Paulina Stasik <br> STONES

The heroine of one of Paulina Stasik’s new pain­tings builds a shaky tower of stones—a kind of meditation and at the same time a symbol of the stub­born­ness of existence and work, as in the myth of Sisyphus. The artist calls her the Female Buil­der to emphasize that the world in question is sub­ject to the rules of the female gender. This applies to Stasik’s pain­ting in general. It is a deep insight into the cul­tural essence of cor­poreality, how the experience of gender trans­lates into the sphere of spirituality and myth. In her works, the pain­ter creates figures plun­ged into a state of philosophical lethargy, strip­ped of attributes of daily life or clothing. They strug­gle with rhetorical figures imposed by cul­ture and lan­guage, as in the pain­ting Digestion, in which the heroine literally car­ries “stones in her belly.” Over her shoul­der, the city lights glim­mer in the background—one of the few referen­ces to life here and now, to everyday routine and bustle. The metabolism which Stasik’s pain­tings relate is less a tem­poral func­tion of the body, and more an eman­cipatory and spiritual process. “The image of the body is only a frag­ment of the image of the world,” the artist explains, and with suc­ces­sive canvases she elaborates her excep­tional liberational atlas of the female subconscious.


The monumen­tal Mind Map, the lar­gest of the canvases presen­ted in the exhibition, offers a kind of dreamy retrospec­tive. Stasik evokes motifs that have appeared in her ear­lier works—the figure of a guar­dian, an androgynous being from Plato’s myth, a cry, looking at oneself in one’s own reflec­tion. In the upper left corner of the pain­ting, the pain­ter por­trays her­self wal­king along a dotted line and gazing down at this peculiar map of her imagination. Much as in medieval car­tography, it is a record of known ter­ritories as well as a tool for discovering new places and the paths con­nec­ting them. Pain­ting appears here as the work of depic­ting an individual, inter­nal mythology. A recur­ring motif in many of the artist’s pain­tings is hands and arms, which represent the sphere of action and experience, and at the same time sym­bolize the process of creation.


States of levitation, weigh­tles­sness, release of con­sciousness from the body, and the possibility of looking at oneself “from the out­side” are also the sub­ject of other pain­tings, such as Selfie. Through her pain­terly visions, Stasik penetrates suc­ces­sive coatings and layers, of both body and mind, seeking cosmic balance, her own “anatomy of existence.”


Paulina Stasik