Alicja Bielawska
Hidden Doubts

In her practice, Alicja Bielawska has been dealing with the physical—or metaphysical—qualities of objects: their geometric shapes, their colors, their potential or imaginative functions, but also the relationships occuring between themselves and individual viewers. She has applied this attitude in creating drawings, sculptures and installations, but also experimenting with perceiving them in motion, animating them through choreographed actions with dancers.

For her first solo exhibition at Kasia Michalski, Bielawska proposed a set of new works made specifically for the occasion. In describing the concept for the show, she quotes a fragment from Italo Calvino’s The Nonexistent Knight:

He found him under a pine tree, sitting on the ground, arranging fallen pine cones in a regular design: an isosceles triangle. At that hour of dawn Agilulf always needed to apply himself to some precise exercise: counting objects, arranging them in geometric patterns, resolving problems of arithmetic. It was the hour in which objects lose the consistency of shadow that accompanies them during the night and gradually reacquire colors, but seem to cross meanwhile an uncertain limbo, faintly touched, just breathed on by light; the hour in which one is least certain of the world’s existence. (…) Applying himself to this exact occupation helped him to overcome his malaise, absorb his discontent and disquiet, reacquire his usual lucidity and composure.*

Similarly to Agilulf, Bielawska methodically composes, arranges and deconstructs. Contrary to Calvino’s protagonist, however, she seems to luxuriate in hesitation. Allowing herself to doubt, to rely on intuition, she welcomes mistakes and false steps as inherent parts of the creative process. The resulting works seem captured in the state of their own becoming; self-sustained, they create dynamic constellations within the space.

*Italo Calvino, The Nonexistent Knight, transl. Archibald Colquhoun, New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1977

Download press release (PDF)
Download exhibition catalog (PDF)

Person of the Week: Alicja Bielawska, (interview)