Barbara Baworowska

Konrad Jarodzki

Virtually in every artist’s works, one may distinguish a period of crystallization of their individual style. In the case of Konrad Jarodzki, such a period occurred in the years 1963-1970. Without being excessively judgemental about the works which were created at that time, their unquestionable significance should be stressed in the process of examining slowly growing experiences, all of which together enable the artist to create the proper work of art.

The opening motif of the first compositions was an image of a head depicted in the form of simple, naked signs. Next, it is gradually subjected to destruction which consequently leads to the formula of organic abstraction. The ultimate results of these practices are canvas with a natural background contracted against a barely visible colourful stain. It should be assumed that at that very moment maybe only intuitively the artist’s interest in space was born. This proposition seems to be confirmed by the next compositions (e.g., “Destruction” from 1969) in which the massive forms filled with visual matter exist as a shutter or torn theatre stage wings, and the only thing which is behind them at a certain distance is a smooth surface. Such a combination of natural background with textured forms requires reading the whole at different moments in time and, consequently, a time element closely connected with space emerges. Thus, a work of art becomes a prototype of later mutations of the problem.

His artistic program ultimately solidified in 1971 at the plein air in Turów whose main topic was the discussion and conceptual activities. What fascinated Jarodzki most was the limitlessness of the open-cast coal mine lunar landscape. The recognition of the destructive impact of man on the transformation of nature was also a special experience. A number of perceived emotions evoked a longing for physical contact and unity with nature. A learning drive brought Jarodzki to the very centre of the industrial area whose landscape he embraced with white tape. Coiled in a bundle, with footage and photographic reportage, it is now an interesting document of his artistic activity whose integral features include universalism which complies with the requirements of not only conceptualism but land art as well.

“Dependency” – a series of drawings – is a logical consequence of the experiment. The influence of these works consists in the dynamism of the forms filled with regularly condensed lines. The depth is barely signalled in them, which is the result of graphite’s limited possibilities.

The artist’s oil compositions display full concentration on space. At first impulse, they may evoke in the viewers a feeling of aversion and unpleasantness caused by associations with the pulsating ‘ducts’ or huge ‘entrails.’ However, what is hidden behind these superficial observations is a specific suggestion of noticing in those shapes what is most difficult to imagine as the artist mobilized all available means of visual rendition in order to illustrate the three-dimensional continuity, that is what is sometimes commonly defined as time and space.

The rhythm of colours is the carrier of time. Each of the monochromatic paintings is distinguished by a different colour scheme, and the abstract forms, outlined with glazes and lines, remain in a continuous expansive motion. The motion and colours of the next painting are connected with the previous one which causes almost ‘melodic’ cohesion within one or a number of sets with a distinction of emotional tensions at the same time. The colourful rhythm glows in whites; it’s most dynamic in oranges and reds and then it suddenly fades away in greens and blues. Furthermore, each of the colours itself presents all dimensions and all semantic values, and thus the plane can be spatially stretched like a harmonica. The results achieved with the use of traditional visual media attract admiration. The complicated sets of space and time included in the paintings emanate power as great as that which usually operates in environments. The elements of reality and possibilities penetrate one another as well as visible and presumed places, triggering the activity of the viewers.

The independent attitude towards changing fashions and conventions as well as the ability to maintain an appropriate distance to them is undoubtedly a source of success. Jarodzki is far away from imitating reputable patterns and authorities. Surely, he does not adore novelties although he demonstrates their thorough understanding, treating them, however, not as a target but as a means of perfecting his work.

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


Text originally published in the journal Sztuka 1975, no. 2, pp. 54-55

Courtesy of the journal Sztuka,