Appropriating Language #5
In The Black Boxes Małgorzata Malwina Niespodziewana placed scenes from Katarzyna Kobro and Władysław Strzemiński's lives, which she managed to reconstruct on the basis of surviving photographs.
The project also includes foldouts devised in the technique of linocut, which were modelled on three-dimensional books for children, so-called pop-up books (Katarzyna and Nika 1936-1951, 2008). They have a touch of cut-outs, and the ones which are technically more advanced are engineering gems, which coalesce paper filigree ornamentation with precise mathematical calculations. Text, although still present, remains in the background; the most important are mobile elements and spatial forms which flatten once you fold the cover.
Reference to a children's world and at the same time to a moment when a child is given a book by his parents to provide him with stories which help comprehend the surrounding reality, is here insomuch essential, as the artist refers to the childhood of Kobro's daughter - Nika Strzemińska.
Excerpt from the text of Patrycja Cembrzynska on Kobro Book
The 9th Baltic States Biennale of Graphic Art "Kaliningrad-Königsberg 2008", ed. I. Budaeva, E. Lukyanova, Kaliningrad State Art Gallery 2008, p. 130-133
Press Release: The Art of Breaking Boundaries
– Małgorzata „Malwina“ Niespodziewana’s story about Katarzyna Kobro
One may call the artistic project, realised by Małgorzata „Malwina“ Niespodziewana between 2008-2014, a total art-work.Its totality lays not only in its complex nature – as it consists of two series of pop-up books prints, dress designs, installation, comics and a small book – but first and foremost in the attitude of the artist to the story she is telling to the audience as well as the form she is constantly re-working.As Małgorzata „Malwina“ Niespodziewana said in her artist’s statement related to the project, there is this particular sentence that she found in Kobro’s texts on sculpture that is especially inspiring for her work. In 1937 Kobro wrote: Sculpture is a part of a space in which it appears. That is a reason why it should not be separated from it. Sculpture is entering into space and space infiltrates sculpture. It was one of many starting points for the revolutionary form of two series of Niespodziewana’s works: Kate 1898-1936 and Kate and Nika 1936-1951.This revolution has its seeds in Niespodziewana’s certainty that the form of pop-up book not only perfectly encompasses the sentence cited above, being considered in relation to graphic arts, but at the same time it is the best medium to enable communication between the art-work and the gallery-goer if the story behind it – very intimate and personal – is to be profoundly understood.The story itself was a matter of artistic insight that Małgorzata „Malwina“ Niespodziewana gained through an intense study of Katarzyna Kobro’s life: insight into reconstructions of her sculptures – most of which were lost during the war and Kobro’s constant removals, lecture of texts that Kobro once wrote, as well as hours spent with photo albums portraying private life of Strzeminski and Kobro.Her life that was a story of intellectual fascination with Kazimir Malevich’s theory of Suprematism, an intellectual journey into the world of expressive purity that resulted in the idea of unism transferred from painting into sculpture, and the emotional ups and downs of her private life.The totality of the project dedicated to Kobro and diversity of media used by Niespodziewana enables gallery-goers to observe Kobro’s life from different perspectives, but the main lenses are defined by two terms: LOVE and REVOLUTION. Love of art as a form of living, love of Władysław Strzeminski – her husband and artistic companion, love of Kazimir Malevich as an artist and the most beloved mentor, and last but not least love of her daughter – Nika. Revolution as a mean of transforming art and reality, and moreover as a way to perceive the world and to pursue everyday life.One may almost physically experience the potential of revolution, its power and dynamics in those compositions that are printed in a form of pop-up book entitled Kate 1898-1936. Openness and eruption are two key words that immediately come to mind. Forms and images are bursting from some prints in all directions. On the other hand there is an intense purity and equilibrium of forms, even calmness and a kind of poetry present in some others. Revolution is an eruption but after its sudden outbreak there must be a moment to take a time, to think it over.The Love present in the series entitled Kate and Nika 1936-1951 is far more complex than a banal explosion of feelings. It is a portrait of this particular kind of intimacy possible only between mother and child, this peaceful atmosphere of sitting together without any unnecessary words. But love is also a sacrifice in the name of a beloved one: sacrifice, in which any other love might be destroyed, regardless of whether it is a love of another person or of art. This is an unimaginable force that makes us able to overcome everything, even our own weaknesses and imperfections, even as terrible as a terminal illness. This part is less dynamic but more emotional. The image of Kate chopping up her sculptures for the firewood necessary in order to heat the meal for her daughter remains rooted in the memory. Especially, as the gallery-goer is able to empathise at least a little bit with Kate, as he or she is able to move Kate’s figure chopping up the sculptures.Małgorzata „Malwina“ Niespodziewana’s project – consisting of linocuts in a form of pop-up book, comics with the narration dedicated to Nika, box-installation, small linocuts portraits of Katarzyna Kobro and dresses designed after one of Kobro’s photos – is an art-work that is masterly in following the artistic ideas left by Katarzyna Kobro. The dresses especially, that are like a form awaiting to be filled with the matter of a human body in motion, seem probably to be the best idea that encompasses the theory of sculpture left by Katarzyna Kobro, who once wrote: sculpture is a form enclosed in computational time-spatial rhythm. Krakow, 22nd April 2015 Marta Anna Raczek-Karcz