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Artist of the Week — Agnieszka Rogowska

June 6, 2011 by · 118 comments

Agnieszka Rogowska: Colourful planes just create and talk about something, building a kind of tension


You say you are interested mainly in colour and the way it can be a creativity tool. Tell us more about your attitude toward colour. It is interesting what you say as on the whole we are used to give importance rather to “the idea” than to the means leading to it. Do you think art can be purely observed?

Yes, in my opinion art could be purely observed, as you put it. It could be very decorative, very aesthetic; putting aside serious contents, religious, social or political contexts. Is there then art for art’s sake?


I think the art can not exist in isolation from the man; I look, feel and admire what emotions can a painting stir. Regardless of its content and form, art creates certain reactions in man, which means it does not exist apart from him.


The essence hence results not from the subject but – as Piotr Potworowski put it – “man’s inner strength.” It is really about whether the artist is able to convince observer; whether we are authentic in what we do. The creative process is the struggle with oneself; it is a kind of ordering one’s own emotions.


The colour stands first in my work. In my quest, using few primary colours, I invent and compose a whole palette that suits my needs. It is through the colour that I build the image content. In my work colour does not bear any symbolical meaning, nor does it introduce a metaphysical one. Colourful planes just create and talk about something, building a kind of tension.


How do you approach your paintings, how do you see them after being finished? What does it mean for you to “complete” a painting?

I am often dissatisfied with the results of my work; there is always something to improve, add or remove. That is why hardly ever I do have a sense of a “complete” painting. I happen to repaint my works many times, I like this effect of many layers of paint and besides, the old work often becomes a perfect basis for a new one.


I also like very raw canvas left or peeping through a thin layer of transparent paint. I am constantly looking for my own language in painting. Right now, I am interested in building a painting by the colour and through the colour and I do care to make my works paintings utmost.


When you say that almost anything can inspire you, it reminds me of Zdzisław Beksiński’s words that everything that happens to us influences everything what we do and what we are. Is this close to you?

What does it mean for you to observe the world, as you quote Piotr Potworowski, in an extremely intensive way?

I agree with what Zdzislaw Beksinski had said; of course all that happens in our lives has a huge impact on what we do and who we are; definitely it shapes us and we soak with our experiences forever. I am lucky; I am not from the war generation and do not have to cope with any traumatic experiences. I do what I love, have this comfort of being unlimited, purity and complete discretion. And I draw inspiration from what is around me.


Everything becomes my inspiration: what I live, I see, I recognize every day. I like to reach for nature which is a bottomless well of ideas; one can draw from it forever, free to transform and simplify without losing its subtleness and clarity. It remains graceful and tranquil. I believe that the secret of art is that a mere trifle may become much more important, passing the inner transformation of the artist.


For me painting is a kind of escape from everyday life, to the world of idyll. Struggling with the plane of the canvas I happen to completely lose the sense of time, lose contact with reality, and then fall into euphoria for a brief when the whole world is reduced to this one painting, I am working on. It’s exhausting, but a wonderful feeling!


Can you name a few contemporary Polish painters whose art you find fascinating? In what way are they different?

I really like to look, admire the art works of contemporary indigenous artists. But to be honest, I am more inspired by the elderly artists and most unfortunately late, like Teresa Pagowska, Jacek Sienicki, Artur Nacht-Samborski, Leon Tarasin, Jerzy Nowosielski, Tadeusz Dominik, and of course Piotr Potworowski. These are very important names in Polish art of the XX century; in vast majority representing the Colourism school by Pankiewicz or being its heirs.

red shoal

Polish young art – at least that is how I see that – those who tend to analyze a human or rather to analyze anatomy get the loudest applause. Many artists show dark side of life, using adequate means of expression. I remain true to the pure painting and I hope that is expressive, and optimistic.



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