Małgorzata Czyńska Wojciech Tuleya By Małgorzata Czyńska Wojciech Tuleya

Katarzyna Karpowicz has just created an exhibition inspired by Spain, its art, colours and light, and above all lifestyle. She thrills at the paintings of El Greco and delights in the charm of being part of a community, of tolerance, gestures of closeness, the skill of celebrating moments, of living everyday life to the fullest.

Katarzyna Karpowicz
Katarzyna Karpowicz

A cup of hot chocolate, a glass of tinto de verano, a cream cake — all these things satisfy so many sensual pleasures. Especially since they always bring an excuse for a meeting, a conversation, a touch, and for people watching. Every such meeting is both a painting and a story. After all, Katarzyna likes her paintings to carry a message. Her paintings have always been narrative, and in the series of pictures for this exhibition, she additionally underscores the significance of the story and her role as the storyteller. She is the eponymous Cuentacuentos here, the storyteller, the Scheherazade who weaves another chapter of the Spanish tale with each successive painting.

Katarzyna Karpowicz is not just a tourist in Spain anymore. Juan Carlos, her husband, comes from Segovia. The historic city at the foot of the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains, with its stone architecture and Roman aqueduct, is where the artist walks and paints in the open air.  She observes and experiences familial and social gestures, she learns the Spaniards’ expression, she watches people with faces and silhouettes right out of an El Greco or Velazquez painting. She tastes the local cuisine and even has her favourite dessert — ponche segoviano, a sponge cake with vanilla cream and marzipan, which of course appears in a painting.

Karpowicz talks about these and other sweets, about Spanish delights and inspirations in an interview with Wika Kwiatkowska.

Jarosław Mikołajewski gives us an intimate recalling of a visit to the painter’s studio and his experience of ‘Spanish’ paintings, especially those that formally reference the layout of figures in a deck of cards, which are as painterly and symbolic ‘carousel of life’, all while sensing a bitter note in the sweetness.

As the Cuentacuentos, Katarzyna Karpowicz somehow brings to mind the great storyteller Karen Blixen, who wove her tales masterfully. Looking at the ‘Spanish’ paintings, at their subjects, at the churros and ponche segoviano, at the cups and glasses of drinks that glitter with a riot of colours, it feels right to compare them — and ourselves, the viewers — to the participants of Babette’s Feast who ‘grew lighter in weight and lighter of heart the more they ate and drank’.

Selected works

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