• Where Pawilon Sztuki ERGO Hestia
  • Date 15 February 2020

Zuzanna Dolega “Elsewhere”

Current reality gives us more and more opportunities to function in the virtual world – sometimes almost exclusively there. Connected to a global network with our thoughts, we can be completely elsewhere than our physical bodies. The problem of detachment from the "here and now" is in the focus of many, more or less mainstream, philosophy-related movements, including the popular mindfulness approach, which promotes taking a break in everyday rush and carefully observing both oneself and reality around – not mediated by any technology.
For Zuzanna Dolega, it is the creative process that seems to be a way to achieving serenity and meditative focus on her inner life. What she is preoccupied with mostly is pyrography – art created by means fire, which in the artists’ hands gains a completely new, original dimension. First of all, the material she works with most frequently is paper. The very combination of fire and paper already seems to be exclusive – such a delicate and fleeting material exposed to flames will inevitably be destroyed. However, Dolega wields fire which is "tamed" in special pyrographic tools; red hot, but not burning with living fire or ejecting smoke, as it was the case, for example, in the fumage technique invented by surrealists. The use of a warmed-up thin etching needle allows the artist to achieve controlled and thus extremely precise and subtle effects.
Yet, it is not only the visual sensations that matter to her – the works of Zuzanna Dolega also affect the senses with their rugged texture or the barely perceptible smell of burning. Small holes burned in paper are arranged in openwork patterns, composed in a more or less free manner on a neutral background. Sometimes they take a form resembling with their layout a written text, or they are actual holes burnt in a page from an old book or manuscript. However, while the text should by definition be the carrier of some content, the message, in the case of Dolega's work, what becomes the content is the void, lack; there is only a trace of the implicit statement that the viewers have to complete themselves. Dolega seems to encrypt her true thoughts and emotions in a way which is fully readable only to herself, which makes her works resemble a mysterious diary, subject to (self-)burning, or maps of internal landscapes with no key provided. As she argues, using the technique of pyrography is for her like a seismographic examination of her own inner world; neither drawing nor painting constitutes for her such a direct and intimate form of expression as "carving" with fire in paper.

Opening: February 15, 2020, Saturday, 11.00 am Ergo Hestia Art Pavilion, Kostrzewskiego 1, Warsaw Exhibition open till March 27, 2020 Exhibition catalogue available online.