In this project, painting is the subject of research into the creative process. The research problem is expressed in the question “What is the impact of the creative process on the artist’s level of well-being?”. The artist-researcher conducted a self-observation of the creative process for four years, using psychological tools.
The themes of the series created with the self-observation were states associated with well-being, such as dynamism, movement towards life, joy. The artist pursued these states through the language of painting, making a ballet by Wayne McGregor, the British choreographer of The Royal Ballet, as her research space. The paintings were painted in acrylic technique, using pastels and dry pigment, in formats of 200 cm x 130 cm, 170 cm x 150 cm and 160 cm x 140 cm, and titled from A to L.
As a result of the study, the author felt that all elements of the creative process were important, even equivalent, and only together did they create a work. In addition to the works considered successful, the unfinished paintings are important, as well as those she judged a failure and rejected. It was only in the totality of them all that she recognised the truth in art, referring to the thoughts of Martin Heidegger and Hans-Georg Gadamer.
The discarded paintings were at some point pulled off the looms and painted gray. From under the gray stains here and there, previous layers of underpainting peek through. Painting in gray was a significant artistic gesture by their author. On these canvases was written the history of a search for painting solutions, as well as an attempt to define her own artistic identity. They became a carrier of gestures, emotions, with a high energy charge. For the artist herself, however, they carry an ambivalent message, as they remind of a path that ended in a sense of failure. At the exhibition, these canvases are displayed equally with the paintings considered successful, to emphasize their importance of the process of creating successful works, as well as to revive them in a new form. Metaphorically, this refers to the transformation of the psyche. Something must die in order for something new to emerge. The intensity of the gray corresponds to the multiplicity of prior layers and the time-consuming nature of the search. The slightly tarnished gray surfaces of these paintings are also a record of the action of time on matter. The canvases are titled SZ1 to SZ5, painted in acrylic technique, in formats of 200 cm x 130 cm, 170 cm x 150 cm and 160 cm x 140 cm.
Photo below: Michał Łagoda