l’étrangère is proud to present Epiphany of Time, the first exhibition in the UK of work by the Polish artist, Bożenna Biskupska. The exhibition showcases Biskupska’s ongoing series of paintings entitled Cages, many of which are shown here for the first time.
Each painting in the Cages series is created using thick layers of oil paint, confined within a rectangular boarder; some are ‘slashed’ through by thick diagonal lines or interrupted by additional rectangles within. The works are left to ‘ripen’ for a long period of time, often for a number of years until the artist decides to release them when they ‘mature’ enough. The materiality of paint, transformed by time, reveals colour and develops texture which adds a sculptural dimension to the work.
The process where time plays a central role in transforming the materials is key to Biskupska’s practice. Referencing existential and metaphysical issues such as mortality, aging, decay, as well as creativity, healing and wisdom that comes with time, imbues the paintings with a meditative and spiritual dimension.
The paintings can be seen to explore limitation or confinement and bring associations of fixed, enclosed boundaries. They also attempt to define the artist’s own creative space where she attempts to harness the process of the metamorphosis of paint. Thus, the work enables conditions which permit ‘something to happen’, providing the foundations for allowing the structure of the paintings to become stable. The fluidity and formlessness, often associated with the feminine, are fixed within the boundaries imposed by the artist that clearly reference geometric abstraction but through their expressive nature give the feeling of being in flux.
Born in Warsaw in 1952, Bożenna Biskupska studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań (1970-1972), and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw (1972 -1976) where she graduated with a distinction. Her practice encompasses sculpture, painting, experimental theatre, performance, sound and video.
In 1982 Biskupska won the First Prize on the 4th International Biennial Exhibition of Weaving Miniature, Savaria Museum, Szombathely, Hungary. In 1984 she was granted a two-year Polish Ministry of Art and Culture scholarship. In 1986 she won the First Grade Prize of the Stanisław Wyspiański Award for painting and sculpture. She represented Poland at the 41st Venice Biennale in 1984 and at the 14th International Biennale of Small Bronze Sculptures in Padua, Italy in 1986. In addition to exhibiting in numerous institutions throughout Poland over the years, Biskupska’s works have been shown internationally including France, Italy, the USA, Hungary, Germany and Japan.
In 2004 she co-founded In Situ Contemporary Art Foundation based in Sokołowsko, Poland. From 2012 onwards, a number of festivals have taken place there every year such as Contexts, Sanatorium of Sound, and Hommage to Kieślowski, which focus on ephemeral art, experimental music and film.
Her works are included in numerous private and public collections including the National Museum in Szczecin, the Polish Sculpture Centre in Orońsk, the Art Museum Łódź, the State Museum of Auschwitz - Birkenau, the Museum of Lubuski Region of Zielona Góra, The Museum of Warmia and Mazury, Studio Gallery in Warsaw, SBWA Gallery Warsaw, BWA Gallery Opole, The Museum of Szombathely, Hungary, the Humboldt University in Berlin, the Polish Museum in Chicago and Kokusai Koeki Co. in Tokyo.