Anna Szpakowska-Kujawska - Rytmy / Rhythms

Anna Szpakowska-Kujawska (b. 1931) – a paintress; creates also collages, ceramic sculptures, objects. Her works are well-recognizable in the city space of Wrocław (eg. the ceramic decoration of the façade of the Instituite of Mathematics at the University of Wrocław). She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław, in years 1961-1978 was one of the members of the so-called Wrocław School (later: Wrocław Group). Lives and works in Wrocław, being an active promoter of the art of her father – Wacław Szpakowski.


Life is indestructible and the world is beautiful.

It is a very risky stating, regarding the fact that we are living in a time when one of the main cultural currents remains the post-apocalyptica and when global media are prophesizing an ecological disaster in less than twenty years from now on. So, does Anna Szpakowska-Kujawska think that the world is beautiful despite something? Despite the air pollution, all the dying species, waves of plastic killing life in the oceans, humanity that cannot learn from its own mistakes? No, the world is beautiful just like that. In this case beauty is not only a trait ascribed to life and to the world, it is identical with life itself. There is no place for cynicism in Szpakowska’s art; there is purity – of energy, of colors, in the clearness of shapes. The narration too is very clear: the works created within the span of a few decades still come back to the most essential themes, to fundamental things. There are germs of life (words) sparkling in cosmic darkness, the dynamics of the multiplication of organisms, birth, life itself – with its joys and burdens, and finally the end, and then back from the beginning: after the dissolution there is always a "Return to form".

Rhythm is the basic movement of nature. It means the repetition: of days and nights, of seasons, of destruction and creation, the never-ending reproduction of species, the pulse of hearts, the inhales and exhales… In Szpakowska’s art it is something constantly recurring – like in one, big "Lesson of Eurhythmics". The forms are penetrating into each other, the multiplicated figures remind of some wiggly arachnids with their numerous limbs, the animal forms evolve into human and vice versa. The god of this art is Dionysus. The starting point of the exhibition was a series of paintings from the early 1960s, entitled "Dionysia". Those works depicting dancing, round, amphora-like shaped human figures are already characteristic for the development of the artist: there is this pure dynamism, the multiplication, the saturation of color, the fluidity of forms, the stylization of human shape. The ancient Greeks worshipped Dionysus as the god of zoe – the never-ending, indestructible, all-encompassing life, as contrasted with bios – the life of an individual being. Szpakowska’s art is Dionysian precisely in this way, as zoe means life that does not distinguish between human, animal or even plant existence, the conscious life from vegetation; it means a departure from elevating one form of life over the other – is it not the way of seeing the world we especially need now, confronted with pressing ecological issues, knowing that we have to reformulate our attitude towards nature? Death does not mean any danger for such a life – in the rhythm of constant change death itself simply does not exist. That is why life is indestructible. That is why the world is beautiful. “My god is beautiful and so am I…” – as sung the Shephard (Dionysus) in Szymanowski’s King Roger.

/ Joanna Kaźmierczak /

Photo-report