Postmodernism - as an aesthetic and, by God, as a lifestyle - was particularly well off in Poland in the 90s. In there a nouveau riche trend had emerged from the middle class as well as from those that had aspired towards it, in other words a willingness to be fed cheap styles "à-la-Armani". There would be also no point to hence again enumerate all these gadgets, dripped with Chinese plastics, popping out of advertisements of all colours of the rainbow. For even though this period has indeed ended, it is still nevertheless prevalent among us today.
The current up-and-coming artists of today's art scene that had been born in the late eighties and early nineties know all too well about this style. After all they grew up in it and absorbed it at the galloping speeds of what had been the period's inflation. They have since been reshaping it and reciting it by heart like texts from...Well indeed, like texts from what?
The term "text of culture" after two decades is now making a favoured and beneficial return towards what is inventory. This entails and requires the mixing of everything in one space and at one time. And so the primitive aesthetics of cheap glamour, like a savage not recognizing whatsoever criteria, finds itself yet again, as it was the case twenty years ago, in a decadent arrangement of ironic puzzles.
This rich mélange as it were is certainly supportive of new medias; the Internet, hard drives packed with data. Videos of last night's party, photos from the first communion, childhood television series and songs, are all available at one's fingertips. Everything is connected with everything else and without a problem. A unity of time, space and above all - and I couldn't resist this so indicative of the 90s play on words - a(tra)ction. Today's twenty year olds have no sense of time passing. It's as though they are stuck in a black hole of an eternal now. And so between childhood and adulthood we find playfulness and seriousness, cartoons and free pornography by means of optical fibers, gadgets and academic textbooks.
The choice available in this attraction is large. In having been there one's head does not ache, but it is hard to make a decision. Polymorphism, polyrhythm, polyamory, polysemy and finally polycolours; the works of Marta Antoniak tear away at all the possibilities that are given by this "eternal now". In her practice Marta Antoniak melts into liquid mass plastic figurines from cartoons, toys, gadgets and toy blocks, which then she applies onto her canvases. On the one hand they are sentimentally reminiscent of one's childhood, while on the other, in the way that she destroys them, they are coldly manipulated with the strategic hand of an artist. In this way one can both be a child and an adult at the same time. Her portraits inspired from photographs of cancer patients work in a similar way where in place of the cancerous cysts she has applied some molten plastic. Of course this is all a joke. After all the disease doesn't exist. Death doesn't exist. There is only but an eternal now.
To the question whether everything can be had, falls certainly an affirmative answer. However there still remains the query: how can we have everything? To this problem Marta Antoniak - as well as many other artists from a similar age group - tries to find the answer. How to be at one place and another at the same time, how to not get tired of constantly having to make a decision? How to find a formula that would preserve a unity of time, space and attraction?
Marta Antoniak, „Polikolor"; curator: Łukasz Białkowski; BWA SOKÓŁ, Nowym Sącz, 29.08 - 21.09.2014
Marta Antoniak (b.1986, in Zabrze) is a graduate from the Department of Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow. In 2011 she graduated with honors from professor's Andrzej Bednarczyk's atelier. She is currently a PHD student in that same academy. She has had several individual exhibitions and has taken part in a dozen group exhibitions in Poland as well as abroad, amongst which the 11th Geppert Competition "Attention: Painting!" as well as the biennale Jeune Creation Europeenne - New Talents In European Art Scene in Paris. She currently lives and works in Cracow.