exhibition: 21/04/2023 – 5/05/2023
***A ten-year-old girl is standing on the edge of the balcony. Her mp3 plays the muffled sounds of Nicki Minaj’s ‘I’m the best’. Her face is full of determination, and her eyes are focused on some point inaccessible to anyone else. The setting sun illuminates her silhouette and slowly fades behind the distant horizon. The orange heat of the sun and the pink of the clouds fade quickly. In their place sneak a blue so deep it seems black. It spills, absorbs every surface and crosses all borders. It is everywhere and in a claustrophobic embrace takes us into the memories of the artist. ***
For the first time, the painting of Martyna Kaletowska, known mainly under the pseudonym Kozlow, meets the viewer and stands in front of him in full splendor. Under many layers of bright colors, expressive gestures, funny and even caricatured depictions, the artist presents a story about a bad woman. The heroines of the paintings are girls who break out of the framework of conventional and conservative femininity. They are annoyed, even gnashing their teeth in anger. Girls, bad women, chavettes or monstresses – these are the types of people who are at the forefront of Kozlow’s artwork. They are liberated and go-getting characters who are not afraid to be vulgar and aggressive. The artist uses the grotesque, combines beauty and ugliness, despair and comedy in order to introduce the viewer into amusement, which after a longer reflection turns into consternation. Situations observed in real life, distorted by the painter’s individual expression, become strangely familiar – like hallucinations, which at times seem too real.
The exhibition I’ll kill you, you bald fool is Kozlow’s personal story about anger and the ways to deal with it. The words included in the title were heard by the artist from her grandmother, during a family dispute, when a trifle became a reason for madness. Each image contains a small object that, like a biographical note, refers the observer to specific events in Kozlow’s life. The viewer must therefore look for clues, navigate the mess of ideas to connect all the threads of the story. Clutter is another important theme in Kaletowska’s painting, right after anger. It is a spatial manifestation of anger. Knick-knacks scattered everywhere, objects-notes from paintings, or the general impossibility of organizing the space around are an extension of the internal, expansive passion and absent-mindedness. The artist depicts anger at injustice, anger at love or generally anger at the whole world – these intense emotions then produce aggression that leads to annihilation. However, remembering and reliving difficult moments, the artist guides the viewer through important moments in her life. The heroine of the paintings gradually rejects conventional femininity and customs. She reworks key moments that had a significant impact on her. She comes out of the passive role of a hysterical-saint. Her anger is not irrational. It’s real, and in order to deal with it, she must accept her past. Only then can the final purification come.
The paintings presented in the ‘W Przyziemu’ Gallery relate to real events from Kozlow’s life. The scenes depicted in the paintings refer to events in which frustration, rage, passion and anger were always present in the background. At the same time, through formal solutions, such as the use of a flat background or a limited color palette, they introduce the atmosphere of dreams distorted by fever and emotional agitation. The exhibition I’ll kill you, you bald fool is Kozlow’s debut.
Aleksandra Machaczka, curator
Kozlow (Martyna Kaletowska), born in 1998 in Gdansk. Last year student at the Faculty of Graphic Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. Her interests focus mainly on the woman and her diverse identities. As an interdisciplinary visual artist, she works between reality and fantasy, often drawing inspiration from retrospectives and dreams.
On Instagram, she operates under the name @partia_kobiet_homoseksualnych (homosexual women party)
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