Dariusz Korol (Lublin)
Rememberance of pictures (paintings, installation)
Even though these paintings have been created during a long creative process, they are easy to destroy. Not just the painter can destroy them; it is enough to hold "the brush" too close - i.e. the smoking flame of a candle close to the canvas - and the painting ceases to exist as a painting, it starts to burn, decay, vanish before our eyes. The viewers also can add their three pennies. Everybody is tempted to touch the canvas, feel the roughness of the surface or thickness, weight of the "paint". Then, the whole composition decays - paintings have their logic, usually based on geometry, rhythm used to arrange lines and stripes. When somebody touches them chaos begins; a messy stain, inconsistent spot.
On top of this there is time and properties of the used material itself: "liquidified" smoke on canvas is like dust - it is enough to blow, you know... . These paintings (these are paintings, after all they exist on rectangular, primed canvas) tell a tale, very literally, of temporality and ephemerality.
They also can fool senses. The strangely constructed lines and stripes, which are the basic building blocs of the whole, after a while start to show their other face, another nature: they transform from static and flat into vibrating and three dimensional. In the 'Wschodnia' they are accompanied by their photographic 'twins', projected on the walls of a darkened room - like in a cinema.
Dariusz Korol 'The Memory of Paintings'.
Galeria Wschodnia 26 November - 10 December 1999.
Text: Maciej Cholewinski
Translation: Wieslaw Michalak
A trace of Certain Nostalgia on Dariusz Korol's paintings-ephemera
In the epoch when an excessive abundance of the implied idols resulted in a paradoxical lack of heroes that deserve following, we have to face the crisis of a form as such. Outdating of hitherto existing standards and the lack of clear patterns and canons do not pertain only to the utopian territory of ideas but also to the form and languages of their personifications. A form is 'sick'. It has become fragile and weak, semantically 'transparent', subjected to the continuous manipulation and treatment. The profusion of the 'congested' visual material, attacking a modern man with an excessive abstractness and 'abundance' goes hand in hand with a semantic emptiness of these messages and inflation of content. It liberates a demand of order, taken out of a convention of icons conveyed by the media. A painting which is created manually insists on adequacy. It turns for help in noticing its 'metaphysical tragedy'.
Dariusz Korol's paintings, in spite of their classical composition, calmed down by the rhythms, compete with the best thrillers through their tension. It is brought about not so much by the forms placed within a painting as by the original technique of representation, this young artist has been employing for several years now. A brush and pigment have been replaced by a wax candle and smoke. This technique forces the artist to work with the real Benedictine patience. It requires perfect control, enormous concentration, often making the painter start his work from the very beginning over and over again. For even the tiniest moment of inattetion, 'moving away' from an icon in progress, an accidental interference of some external factor destroy the whole effort, transform irrevocably the shape of a painting, interfering brutally into its subtle, extremely delicate and at the same time visually attractive form. As it befits 'soulful' matter they constitute its literal determinant and simultaneously its contradiction. Deprived of their functionality and expediency they point to the end of a metaphysical horizon. The meaning, inscribed in them, refers to their duration as well as to the never-ending potentiality of destruction.
With the whole openness and defencelessness (the artist perversely has not applied any 'protective' techniques to preserve the surface of a painting, like varnish or glass) they 'suffer the faith' of deconstructionist ephemera. They carry an entrancing structure as the only content, which is not so much format as it is metaphysical, constituting a representation of their author's sensivity. At the same time the artist gives the viewer a continuous try of his own sensivity and concentration. Obviously the try involves a great risk of defeat, misunderstanding and disregard of the fragile autonomy of a painting created in such a way, as well as the content hidden in the choice of a creative process, the content which, as a matter of fact, resides beyond shapes themselves.
All that prompts some kind of catastrophism. Perhaps it is a meaning which reveals the end of all the stories, taking place in the paintings by other artists. If referring to the Spirit have lost its significance and omnipotence for many of us, then perhaps something has been left by its presence. A trace of certain nostalgia.
Dariusz Korol's paintings overflow with biologism and metaphysical truth. Does the method chosen by the artist not reflect the uncertainty and transitoriness of human existence? The forms and rhythms seem to refer to the familiar dictionary of forms, that has been already worn out by modern art, at the same time demonstrating the destabilisation of the order inherent in them. Being subjected by the artist to 'the last ordeal of survival' they appear to have their existance as much thought over as incidental. The complex circumstances required for survival and 'existential stories' which are full of risk impose comparisons and general questions on the condition of a modern work of art.
The artist brings to life a form which is as mortal as he is himself. This is almost a biological and live form, subjected to incidents, destruction and transformation. The painting begins to enter into an interaction with a viewer, striving dramatically for respecting its properties and 'inviolability', and perhaps even a certain 'innocence'. To recognise the properties of the matter of Korol's paintings is to find a key to understand them. Narration, which the artist puts in parentheses, taking place on the surface of his paintings, seems to stretch in time. For these works contain the memory of the past, the memory of a gesture creating a painting as well as the tension of the passing time, marking the moments of survival. Perhaps a paradoxical subject matter of Korol's painting is the end of painting and getting accustomed to what has been left as praxis?
Jolanta Ciesielska, Lodz, January 1998
translated by Malgorzata Sady
text from the catalogue for the exhibition of Dariusz Korol in BWA in Lublin