Magdalena Karpińska
The journey through shambles

Polana Institute
Stanisława Noakowskiego 16/35
May 20–June 4, 2022

Magdalena Karpinska's latest series of paintings is like the first moments we experience on leaving a room that has run out of air. This encounter with nature is greedy, shameless, hence the recurring motif of the river in her paintings – in its entirety, unfolding to the horizon. In Renaissance paintings, a river suggests perspective, but here it meanders like an hourglass, measuring the time we have wasted in solitude. The memory of this loss is like a transparent fading jug from which time, poured into a broken vase, escapes again in the shape of a river, symbolizing all the changes that could have happened in our life but which we missed.

Karpinska's paintings increasingly often feature human figures. Illuminated by the setting sun or the moon, they do not form a unique relation with nature, but are a part of it. The distant references to the paintings of Caspar David Friedrich are not accidental. But, in Karpinska's paintings, men are not in control of nature. They are helpless and listening, and their ears and hands are like flowers. The bathing female friends are not watched or judged by anyone. Ingres-esque faces turn to a sister, not to a portraitist.

Although nocturnes are characteristic of the artist's work, in this her latest series, black is replaced by navy blue and deep cobalt, as if out of fear of the darkness returning. Awakening, although painted in a sunset, seems to be the main promise of the whole cycle.


Exhibition view

Selected works

Magdalena Karpińska Bathing egg tempera and oil on canvas 2022
Body in lands
Magdalena Karpińska Body in lands egg tempera and oil on canvas 2022
Can’t hear my eyes
Magdalena Karpińska Can’t hear my eyes egg tempera on canvas, 2022
Burning hand
Magdalena Karpińska Burning hand egg tempera and oil on canvas 2021
Watering 3
Magdalena Karpińska Watering 3 egg tempera and oil on canvas 2022
Magdalena Karpińska Girlfriends egg tempera and oil on canvas 2022
Stones by the river
Magdalena Karpińska Stones by the river egg tempera and oil on canvas 2022