portfolio_Marta Szulc.indd


portfolio_Marta Szulc.indd
Marta Szulc/portfolio
[email protected]
+48 501 599 610
Artist statement
selected exhibitions:
My work is difficult to assign to a specific art direction or
a typical medium nor have I a main subject to explore.
Traditional media coexist with contemporary technology in
my art. The computer is an important element of my work
– it’s an inspiration, a tool and material. But at the same time,
the old graphic technique, which I transform into a modern
medium, is equally important. My contrariness and my liking
for the opposites are characteristic for what I’m doing. Perhaps that’s why I try to peel off personal pictures from their
history and give them an universal form, perhaps that’s why I
choose intimate technique to suggests an intimate nature of
my works based on newspaper clippings?
2014 - “Pracownie”, Open Studios, Warsaw
The latest work, a series of watercolors on paper, is a result
of collecting newspaper clippings from many years, photos
hard to forget, which fascinate me by their form or history.
It’s a chaos of images and meanings. I’m curious how these
pictures affect one another and how they create between
them new strings of associations. These interrelations
between pictures became the most interesting part of this
Podkowa Lesna
I’m interested in how I can transform copper engraving, an
old graphic technique from the 15th century into a modern
medium. Even more fascinating for me is the process, metamorphosis into next stages, than the graphic in itself. In older
works („Objects’’ 2005, “Caesarean instruments’’ 2009) I was
creating specific frames for my graphic prints, as I wanted to
give them a new form. In my last work I’m definitely breaking
with what is characteristic for any graphic technique – the
print as the last stage of the process.
Videos are a separate niche. They are strongly embedded in
autobiographical topics and are based on personal emotions.
Frequently, this works are a result of the analysis of my own
history and they are an effort to tackle it. My experiences aren’t
unique, they are basis to depict more universal histories about
femininity („Not Full Moon” 2007), children as strange, fascinating creatures („e/motions” 2012) or influence of the past on
present („Homeland”2013).
2014 - “Homeland”, XX1 Gallery, Warsaw (solo)
2013 - 9th Cologne International Video Art Festival
CologneOFF 2013 Lithuania
2013 - The One Minutes Film Festival, Gdansk
2012 - “Maternity...”, Warsztaty Kultury, Lublin
2009 - “Caesarean Instruments”, Foksal Gallery,
Warsaw (solo)
2007 - Supermarket of Art IV/2 (im)mortal love, International biennale, Warsaw
2007 - “The Secret Garden” - video art preview,
2007 - “Sweet Art”, CCA Laznia, Gdansk
2006 - Young Art Biennale “Rybie Oko 4”, Baltic Art
Gallery, Ustka
2005 - “IN OUT Festival”, CCA Laznia, Gdansk
2005 - “Objects”, XX1 Gallery, Warsaw (solo)
no title, 2014
a series of about 40 watercolors on paper
nuclear fireball, watercolor on paper (10x14cm)
It’ a series of watercolors on paper. All of them are small format
works based on newspaper clippings or Internet screenshots
that I have collected for years.
Works are arranged in a random mosaic of loosely connected
images. What attracts me to them are the stories they hide
and the ways in which they interact. It’s a creation of many
new, interesting strings of associations, activated by the
similarity of shapes (HAL 9000/LHC), chunks of stories (Tibet
railway/Uyghur), or even by contradistinction (Nuclear fireball/Cell). The links needn’t be reasonable nor complicated,
they hatch incidentally just on the edge between images .
This collection of miscellaneous information makes an impression of a puzzle. Gentle associations give faith in restoring
order to this chaos of pictures and the hope, that this seemingly
illogical jigsaw has a solution.
For a long time I tried to give this work some meaning, some
order, but I found that this unpredictability is precisely its
most valuable asset.
Although I knew well what was on the photograph, as I painted this watercolor a surrealistic picture appeared in my mind
– the moon falling from the sky and hitting the ground like a porcelain figurine.
Flood/ Drought, watercolor on paper , pencil (15x11cm/10x13 cm)
Climate change – droughts and floods.
The excess and deficiency of water.
These extreme situations are connected by a lack of balance, which causes the tragedy.
Frankenstein/ HAL 9000/ LHC, watercolor on paper (10x10cm/ 11x11cm/ 10x10cm)
Artificial intelligence (Frankenstein is an intelligent and
kind creature in the original Mary Shelley’s story, later
adaptations distort this character). Both of them were
created by human. Both turn away from their masters
and finally kill them.
This two magnificent machines were created
for the glory of mankind.
Their circular form resembles an eye.
nuclear fireball/ cell, watercolor on paper (10x10cm/10x10cm/ 10x10cm/ 10x10cm)
Life and death start in a point. I wonder if this similarity
in opposites, which seems to be improper,
may suggest that something guides the world .
Maybe this arrangement, which can be more felt than
understood, we call god?
Tibet railway/ The Uyghur, watercolor on paper (13x17cm/ 13x20cm)
The journey from Beijing to Lhasa takes 47 hours and 28 minutes.
The Uyghur people are the most persecuted ethnic group living
in China. Uyghur’s national sport, Dawaz, is walking on a line with
no security.
View from Mars, watercolor on paper (13x19cm)
The view from Mars to Earth is based on a picture published by NASA. On the photograph taken by
Curiosity rover’s camera the Earth is the brightest point of light on the evening martian sky.
The view of Earth from the outer space gives me a sense of fragility of our world and everything
that we consider important.
Gorilla II/ Black monolith, white monolith, watercolor on paper (10x21cm/ 10x15cm)
In S. Kubrick’s „2001: A Space Odyssey” the black monolith is a direct impulse for the creation
of human civilization. It’s quite a cruel transformation, based on intelligence connected with
aggression. What could have happened if humanity had gotten another gift? If progress could
have happened without compulsory killing, aggression, competition?
Paths, 2014
20 matrices on pedestals
20 copper engravings
I wanted to embed firmly the copper engraving into the
modern world, therefore the element of transforming engraving into a contemporary medium is an important part of this
The main part of „Paths” is the engraved copper plate itself. I
cut on each plate a pattern of a printed circuit board (PCB) – a
characteristic element of modern technology. As a result I create
abstract, up-to-date patterns strongly connected with the technocracy of modern world. As the matrix is placed on a pedestal,
it’s becoming more of a physical, individual object. These are
futuristic works, strange artifacts suspended in time , like fragments of a forgotten civilization which surprisingly fit in with
modern machines.
„Forma Urbis Romae” by G. B. Piranesi is an example of a graphic
that corresponds with my work. The ancient map of Rome
resembles patterns on PCBs. The systems of straight lines look
similar. It is important to me that these two worlds infiltrate
each other without being in opposition. I don’t want to dissociate from the traditions and history of graphics and I don’t
create anything new. I carry out a kind of a non-biological
evolution rather, I “update” copper engraving to modern art
matrix XV
matrix XV
copper engraving, paper, selected works
e/motions, 2012
video, black&white, 00:01:15
This black&white film shows a silhouette of a child at
various moments of its activity, like crawling, walking
and playing. The film consists of several short units,
divided by pauses, without a distinct beginning
or end. These individual units are not bonded into
any logical sequence. Each unit is a separate record,
a section of micro life and could function as an
independent image.
Black and white allows a better focus on an indistinct figure, making the picture cleaner and at the
same time – less real. The child’s figure is blurred,
which creates an illusion that the child is moving
faster than the shutter of the camera can catch. Just
like we could not keep up with the kid. Although
we can’t see the child perfectly, it is the main and
only character of the film. Even if a different figure
appears in the frame, it belongs to the still
background, like it didn’t exist in the child’s
I don’t show the child explicitly as it is, I rather
attempt to depict how I perceive it. I love this child
but I am aware that it is a separate being, living
beside me but in a different
However I am trying very hard to understand it, to feel
what it feels, its perception of reality is beyond my
Maternity..., 2012
Warsztaty Kultury, Lublin (PL)
exhibition view
(photo credit: Wojciech Pacewicz)
video stills
Caesarean instruments, 2007
series of 12 copper engravings on paper,
3 tables (height: 80cm, 176x62cm), fabric
“Caesarean instruments” is a series of a dozen copperplate engravings, which feature surgical instruments,
surrounded by satin passe-partout and placed on
three tables.
It is a work about my personal fears, concerning
the possibility of losing sight during childbirth. For
women with serious sight defect such a danger exists – the awareness of it was for me overwhelming and unacceptable. I associated childbirth with
oppression, incapacitation, risk, and the only
emotions I was able to feel at the time were
multiplied fears on the verge of paranoia. The surgical
instruments which I present are used at surgical deliveries for saving lives of mothers and babies. For me
– as I thought – this might have been a rescue for my
sight. I treated such an operation as a lesser evil, but
my fears didn’t diminish.
Although the copperplate engravings are the main
element of my work, nevertheless the essence is in
showing “The Caesarean instruments” not as a mere
prints, but in a form of installation. Shapes of these
instruments are alarmingly weird, carrying a tension, emphasized by red passe-partout. The color of
the fabric, its softness and glossiness shall remind an
absent, defenseless body. The installation creates a
contrast and equilibrium between body and instruments. Simultaneously ornamental mounting reveals
how special and important these instruments have
become to me.
The Copperplate engraving technique is an obvious
choice – a sharp line is the sole means of expression,
the chiaroscuro and the differences of color intensity could be attained only by condensing the lines
or by crisscrossing them. Such economy of means
of expression emphasizes the coldness and strangeness of instruments and at the same time allows to
focus my attention on their details. In a rather strange
way cutting the drawings with a sharp graver on the
smooth surface of metal began to converge with the
function of such surgical instruments and began to
make the cutting akin to surgery. In this process, time
was a very important factor, because I needed close
to one month to cut one copperplate. And with time
the weirdness of these surgical instruments began
to slowly disappear – at the end they started to be
something familiar.
to the right:
Caesarean instruments (solo)
Foksal Gallery, Warsaw (PL), 2009
exhibition view
(photo credit: Konrad Radziejewski)
next pages:
Caesarean instruments (solo)
Foksal Gallery, Warsaw (PL), 2009
exhibition view
(photo credit: Konrad Radziejewski)
Caesarean instruments
copper engraving, paper, selected works
“Forceps”, 12x13 cm
“Kocher’s forceps”, 12x10 cm
“Forceps”, 12x13 cm
“Hemostat”, 10x12 cm
“Towel clamp”, 10x12 cm
“Curette”, 10x12 cm
“Scalpel”, 10x12 cm
“Retractor”, 10x12 cm
“Kocher’s forceps”, 10x12 cm