Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw: Nasty Child

Aleksandra Waliszewska, Portrait, 2010

Aleksandra Waliszewska's Nasty Child Launches the Pekao Project Room

24.04.2012 – 06.05.2012

The young artist's series of dark, disturbing works inaugurates an ambitious project to support young artists hosted by the Centre for Contemporary Art at Ujazdowski Castle and funded by Pekao Bank

Nasty Child is a series of gouaches in shades of grey, faded reds, black and an unexpected flash of bright red and indigo. Skulls visible through the skin of young girls' faces, women trapped in the primitive bonds of the wild, ravaged by giant insects or simply left half naked in a field.

The title of the exhibition is drawn from a relatively little known biographical novel by Zbigniew Uniłowski (1937), entitled Dwadzieścia lat życia / Twenty Years of Life. The artist paints every day, not waiting about for inspiration to dawn, but creating new takes on earlier themes if new ideas do not arise right away. As the artist claims, it is important in such moments for the artist to be alone with his or herself, alone with the imagination and impressions stored in one's own memory, in order to give flight to fancy. Painting is a pleasure for Waliszewska and she enjoys playing with fantasy and colour in the canvas.

Curator Ewa Gorządek likens her work to illustrations that could easily illustrate Gothic fiction, yet she adds that these paintings are highly sensitive and emotional. Gorządek writes that

    The artist’s fascinations revolve around the dark side where it is easy to succumb to a momentary madness, where the macabre meets the grotesque, whereby beauty is accompanied by horror. The viewer enters the world created by Waliszewska and encounters the intricate and complex mixture of meanings, the key to which has been carefully hidden.

She suggest that the public must rely on its own instinct and memory to find its way within this maze of meanings, drawing upon a common store of imagery from horror films, comic books, heavy metal, the Gothic traditions of painting inspired by Hans Memling or Enguerrand Quarton as well as the real-life horrors of today, such as the Utoya massacre which inspired her Norway series.

The opening of the exhibition on the 23rd of April ushers in a new programme made possible by Poland's Pekao Bank dedicated to promoting young emerging artists. Every two weeks the Project Room will invite a new young artist and engage them in an ongoing discussion about art, with a focus on innovative approaches and techniques. Starting June, in time for the Euro 2012 Football Championship, the spotlight will turn to 5 Ukrainian artists in honour of Poland's host partner.

As CCA Warsaw director Fabio Cavallucci announced at the exhibition opening, apart from the artistic value of the project that he hopes will follow upon the invitation of the best young artists from Poland and Europe, an essential aspect is the signal of openness that the museum aims to communicate through the new project.

At the end of the year 2012 a specially appointed jury will select the most interesting works which will be purchased by Pekao and donated to the collection of the Centre for Contemporary Art at Ujazdowski Castle.

Aleksandra Waliszewska (born 1974 in Warsaw) is a painter, graphic artist and illustrator. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. She is inspired by the work of Quattrocento, but has moved away from mimicking the style of old masters to create a style altogether her own, a neo-Gothic style inspired by the horrors of the present, taken straight from the nightmares of a young girl.

Nasty Child is on show between the 24th of April through the 6th of May at the Centre for Contemporary Art at Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw.

Centre for Contemporary Art – Ujazdowski Castle
ul. Jazdów 2, Warsaw

See more of the artist's work on her blog: waliszewska.blogspot.com

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