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"Dear Malgorzata, I am sure that your wonderfull and romantic sculptures give a lot of pleasure and happiness to many people."

Dr. Hans Guggenheim

Małgorzata Swolkień
Ms Małgorzata Swolkień graduated from the Faculty of Sculpture of the Akademy of Fine Arts in Kraków, where she studied ceramics; she has been working with this material umil the present. In her works, admirable for the special combination of painterly shapes and fantastic colours, Ms Swolkień has been using natural ceramic clay and glaze. Man introduced into architecture, man and animals, or woman and floral motives are the subjects of the lyrical works, which are striking as far as composition is concerned. The frequent use of metaphors results in the images filled with the deep-rooted thoughts of the artist, which one simply cannot disregard. The multitude of the themes is an evidence of Ms Swolkień's rich imagination; the associations are so striking that it is difficult to say whether these ceramic works are created to serve Rowers, or perhaps flowers are made for the ceramic female characters. The ceramic sculptures as the display of the flowers orfruit are the evidence of the fact that the artist is sensitive to the ideas of interior design and garden arrangement. The early stage of Malgorzata Swolkień's work is characterised by the one-figure compositions, whereas later on, in the course of the artistic development, the artist becomes more interested in the manyfigure ones. The subject is dealt with in different compositional variants and one can observe the way she combines the multitude of reflections into one woof. To Ms Swolkień, the ability to render the emotions in ceramics supplemented with colour is a very personal artistic statement. The soft and tender moulding of the figures, as well as the group compositions; the passage from the sublime nature to the roughness of blocks, which constitute the spatial architectural phenomena, all make Ms Swolkień's artistic way. Since 1993 Ms Swolkień has been a member of the art group called Pasja (Passion), which consists of three paintresses and a sculptress. As the four artists refer to themselves, they are connected with the passion for life and creation. They organise both individual and group exhibitions. I think that Małgorzata Swolkień solves her artistic problems in the calm of her studio where the anxietyof waiting for the results of her work, right before opening the ceramic furnace, must always be overpowering. In her exhibitions, Małgorzata Swolkień mostly shows her favourite birds of paradise, the children, the maids, the women, the whole families and, certainly, the flower pots. I should like to plant my own flower of admiration in one of Ms Swolkień ś pots - a symbol of my admiration for her wondrous vision.

prof. Bronisław Chromy - review

Małgorzata Swolkień
It is said that artists are endowed with a greater sensitivity than other people; they perceive the world around us in a way a little different than us – everymen. Watching the artistic work by Małgorzata Swolkień, we can easily spot her extraordinary artistic sensitivity to shape, form and colour. It is these elements that have been used by the artist to create her own, unusually characteristic, original style. This style has only slightly evolved within the recent years making works by Małgorzata Swolkień so easily recognised, with their interesting look in the closed space of an exhibition or a living interior as well as in the open air.
Małgorzata Swolkień composes her sculptures from a bit geometrised and simplified elements. Shapes of many of them possess the softness typical of ceramics and gentle lines, however, the artist creates more geometrised, almost cuboidal works, as well. The former smoothly blend in with the surrounding garden, becoming its organic part, and the latter usually perform the role of a distinctive feature, contrasting with the forms of nature. Małgorzata Swolkień’s sculptures are not abstract, though. The artist usually presents people – single ones, usually accompanied by an attribute evoking memories of travels, books read, concerts listened to, or put together into pairs playing roles observed in life which refer to specific events. They have extremely characteristic schematic features: they are smoothed, symmetrical, with slender, straight noses and heavy eyelids. The sculptress likes the combination of flat and smooth surfaces with detailed ones covered with sequences of ornamental grooves enriched with protruding elements which are often exaggerated, strongly emphasised parts of human body, or sculptural, perspective ones, full of the subtle balance of light and shadow. Some of the works may be complemented by plants, and such a possibility of “co-arrangement” of the sculpture by its owner is both intriguing and usual. The foregoing was described in an amusing way by Jolanta Antecka in a passage published in one of catalogues by Małgorzata Swolkień: “the heads of the figures were (and are) often cut above the forehead and hollowed out: dependent on the need, sensitivity and imagination, they may be used for sowing chives or planting roses.”
Another typical feature of Małgorzata Swolkień is her exceptional, almost painterly sensitivity to colour. Her works are colourful, but the colour never exists for itself. The artist selects colours which harmoniously complement, harmonise with the form of the sculpture and the topic of performance. They seem to be combined with them organically. Using contrasting colours, she juxtaposes them in a cogent way, devoid of clash to complement each other, lending additional decorative values to the sculptures.
The enamels she uses to cover her compositions sometimes gleam, but more often they are dulled and carefully wiped, thanks to which their surface becomes alive and vibrates gently. The effects of efforts devoted by Małgorzata Swolkień have been nicely summarised by Leszek Dutka, a former sculptor and ceramicist: “There are still plenty of places where the colour of burnt clay shows trough with its natural brownness or bleached beige. Thanks to that, her ceramic sculptures are so warm and natural in their structure.”
Looking at sculptures by Małgorzata Swolkień we may effortlessly immerse ourselves in the special climate they create. Usually romantic and lyrical, making the receiver fall into a reverie, sometimes it surprises with a metaphor or a witty association. Creating such sculptures and obtaining a variety of artistic effects seems to be both natural and pleasant for their author.
Few people realise that it is a very heavy manual work, which requires strength, patience and composure, performed in odours of metal oxides and the heat of a stove. It is an occupation managed only by a person who loves it. And, undoubtedly, Małgorzata Swolkień is such a person.

Bożena Kostuch, an Art Historian

Lyruc ceramik works by Ms. Małgorzata Swolkień
The art of ceramics has always been close to sculpture, and the colour has always tempted artists to use this specific raw material. It has been this way from the moment when people acquired the art of shaping and firing ceramic objects.
Whilst studying sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts, Małgorzata Swolkień had an option to choose sculptural techniques. She decided to focus on ceramics. She believed the ceramics offered her the most wide-ranging potential to create and construct her artistic visions. Her ceramic art possesses all the features of sculpture, but in a smaller format. She arranges the space, and clarity of the composition speaks of the form, and the context by way of the form.
Joie de vivre, friendliness to people and animals emanates from her ceramic works. While using a fired glaze, she tries to tone it up, to search for adequate colour schemes other than those imposed by technology; she deliberately selects them to match compositional concepts. In particular, it is very interesting how the Artist merges ceramics and animated nature. Ladies wearing ceramic hats have, for example, flowers growing out of them, and local grasses form the hair of smiling children figures. Generally, an artistic creator is not always able to entirely complete each of their projects, because its own laws rule the ceramics. However, it is basically possible to control this specific 'adventure' with glaze, which may produce very interesting final results, and Mrs. Małgorzata Swolkień is a perfectionist in this domain. The compositions of this Artist represent a secret, closed world of poetry and fairy-tales; they catch the eye and fascinate. With regard to the synthesis of the form, distant analogies could be made with the paintings of Modilgiani, Makowski, or Chagall. They prove the Artist's openness to contemporary art. She knows how to expertly select any necessary means that might appear useful and valuable in her private explorations and discoveries. By this creative approach to the Art, an exclusive language of fine arts is generated. The Małgorzata Swolkień's artistic works are the art of a colourful spatial arrangement around the human being and for the human being. These ceramic sculptures can fulfil various functions both inside and outside any apartment or house. They can be arranged with flowers, or they can stand freely, on their own, to enhance an environment by the poetry of pure, inspiring form. This artistic production is completely original, and ceramic sculpture created by this Artist is unique, it combines various worlds and elements according to the Artist's temperament and life energy.

prof. Stanisław Batruch - review


Małgorzata Swolkień
Małgorzata Swolkień is a sculptress, who "betrayed" classical materials: she was the only one in her year at university graduating with a diploma in ceramics. And it stayed that way.
When she had completed her studies, in the mid-seventies, sculptors were trained to create public sculptures, either cast in bronze or carved out of stone and the crowning achievement at that time was an erection of a monument. The choice of ceramics as a means to make art (and a living) excluded that possibility from the very beginning, since heroic individuals and saints, history and modern times are not usually honoured with ceramic monuments. Instead of developing the grand city space with her works, Małgorzata Swolkień started to arrange private space, make use of the commonness. She created sculptures which acquired functional features while still possessing all the fundamental qualities of the medium. Her low reliefs, described by many as ceramic paintings, can be set in the wall of a building. The composition of her sculptures, however, allows for changing them into small gardens.
In the times when the language of sculpture had not included (at least in Poland) the concept of interactivity, the young artist had proposed interference in form, addition of colours. The figures' heads were (and are) often cut above the forehead and hollowed out: it is possible to sow chives or plant roses inside - everything is a matter of needs, sensitivity and imagination. A veil of ivy can grow out of an empty hat of a lady; in a saxophone of a playing angel, violets can be planted... Each time it is the "user" who introduces new elements and colours to the sculpture. Is it risky if we take into consideration spatial and colouristic imagination of fellow countrymen? Of course. But what an adventure!
For Małgorzata Swolkień colour is very important and it is much more sophisticated than it usually happens in case of ceramic sculpture. Even today, when good quality glaze in a full range of colours is available, the works of a Cracow artist strike with their painterly quality. Those specific 'adventures' with colours and nuances are the effect of making one's life hard in the stages of a sculpture creation. What is more, there is always a moment of uncertainty present. Ceramic sculpture emerges from the earth, water and fire. Elements can be analysed and recognized and their effect - to some extent - can be predicted, but it is still rather impossible to fully control them. It is a kind of a daily poker.
The sources of Małgorzata Swolkień's new passion, namely that of glass painting, could be found, in fact, in the need to predict colours.
The aesthetics of all Swolkień's works - sculptures, low reliefs, two-dimensional paintings on glass - refers to the classical style, according to which beauty means proportions and harmony of the parts constituting the whole. The artist herself adds humour to her works, which, similarly to her skills, becomes more and more evident in time.

Jolanta Antecka

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