War and Un-peace
The series of thirty-six canvases under the shared title War and Un-peace was created in response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine in February 2022. These works recall classic anti-war artworks, such as Jacques Callo’s etchings, The Great Miseries of War, created between 1629–1633, during the Thirty Years’ War or Francisco Goya’s prints, The Disasters of War, created in the years 1810–1815, during Napoleon’s invasion of Spain. Wyżykowski’s paintings refer directly to events currently unfolding in Ukraine. This is emphasized by the titles of two triptychs from this series: Bucha [Bucza] and Mariupol. Nevertheless, their implications are universal – they depict the tragedy of war, its victims, and perpetrators.
Wyżykowski’s canvases illustrate the subject with the use of metaphors and symbols and figurative painting approaching abstraction. The aggressor is shown as a male, uniformed figure, often multiplied, while the target of the attack is portrayed as a female. The shapes of the figures have been simplified and streamlined, but clearly differ in colour and type of line. Male silhouettes are angular, sharp in form, usually without a face, painted in dark colours. They are presented in dynamic, aggressive poses that create strong tensions across the canvas. The brutally attacked female figure attempts to defend herself, but seems dominated by the assailant. She is outlined in soft, fluid lines and with the use of a bright colour palette. The compositions in the paintings create various narrative sequences, and depict scenes and motifs directly referring to the tragedies of war.
The aesthetics of the paintings in the War and Un-peace series knowingly refer to various painting styles: it is easy to observe cubist-like lines and forms, as well as references to unism, futurism, suprematism (even Kazimir Malevich’s the Black Square makes an appearance), as well as to artworks by Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondrian, Francis Bacon, and Rembrandt van Rijn.
- Ewa Gorządek
(born 1956) painter, performer, author of theoretical texts about painting, literary texts and dramas. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. He graduated in 1981 with diplomas from the painting studio of Prof. Jan Tarasin and the sculpture studio of Prof. Jerzy Jarnuszkiewicz. Ever since, he has been exploring the fundamentals of the medium of painting: structuralist studies and colour theory, which led him to further exploration of the effects of concave and convexity in painting, as well as to develop, among others, the model of achromatic colours or the principles of return perspective. In 2016, he published an experimental novel entitled Kula. Wyżykowski’s entire oeuvre exemplifies his theoretical research, methodical activities, and an amalgamation of scientific theory and art.