By Małgorzata Czyńska
Rafał Kostrzewa is an art history expert, and claims this knowledge to be his forward propeller at work. He is a master of cubist and fauvist painting quotes, and a lover of 20th century avant-garde: art revolutions, the Bohemia, anecdotes, and the emerald green of absinthe. These times are his inspiration.
His childhood was full of Picasso, Leger, Bonnard, and Rousseau. He played truant, spending hours at the Hermitage halls inhabited by Matisse. What he saw became deeply rooted within him; now, he can close his eyes to reality when painting.
My models are paintings, Rafał claims,
when I work on a blue painting, my girl is blue, turning green if I work on a green piece. The light and colour change constantly. I paint.
Rafał’s world of art has always been populated with young and beautiful women and slim men, their bliss ornamented with birds and animals, plants and fruit. Paintings give birth to abstract, ethereal beings, swimming out beyond our daily reality. Musicians, wizards, dancers, odalisques, lovers – Kostrzewa’s heroes are sensual, their world hedonistic and yet not entirely free of a touch of melancholy.
Rafał often transfers his atelier to the great outdoors, to the garden, painting al fresco, in the full light of the day. Hence his paintings are a game at colour, and displayed an unquestioned purity of full-bodied, vivid shades.
His newest works from the Spring Feast series have also been raised in a garden, in a clime of newborn greenery and scent of turned soil. It matters not that they show no nature. Rafał’s nature is about the sense of space, animals, an escape from the noise of the city. We are offered the privilege of drawing sensual pleasure in viewing a work of art; and maybe this is the note on which the Tale of Painting should end.