Phantoms and Membranes
Painting and tailoring techniques present in Kamila Kamińska’s work reflect an attempt to illustrate the corporeality of a painting, which is analogous to the material characteristics of human existence with all of its – sometimes inconvenient – aspects. The layer that separates sensuality from ideas takes the form of symbolical clothing or mimetic representations of human skin. Artworks presented at the exhibition utilize raw linen fabric, which is either stitched or draped by the artist, and traditional tempera painting methods. They invoke human corporeality and inspire questions about the subjectivity and status of paintings within an increasingly virtual reality.
Kamińska's most recent artworks juxtapose phantom images draped in traditionally stitched, symbolic canvas garments with membrane paintings that imitate the surface of human skin. The artworks appear embodied and empowered within the gallery space whose cool dark blue, almost black walls serve as a frame or a kind of passe-partout that reduces them to their lowest common denominator. This strategy serves to visually integrate the artworks on display and creates a certain mood. It seems as if the flesh-coloured palette of pinks and reds enters into a dialogue with the hue of the raw fabric, just like bolus primer interacts with canvas underpainting.
The character of Kamińska's textile and painting objects is of course figurative – we recognize in them elements of clothing such as girls' skirts, men's shirts, buttons, pockets, cuffs, and collars. Meanwhile, the artist’s traditional paintings simultaneously resemble abstract compositions and figurative works, because they depict scaled images of skin lesions. Both offer a narrative whose key message goes far beyond the anthropology of fashion and the phenomenology of the body. Kamińska’s artworks interact with each other, both in terms of their visual aspect and meaning, in an especially created space. They provoke a reflexion on the corporeality of painting with its metaphorical layers and purported existence modelled on the life of the human body. With the help of phantom and membrane paintings created for the show, the artist – through her draped and stitched textiles and layers of paint resembling human skin – invites us to reflect on social and cultural roles and human somatics, but above all lays bare the essence of embodied and empowered images.