Jerzy Hermanowicz

Konrad Jarodzki’s recent series of works focus on the problem of matter penetrating space. In this case, the artist’s method approaches that of a scientist, taking as a departure point something concrete, at least partially analysed, and referring to the current state of knowledge in order to venture into new territory and explore it. To him, matter, as an element relatively familiar and accessible, that is real, becomes an instrument employed to penetrate space, a non-reality still strange and largely unexplored. His method is informed by man’s eternal cognitive urge to penetrate through the mysteries of the universe and grasp the underlying principles of nature. At this point, the question arises about the need and possibility of such cognition.

In their research, scientists rely on experiments, laboratories, and sophisticated equipment. The painter has at his disposal more traditional instruments: his canvas, paints, and brushes, but this does not imply that he is unable to undertake this intellectual task. The basic visual forms employed by Jarodzki resemble cut-up pipelines or even worms, as a critic called them somewhat ironically, penetrating into the pictorial space of crawling parallel to it. This somewhat revolting comparison seems justified and revealing as the “worms” suggest organic, biological forms and convincingly stand for the matter. The remainder of the picture plane, usually monochromatic, is identified with space in its boundless, cosmic dimension. By exhibiting his paintings, Jarodzki becomes the director of a spectacle unfolding before the viewer’s eyes. The viewer facing the canvas gets automatically placed at some point in an ongoing process of spatial integration. It enfolds from a point located at an indefinite distance far behind his back and the matter expands forward, towards a vanishing point, to suggest the bodies disappearing into the non-extant horizon and far beyond. The expressive treatment of interfering forms creates the sensation of being drawn inside, sucked into the rendered space. This expressive charge emphasizes the intrinsic, tragic futility of human cognitive effort. The peculiar points of contact between the material elements convey a sense of impending danger: What fate awaits humankind?

Jarodzki’s works showcase the artist’s mastery. His composition is simple but logical and faultless, draughtsmanship beyond reproach, both perfect and spontaneous, and colour design focused and expressive. His technique of layered application of paint imbues his monochromatic compositions with a mesmerizing luminosity, a kind of phosphoric light that enhances the form’s modelling and expression additionally emphasized by subtle textures. This specific light and dynamic piling-up of organic forms give the pictures a poetic and disturbing mood.

Considered in stylistic categories, Jarodzki’s painting may be classified as belonging to the broadly understood Abstraction, but its intellectual complexity and technical brilliance also refer to Surrealism and Expressionism. Viewed in its multifarious complexity, his art emerges as a very individual and outstanding phenomenon. 

Translated by: Małgorzata Możdżyńska-Nawotka, Katarzyna Mironowicz, ACR – Centrum Tłumaczeń Specjalistycznych


Text originally published in: Konrad Jarodzki. Nadchodzi, exhibition catalogue, Białystok: Biuro Wystaw Artystycznych Białystok, 1974

Courtesy of Galeria Arsenał in Białystok