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Act one, scene two (Akt. Scena druga)/ Young Painters in Gdańsk 2014, MFAs in Painting 2014

Text: Anna Reinert PhD, Thesis Reviewer

Formally, the whole is composed in the image of drama (the title itself suggests it). As we wade form one scene through subsequent acts, we learn the whole catalogue of visual artists who are important for the author. We start to realize, we find ourselves inside a kind of puzzle, among elements, according to witch Karolina Bracławiec tries to determine her position. She tells us not only her private history of contemporary art; the art, that has educated here, but she tries to tell us about herself referring to her relationship to other artists. As if looking at herself in their works and approaches like in a mirror, she tried to answer the question: who am I?

When I am already losing hope that Karolina Bracławiec dares to say „I am”, „I think”, „I feel”, I notice a change in her text. First, the style turns into more personal. The author lowers the guard, she camouflages her owns thoughts with quotes. Then - and this is what I believe has the highest value – she says not: „I am” or „I think”, but: „I don't know”. That „don't know”, regarding all this erudition and an unquestionable literary craft, gets enormous power. And a true meaning.

Karolina Bracławiec enters the scene courageously, without veils and distracting stage props (it is a drama after all) and says:
„The moment comes, when you have to enter the scene consciously. (...) How can you focus the viewer's attention in the world of surfing view, in the rush of information and prevailing inconstancy of meanings? I am not going to tell you that. I am not going to tell you anything about the truth; what is the meaning of all that art” - I won't tell you that. I am trying to find it out just like you. You are asking, you are trying to read into. I am asking, I am trying to read into. Repeatedly surpassing myself sometimes I even believe, I've found something, sometimes it even impresses me, and then I start to wander about. Good crop frightens me just so strongly, as strong is delight, I take in poor harvest. (...) Inquisitiveness is my feature, I don't like superficiality. Ability to watch the world is a challenge for me”.
The last sentence is the key to Karolina Bracławiec's painting, I believe. Maybe it should be more plain: I don't like superficiality, so my ability to watch the world, which seems to me superficial, is a challenge for me. Her works are just snapshots, a “glimpse is the content” (as one of the chapters is entitled); those shots are a little bit random, as if sneaked. On the other hand, the degree of formal discipline is high, so the concern for the composition, for the removal of needless elements. Large sizes and cleanness of colour suggest the easiness of painting, while in fact it was a toil to create them; the artist repainted them repeatedly, even redesigned, analyzed, denied. The painter struggled with superficiality of the world and the paintings. After all, it is an identical struggle. The content turns into the form and the form into the content.

I am waiting to see where this inquisitiveness and aversion to the superficiality will take her. Undoubtedly, it will not be a straight way from point A to point B. I'd rather expect windings and crossroads; fast run and anxious turn back; beautiful scenery and dangerous nooks. So, it's going to be a fascinating artistic journey and I will watch it with a great interest.

The artworks of Karolina Bracławiec prove, that she is a mature and sensitive artist. Her written thesis show her intellectual momentum and a fair degree of eloquence.