Gwiazda the heretic
by Marco Izzolino
An heretic is someone who – although belonging to a religious belief – calls into question some of the revealed truths or faith dogmas; by extension, someone who – for his/her way of thinking or judging – diverges from common opinions or ideologies or from those shared by the group to which he/she belongs.
The title of the exhibition, “Herezja” (heresy) refers both to the contents and the style of the artist: no matter from which point of view we look at Gwiazda's sculptures, they seem to introduce elements that they immediately deny. As far as we can see from his works, Gwiazda has to be considered an “heretic” of the contemporary sculpture.
His heresy seems to be a “secession” from the academic style carried out by the first European avant-gardes: nevertheless, it has an opposite nature. Gwiazda not only knows perfectly the late 19th century Central European academic style and the traditional techniques of sculpture, but he also knows how the 20th century avant-gardes repudiated or transformed them each time – according to the cultural, political or social environment or requirements – in expressionist, minimalist, totalitarian, futurist, metaphysical and surrealist tone. Gwiazda seems to create a communion of this wealth of knowledge and experiences which shapes sculptures that – although they show the weight and the wealth of last century stylistic history on their body – stand out thanks to their astonishing modernity.
Past styles are only a dictionary from which the artist draws, but which is needed to describe modernity in a completely innovative way, by using the grammar of “post-production”, a common feature to those generations born after the 1980s: research, recovery, quotations and assembly – in contemporary tone – of shapes, iconographies, uses and techniques from the past.
Gwiazda's “heretical” feature is not in the grammar he uses, but in his continuous denial of his reference points. One might set any of his sculptures into a stylistic context or historical reference – as if the artist is carrying them on – but the details themselves of the work show other references that deny and challenge the ones previously taken into account.
Every Gwiazda sculpture is substantially a physical and visual subject able to describe the passage from one kind of iconography to another, from one style to the other, from one artistic medium to another.
About figurative: This seems to be the only indisputable element of this artist's works: nevertheless, by taking a closer look, Gwiazda makes his human figures appear out of shapeless mass of matter. Therefore, his characters tend to or come from abstraction.
About titles: They – as the characters they describe – come from the classical themes of the history of ancient arts, such as, for example, the Minotaur, or from the origins of modern times, such as, for example, the cyclist. Nevertheless, one can easily realize that, behind past subjects, Gwiazda is hiding characters from the present.
About the style: Each of his sculptures has a prevailing style: some of them are certainly expressionist works; others are so solemn that they recall the socialist realism; others are more abstract; some others show the violence of the late 19th century realism or of the modern realism of the Young British Art; others are warped in surrealist or symbolist tone. Nevertheless, the prevailing style is continuously denied in the body itself of the sculpture, so that every work shows a stylistic reference and its opposite at the same time.
About the medium: In all Gwiazda sculptures, great attention is paid to the colouring and the patina. Sometimes not only the colour is important but also the fact itself that it is “painted” on the work, insomuch as the artist leaves the effects of the drops and strokes visible. One might wonder if the sculptures are a mass that emerges from the two-dimensional surface of painting or if the latter is the inevitable conclusion of the sculptor's work.