Polish artists Paweł Kleszczewski and Kasia Zimnoch will showcase their animation “The Voyage”, an illustration of the Irish legend of St Brendan, the navigator along- side stills, paintings and drawings.
Their work combines their skills and knowledge of visual arts, art history and mythology. Settling in Ireland in 2012, the artists became interested in Irish culture and the St Brendan legend containing elements of travel and migration really spoke to them.
The pair wanted to show the Irish story through the eyes of another culture and to bring Central European style and character to the piece. Both are graduates of University Nicolaus Copernicus in Torun, Poland and are now based in Cavan.
"I was born in Szczecin, port city on the Polish- German border. Szczecin before the second world war was a German city. After 1945 Szczecin became a polish city, and people all over the Poland, Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania settled it. I grew up surrounded by two cultures Polish present and German past. At the time of my childhood took place the great transformation of the political system. communism collapsed, Poland liberated from Soviet influence and there was capitalism. The district where I grew up was the old German workers district, full of tenement houses with traces of war. As a little boys we usually play in war in former German bunkers, that still exist. I was a witness of change of polish landscape after 1989. A mad capitalism everywhere creating a myriad of colorful kitsch advertisements, trade boomed plastic goods from China. As a teenager, just like the rest of my childhood friends, I was a fan of the Pogon Szczecin soccer team, surrounded by a common entertainment and stadium’s aggression. During adolescence, I felt a strong need for customization and broke all ties with the past. I became interested in art in all its forms, painting, poetry, theater.
I studied with the renowned Szczecin artist Jaroslaw Eysymont, who instilled in me an interest of expression and color. At that time I was interested in the action painting. Then, for 5 years, I was studied painting in Torun, where I learned to figuration. During those years I was fascinated by the naive expression, and above all in the art and culture of the Middle Ages. In addition to painting I also studied stained glass, which outline a strong impact on me especially in the drawing. In 2009-2011 I worked as a theater set designer. Since 2012 I live and create in Ireland, where I meet up with another model of culture, with different colors and landscapes than I know from Central Europe - new inspirations.
Mostly I create paintings and drawings, but I don’t mark the border between the two techniques. Drawings I do very fast, in practice every day, they are like a diary or never ending series. German expressionism and polish romanticism are two main sources of my inspiration. For me the most important are emotions, then technique, themes, tool etc. I like pictures, which hit the hypocrisy of social and history, breaking taboos. A brave showing erotic or human sexuality. I'm interested in the dark side of the human soul, what we hide in the deep, instincts, naivety, aggression, subconscious aspects of magic, symbols, dreams, things that the mind does not invent, visions. I’m inspired by horror, macabre and dramatic scene as well. I combined elements of pop culture with iconography of ancient art. The characters of my artworks are often humanoid creatures, whose driving forces are primal instincts.
Medium for me is not the key issue, I often mix different techniques in one picture, I like to experiment in addition to basic painting and drawing, sometimes I reach for markers, masking tapes, colored pencils. I like to use unconventional, “not painting” techniques such as ordinary paint cans, sprays, wax crayons, I use everything leaves a trace. I paint every tool on every surface. I have my own set of themes, characters and symbols but the most important in painting, for me is the process in which the picture leads me, guide my hand. I’m using action painting and improvisation, I never know what will be the very end result of picture. At the beginning I start painting by a very loosely defined concept, then comes emotions, quick decisions and the creative process.My art comes from the inner need of expression and the need to explore the layers of the human psyche. I want to tell an ancient story of a man- not domesticated, who’s acting on impulse, disorganized person, a predator and a prey in constant danger. His history is long and complicated and yet he’s no different from us. I’m critical of the consumer society, institutionalized modern society. The creative process allows me to live like a bit of emotion, and this is for me an extraordinary adventure." Paweł Kleszczewski