By Joanna Korecka
Biała Podlaska: the provinces, provincial scenery and objects; a coverlet spread over a cheap sofa bed, curtains at the windows, grass in front of a barn. Adam Korszun returned here with a degree in painting after completing his studies at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts. Such a degree was no portent of good luck then. Adam didn’t get a job. He lived on the unemployment benefit; I don’t know how he managed to buy paint and other things he needed. But he did, and, in contrast to many of his colleagues from the Academy in Warsaw, he didn’t stop painting. After a few years he got a job as a Senior Visual Arts Instructor in Podlaska Gallery. I don’t know how he manages to buy paint and other things he needs, but he still keeps painting, better and better, more and more.
Biała Podlaska - the name means White Village in Podlasie (Podlasie being the region) - is really black, because Adam adores darkness. Shapes, faces, eyes, noses, cheeks, mouths emerging from darkness. Provincial scenery and objects: a coverlet spread over a cheap sofa bed, curtains at the windows, grass in front of a barn - are all shrouded in darkness. Faces portrayed by the artist emerge from darkness; they are not immersed in any scenery, they could come from anywhere. On the surface of his canvases there are no details except facial features. He keeps painting, better and better, more and more.
Ten years ago I cycled 240 kilometres in one day, from Biała Podlaska to Tomaszów Mazowiecki, to see a girl. I would like to repeat that cycling trip from ten years ago. But I feel a different man now, I feel tired. Then I was very young, fit, slim. I would like to go to Tomaszów once again.
I really don’t know whether I’ll be able to cycle 240 kms in one day, and to find my destination like it used to be ten years ago.
In central points of his paintings Adam puts titles:
A Dream of Distant Parts, I Don’t Know if I’ll Make It, From a Very Long Distance.
Many of them are quotations from songs by the group Joy Division, of which he is a dedicated fan. They always have very personal connotations; they express his own fears and wishes. They are inspired by memories. In contact with those texts each of the painted female heads loses its immobility, its abstract melancholy and is ready to turn round and look you straight in the eye any moment.
When you enter Adams flat, the most important object which catches your eye is the radio. It’s a small, ancient radio of a brand called Irys, and it receives rock music stations quite well. That’s what Adam Korszun listens to. His quiet paintings, emanating a mysterious light like Rembrandt’s, are made to loud music by Joy Division, The Doors, Sting. Apparently, all the paintings are originally rough, painted through “big beat” inspired by music. Only later, after a long process of painting over a succession of layers, do portraits with a very gentle, quiet texture come into being.
Adam Korszun’s models are often women seen on TV.
Girls from films (The X Files), from sports programmes, newscasters, hosts, actresses, girls “stolen” by the reporter from the street - Korszun takes them all out of the TV scenery and puts them in quiet, dark space. He is fascinated by close-ups of faces; he takes black-and-white photos of them, directly from the TV, using an 8 mm Zenith. Those photos are his sketches for oil paintings on wood. He says that is his way of taming girls, who he has problems with.