EXHIBITION AT GDAŃSK CITY GALLERY 2
Graphic design of installation titled Portrait of John Cage made by an artist in 1994 in St. John's church in Gdańsk was chosen for a cover of Marek Kijewski's catalogue, published after his death, to accompany retrospective exhibition I shiver when I can cover you in gold prepared by Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle. Inside of rubbled, unused since the war space of gothic temple, Kijewski paid tribute to modern american composer, author of avant-garde piece 4:33. The work was located in central nave and consisted of two parts: white-gold object looking like reversed obelisk and suspended installation assembled from a dozen or so red and blue lit neons. Lights made a rythmic setup, reminding church's dome. Indispensable component of this work was a badge with a fragment of text of Ikonostas and other sketches by orthodox theologist Paweł Floreński.
Portrait of John Cage perfectly features artistic research Kijowski began in the early 90's. Having resigned from new expression estethics where he came from, the artist moved toward more ascetic forms, minimalized means of expression mixing them with elements of light, often existing as neons of different colour, which was most likely being influenced by Floreński, especially his texts concerning use of symbols of colours.
Making this installation in Gdańsk had an additional meaning for Kijowski. He came back to his place of birth, where he spent many years of his life, where – before moving to Warsaw – in mid 70's he briefly studied at the Academy of Fine Arts. Kijewski, also in Gdańsk, during montage in St. John's church and during international multimedia workshops organized by Wyspa Gallery, he met Małgorzata Malinowska, the artist with whom he would create a legendary duo Kijewski/Kocur.
Related to Gdańsk artistic environment, Małgorzata Malinowska painted works matching new expression current that differed in presenting human figures, mainly suggestively painted acts in vivid colours.
For both of them this meeting was exquisitely important. It had set a time pause for their previous achievements. Malinowska definitely abandoned painting then and moved to Warsaw, where she worked under her professional name “Kocur”. Kijewski, on the other hand, got close to figurative art again.
In their works, they made since 1995, they fullfilled and inspired each other. Marek Kijewski's words are the best example of that: I have ran across a girl (Kocur) who is full of unidentified warmth. Warmth, she can pass through representative sculpture. Sometimes I looked as she could sketch something during three days that I would never be able to do so esthetically and perfectly.*
Objects collected for exhibition come from collections of: Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Polish Sculpture Centre in Orońsk, Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw, Propaganda Gallery and also private collections from Poland and Germany. Addition to cross section presentation of Kijewski/Kocur duo output is 2001 video produced by Paweł Sosnowski, titled “Personal lexicon of Marek Kijewski and Małgorzata Malinowska”, telling about sources of this rich and diverse body of work.
*Quote: Marek Kijewsk. I shiver when I can cover you in gold, [catalogue exh.] Ujazdowski Castle 2008, p. 174.