Let the melancholic young man, Picasso’s protagonist, speak first. He is slender, wearing a leotard, so probably a dancer or a circus performer, a lost sensitive soul. Let us consider that he is waiting for his turn on the trapeze, he will practice until he can’t anymore. Then, during the performance in the arena, he will perform the most difficult stunts, seduce the audience, put them in a state of euphoria and amazement, and conjure up a triumphant victor’s smile from beneath his fatigue. It worked again, it worked again, he hid his sadness in an invisible pocket of his leotard. Tricks are his speciality, the costume, the mask.
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At this moment he does not pretend, he does not measure himself against the world, he sits as if he were sitting in the waiting room of life, at the threshold of an adventure that he does not even anticipate, for adventure is, after all, awaited with excitement, and he seems to be sinking deeply into himself.
The mood, the most important thing in this painting is the mood. Oneiric and fairy-tale, lined with tragedy. In the reverie of the young man, in the melancholy of his black eyes, in the entwining of his narrow feet. Plus that psychedelic sky, like jumbled thoughts hidden behind the smooth forehead of a circus performer.
Tricks, games, and pretending are frequent elements of Katarzyna Karpowicz’s paintings. This time, they became the direct theme and title of the exhibition. The artist drew on her childhood memories, when she and her sister used to play by taking on the identities and emotions of other children, imaginary friends from the furthest corners of the world. To be everyone and everywhere, that is the dream! That’s how Maurin was born, perhaps a boy, perhaps a girl, it doesn’t matter because the name fits everyone.
In the six panel paintings, each decorated with one letter of Maurin’s name, there are seventy-two faces, various types with a common denominator – Katarzyna Karpowicz.
It is her game, her mystification, her look, the oval of her face, her hat and scarf, even if they are not real, then seen from at, wished for and dreamed of.
Maurin is a young Picasso, Franz Kafka, you, me, she – in a word, an everyman. The skull motif present in this innocent game can be treated as a carnival mask, another disguise, or a warning, a memento mori, the end of innocence, childhood, and the whole game as a kind of existential metaphor.
In Katarzyna Karpowicz’s paintings, feelings and dreams, literature and cinema, reality and unreality, are combined in a seductive narrative, full of subtle wit and light nostalgia.
Life is elsewhere, perhaps in the painting.
Katarzyna Karpowicz’s narrative paintings are practically begging for a literary story. Writer and literature researcher Eliza Kącka took a look at the Maurin exhibition and added stories to several selected paintings in perverse miniatures.
In a conversation with the artist, art critic Bogusław Deptuła deconstructs her paintings, asking simple questions: what is a mirror, what is a mask, what is a circus?