In Karolina Jabłońska’s paintings girls wear rings and guys wear watches, but the stereotypical logic of dominance is reversed. The heroines here are idols, soothsayers and thieves, and relationships and passions explode as violently as they end, in emotion. Here exaggeration and hyperbole are the rule for both composition and life.
Slippery draws from both film and theatre. The characters in Jabłońska’s paintings give the impression of being carefully posed, but they clearly take pleasure in playing the roles assigned to them. Generally, the theme of the paintings is relationships—spiked with eroticism and violence, tinted with the lights of late-night bars and the cheap glare of the disco. It’s a choreography of mundane desire and hypersensitivity that imperceptibly but naturally shades into aggression.
Jabłońska’s painted bodies are outsized and over-expressive, soft and flexible. The collision of soft with soft struggles with Sisyphean impossibility. The figures in the paintings thus puff up grotesquely and coalesce, tug at their hair and clothing, but ultimately, instead of the crunching of bones they feel sticky embraces and bleeding kisses. The situation is damp, stifling and slippery.
There is Lynchian gloom and tension here, but also inexpensive accessories mined from the prose of Dorota Masłowska, along with sneakers, tattoos and painted nails tying the characters to the present day. They share the conviction that the only possible future will happen this very night. The roles are known, because they were assigned long ago. There remains a shared and mutual grilling—as in one of the paintings, or actually each one separately. The tenacity and annoyance of interpersonal relations in the post-TV era is the message Jabłońska gracefully smuggles into her paintings.
Although the circumstances presented may not appear entirely auspicious, her paintings exude a seductive vitality. They are painted with panache and ease, even with a light hand, maybe plucked from the air, but with a firm sense of self—as a painterly idol, soothsayer and thief, all in one.
Karolina Jabłońska (born in 1991 in Dąbrowa Tarnowska) is a 2015 graduate of the Kraków Academy of Fine Arts, cofounder of the Potencja Gallery in Kraków, and winner of numerous painting awards, including in the Geppert Competition in Wrocław (2016) and at the Bielska Jesień biennial in Bielsko-Biała (2017). Slippery at Raster is her first individual show in Warsaw.