Painting, video
05.11.2010 - 19.12.2010
Can art have a therapeutic function? Can it help to understand social codes and subconscious schemata? Zygmunt Freud perceived artists as neurotics who chose to escape into art rather than getting afflicted with psychosis. What, then, does the specific character of the dream of artistic neurosis consist in?

Katarzyna Swinarska chose a woman to be the subject of the vast majority of her works. Swinarska gets inspired by her personal experiences and thoughts. The artist thoroughly and openly examines her feminine side. The series We are awful was created as a response to Anna Janczyszyn-Jaros's work (billboard) presented in 1999 as a part of the project Galeria Zewnetrzna AMS (Outdoor Gallery AMS). “This billboard depicted three young, embarrassed women. Why were they embarrassed? I could easily answer this question as I shared their belief that in the Polish society a woman is always guilty and impure, unlike Virgin Mary who was born without sin. In the catholic hierarchy, God – a man – judges a woman – a sinner. This is the model that functions in our society”, writes Swinarska.
Katarzyna Swinarska analyses the world of a contemporary Polish woman. Who is she? A mother, a human being succumbing to her physiological needs? Or rather an active, ambitious person who competes with men? Katarzyna Swinarska's painting is very feminine although the artist does not try to reject the male point of view. She tries to convey such emotions as embarrassment caused by seeing one's eye bags and first wrinkles in the mirror, and sense of guilt based on failure to adequately fulfil the duties and roles traditionally associated with womanhood, distressing sexual admiration of her son by the mother, ambiguous relations between a daughter and a father, and, finally, claustrophobic atmosphere of family relations. The pictures often constitute comments on films and works of other artists, pictures presented in the media, and every-day situations.

The video Family. Performance shows the curious yet rarely discussed problem of how women maintain the male point of view and thus support the culture which represses them.

Are Katarzyna Swinarska's works feminist? She is not interested in theory. Her analyses are based on every-day life. “We are equal and, generally, we should not take things too seriously. However, when the curtain rises it turns out that the performance is very serious and everybody plays a certain part. And when you find out that your role is to curtsey, be nice, give birth, cook, wash, clean, and comfort till you die, you are bound to ask yourself the question: why it was me to have been assigned this role? And who is the director of this show?” says the artist.
What is the function of art? Katarzyna Swinarska's painting is not therapeutic. Rather, it is rebellious and tries to expose the female strategies of repressing themselves, a social reality whose existence not everybody realises.
Municipal Institution of Culture