
2005 Reflections on the shop window, PGRart, Gdansk, Poland
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2016 Festival of New Experimental Film and Video, Apiary Studios, London,UK
2015 The Love for Chemistry, Espacio Gallery, London, UK
Traces, The Montage Gallery, London, UK
Point of Meeting: East, Polish Institute, Latarka Gallery, Budapest, Hungary
2013 Tasty Modern, Schwartz Gallery, London, UK
2012 Showcase Cities, Richmix, London, UK
The Fountain, Frameless Gallery, London, UK
2007 9th Biennale of Drawings and Graphics, Gyor, Hungary
Spring of Youth, Refektarz Gallery Kartuzy, Poland
Obserwatorium rzeczywistosci, National Gallery, Sopot, Poland
AWARDS AND RESIDENCIES
2020 Culture Online, Art Scholarship, Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, PL 2020 Arts
2005 Council England, Covid19 Emergency Response Funds, UK
Diploma of Polish Minister of Culture for the realization of the project in Children’s Clinic Oncology and Hematology, Gdańsk, Poland
The Mayor of Sopot Town Artistic Scholarship, Poland
The Gdansk Graphic of the Year Award, Poland
2021 Izabela Morska, Polonia, Insurgent Tradition and Hip-hop, (Poland: Czas Kultury)
Equality, Zine (The Red Zenith Collective, online, 2021)
2016 Contact: A festival of new experimental film and video, (London: Push, 2016)
2007 9th Biennale of Drawings and Graphics, (Gyor, 2007)
Obserwatorium rzeczywistosci, (Sopot: National Gallery, 2007)
Tell us about yourself. What is your background and where did you grow up? How have your life experiences shaped your work?
I was born in Gdańsk, northern Poland and grew up in a seaside resort town - Sopot at the turn of the 1980s and 1990s. It was right at the meeting point of different worlds. As it was then that the political and social transformation in Eastern and Central European region began.
Independent Self-Governing Trade Union "Solidarity" ["Solidarność"] was founded in August 1980 at the Shipyard in Gdańsk. Subsequently, it was the first independent trade union in a Warsaw Pact country to be recognised by the state. "Solidarity" movement played a central role in the end of Communism in Poland and the rest of the Soviet Union block.
I think that what has shaped me was a mixture of declining Communism, fantasies of a modern "Western lifestyle" and …Catholicism.
Catholic church played an important role in resisting Communist rule in Poland. That is why parents, who were not even religious themselves, but were against the government, sent their children to religion classes.
Nevertheless, for me such lessons consisted of the guilt-inducing teaching about original sin, creating the fear of going to hell. While the omnipresence of the crucified, pain-stricken body of Christ induced anxiety about my own physicality.
Why did you become an artist and what has been your journey up to this point?
In the 90s' Poland was in transition from communism to a free market economy. Everyone was excited about the transformation.
Unfortunately, the society, apart from becoming capitalist, didn't go through much profound socio-cultural changes. Our mentality was shaped by history of oppression and self-victimisation.
Catholic church became even more powerful. Under its influence, the new, democratic government became more and more conservative. Compulsory religious classes were introduced in schools.
As most teenagers I was quite revolted against the norms that society imposed on us.
Luckily, Sopot was a vibrant arts hub. It was famous for music festivals. Its bars and cafes served as meeting places for many artists. Some of my friends' parents were artists too. I found their alternative way of life very appealing.
Once I decided to give it a try and I went to the local art house for drawing lessons.
Soon after I decided to study painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk.
However, the exams were very difficult. It was a four-day marathon where you had to draw and paint for 8 hours every day. Only 14 people were accepted for each academic year. As I am not a competitive person I couldn't deal with the stress. I failed the exams three times. Finally, I was accepted, but then I had an aversion to institutions of all kinds for quite a long time.
During my studies I went to New York. As a result of various circumstances, I became a painting assistant of an artist - Kehinde Wiley. Together with other painters I was working in his large studio in Williamsburg for almost a year.
Being in New York was a turning point in my life. The experience was so stimulating that after I came back to Poland to complete my master's degree, I couldn't really find myself in Gdańsk anymore. I missed the energy of the large, cosmopolitan city.
That is why in 2008 I decided to move to London. I have lived and worked here since.
What is an average day in your studio like and what is your routine?
I have a studio in East London, in the borough of Tower Hamlets. The area is called Bromley-by-Bow. The building is part of ACAVA (Association for Cultural Advancement through Visual Art) and accommodates more than 50 artists.
It takes me 45 minutes to cycle there from home. When I arrive at the studio I get changed, have some tea, and start making notes. Because first I want to decide what I want to do on that day, which part of the paintings I am going to work on. I paint for around 3 hours. Then I take a break for lunch and go back to work for another 3 hours.
Certainly, when I paint it is important to me what kind of music I listen to. I have a small collection of records from a friend with whom I shared a studio. I also like to listen to podcasts and radio programmes.
What is your creative process?
My creative process starts with the research. While reading books and articles, visual ideas start to appear in my mind. Then I make sketches in my notebook or collages in photoshop.
I engage with motives from popular culture such as films, music videos and stock images.In my latest cycle Polonia_2020 I borrowed the motifs from iconic Polish 19th- century paintings and inserted them into various contemporary environments.
The new series of paintings I am working on is based on the photoshoot. I would like to work with models, costumes, and props more in the future.
How do you choose a medium for your work? Do you prepare and plan or do you improvise and experiment?
It was a long process before I came back to figurative oil painting and decided to use narrative in my work.
At the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk, we had to learn to observe nature: study models and still lives. It was taken to such an extent that, when I tried to experiment with other ideas, I felt completely blocked.
When I came to London, first I wanted to get rid of the baggage of experiences that I had brought with me. I started to make playful abstract compositions using strong, bold colours. At that time, I was mainly focused on screen printing. I also experimented with camera-less 16 mm film.
Are your works conveying a message? Is there a narrative or a story to your work?
I wanted to forget and detached myself from the past.
However, it turned out that the label of an immigrant from Eastern Europe sticks more strongly than I thought- especially in the atmosphere of Brexit.
Meanwhile in 2015 in Poland, the right wing populist party - "Law and Justice" won the parliamentary elections.
I have realised that I cannot but refer to what has shaped me. The question of identity became unavoidable. Therefore, I started to use the potential of figurative painting to analyse the symbols and allegories that have played a significant role in shaping our collective imagination. For me, it is a way of working through the negative stereotypes that have become entrenched in the patriarchal system, and revealing how this system imposes structures of dominance and submission.
However, I treat the dismantling of national-religious themes as a starting point for building an alternative vision that responds to the aspirations of those who are marginalised in our society.
Who and what are some of your greatest influences in both your life and as an artist?
It is a difficult question, not only because the list is very long, but also it changes and fluctuates during the years.
I find women from previous generations, who managed to find their voice in the male dominated world (such as: Leonora Carrington, Georgia O'Keefe, Agnes Martin) very empowering. The actions of the Guerrilla Girls are the call to arms.
Virginia Woolf played an important role in shaping my imagination. I have always admired Käthe Kollwitz for her powerful expressionistic drawings.
On the other hand, I was very impressed by Goya. Especially the series of Black Paintings. He criticised the Spanish authoritarian government and the Catholic Church. In his latest works he showed how those institutions exploit people's ignorance for political gain and replace reason with superstition. Alas it is relevant these days.
Significant impact on my work was a Polish writer- Izabela Morska. One of the paintings presented at the "Improbable Encounters" exhibition - "The Flowers of the Soul Are Burning Under the Shell of an Ass" is inspired by her book. That title is a quote from her novel "Absolutna amnezja" [Absolute Amnesia].
Recently I am affected by Rosi Braidotti's "Posthuman Feminism". I have got the feeling that she and her posthuman theory will have an impact on my future paintings.
Do you consider your work of art a creation or a discovery?
What motivates me to paint is the unknown of what will come next. I always wonder where the painting I am working on will take me.
It's like peeling back the layers to see what's behind the next picture.
Improbable EncountersMemory, Hybridity, and Displacement 8 Mar - 20 May 2022Our first exhibition aims to create space for new and emerging artists living and working in Iran and the United Kingdom in what we hope will be the first step towards a generative dialogue and critical conversation between the artists in question, as well as the two wider artistic communities. For far too long engagements of this kind have found themselves overshadowed and obscured by high politics, impenetrable borders and media sensationalism.Read more