Fire and Snow
Karol Palczak lives in close proximity to nature, being greatly dependent on it. He treats it as an important element of his everyday life, to which he strongly succumbs. Of course, this is not the case with everyone, but for a farmer, the weather greatly determines all their actions. It may be somewhat similar with a painter if they treat nature with the same seriousness as a farmer. So, the snow has fallen and is lying there. For a long time, perhaps even for several months. It's hard not to think about it, hard not to remember it, if you trudge through it several times a day. The show becomes the main scenography, but also the dramaturgy of everyday life, inalienable until it melts away.
And something that is on the opposite side, an element that we think we can control, although it is not always easy, as we have seen many times – fire. Fire can make for extraordinary scenery, depending on whether it's huge flames shooting up or the opposite, smoke billowing across the landscape, thick and acrid. Warmth and protection from the cold, yes, but burning forests, not so much. It's good to make a fire in the snow and feel its blessing. Sometimes it doesn't work and there is more smoke than fire. It becomes a scenery in nature then, a worrying act of human – or otherworldly – presence.
When the elements are not enough, however, things come to mind, perhaps not demons, but unobvious dramatic – or rather dramaturgical – ideas. In the nocturnal winter scenery, Karol Palczak decided to stage... perhaps not his own suicide but dangling from a tree. It sounds strange, whatever version, but that's how it was. The proof is in the flash-lit night-time photographs of his bare torso amidst the snow and the night, all the more unobvious and moving. An expedition towards the border of life and death, even if only staged, still menacing and disturbing, somehow dramatically uncomfortable, exaggerated, perhaps moonshine-fuelled, perhaps narcotic, but always irritating. Throwing a rope over a branch, supporting a human body. Remaining on the border, or just a story about crossing it. Human theatre, uncertain, incomprehensible, somewhere on the south-eastern edge of this country.
Karol Palczak was born in 1987 in Przemyśl. He graduated from the Faculty of Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, where he defended his diploma in 2015 in the studio of Prof. Janusz Matuszewski. Since completing his studies, he has been living and creating in his hometown – Krzywcza in the Sub-Carpathia region.
Winner of the Grand Prix at the 44th Bielsko Autumn Painting Biennale 2019, BWA Galeria Bielska, Bielsko-Biała (2019); winner of the Grand Prix of the First Krakow Art Salon, Pałac Sztuki, Krakow (2018); 2nd prize at the Animalis 2017 4th Triennial of Painting, Galeria MM, Chorzów (2017); distinguished with a Medal of the Society of Friends of the Fine Arts at the Best Diplomas 2014/2015 exhibition of the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, Kraków (2015). Nominated for the Polityka Passport award in the category of Visual Arts for 2020. Author of individual exhibitions A Fire Every Day, Śladowski Gallery, Krakow (2019); Baghvan, Potencja Gallery, Krakow (2017/2018). Participant of many group exhibitions.