Don't open your eyes under the water and more art by Przemysław Tyszkiewicz

Don't open your eyes under the water, 1998
60 x 85 x 0.1 cm (h x w x d)
USD 2 000
for sale


The artist's interest in the very roots of the craft, in the anonymous woodcarvings and etchings of XV and XVI century, in the works of Shongauer Durer as well as the Flemish masters, influenced by Peter Breughel the Elder and H.Bosch has helped him to work out his own independent imagery. The imagery in turn makes a reliable vehicle to convey individual emotions and personal mythology. The efforts of Tyszkiewicz may also be regarded as the experiment in the dialogue with the human spirituality of the ancient times, the dialogue witch has been carried beyond the limits of history. Underneath the period costumethe works of Tyszkiewicz are sending us a clear message; they are voices of modern times speaking for present anxieties, hidden threats and long lost sources of spiritual energy. We often feel hurt by his attempt at provocation and scandal; our moral sense, our religious beliefs, our social standards are exposed and vaulnerable; we smell sulphur yet we are unable to decide whether the sulphur is satanic or healing. We would not have felt in that way if the works were merely portraying the good old times.
No contemporary work of art I have ever seen is more permeated by Gothic spirit than the works of Tyszkiewicz. It's gothic not only for numerous motives of knights, hen-footed castles and ancient pictures of the sun and the moon. These pictures always stir our imagination, just as medieval bestiaries or scary chimeras of artists' own invention do. Certainly that is the important characteristic of his works. But even more so is the artistic form through which Tyszkiewicz intuitively emphasizes the atmosphere of impending threat and hidden aggression. His works elicit the feelings of vulnerability, anxiety and alienation. It's typical for Tyszkiewicz that he never takes advantage of the natural potential of etching techniques to create ''painting effects''. His works remain well disciplined by the sharp cuts of the engraver's tools. It's the form which creates atmosphere and brings about the air of unuttered warning: Beware! There exist the lands long ignored and last in oblivion, but it is there were are instincts and emotions grow their roots. The natives of that land are numerous. They have settled down amid our post-industrial reality just as the herds of limestone demons and gargoyles dwell the walls of cathedrals. You are easily deceived by their decorative charm: :''Funny little monsters'' – you think. But you had better check if they don't hatch from their stony shells and begin to crawl.
In 1998 Tyszkiewicz had been awarded the Daniel Chodowiecki Prize garnted by the Gunter Grass Fund. The awarded work was a pentaptych: five spearated pieces of work united in form and content. Executed in aquatint the pentaptych surprised the public not only by the visionary worlds it represented and outstanding craftsmanship, but also by it's size (each plate is 60 x 80 cm big); if it were to be hung in proper order and given the designed passe-partous and frames it would occupy at least four meter long wall. It was rare occassion when an engraver, quite naturally restricted in scale to smaller sizes had reached beyond its limits – into the monumental. There had been some precedents in the works of the Neue Wilde – the circle of German artists, although they employed less complicated techniques.

more from Tyszkiewicz

Iron circles, 2010
74 x 49 x 0.1 cm (h x w x d)
etching / aquatint

Votum to the City, 1999
65 x 95 x 0.1 cm (h x w x d)

Snakes and planes, 2001
67 x 94 x 0.1 cm (h x w x d)
etching / aquatint

Night Flowers, 2002
67 x 94 x 0.1 cm (h x w x d)
etching / aquatint

At dawn a black ocean blossome..., 2002
67 x 94 x 0.1 cm (h x w x d)
etching / aquatint


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