My paintings represent captured light. My creativity lies in the choice of colors - that's where I take my liberty and explore.
Trained at the renowned Düsseldorf Art Academy, Anna Tatarczyk has been painting for approximately 18 years, but only recently has she started to explore the possibilities of geometric abstraction. After a long period of figurative painting, she came to realize that a strict reduction to just the essential, the geometric composition, opens up a wealth of artistic possibilities.
Her subjects radiate power and create the inescapable illusion of three-dimensionality.
Painted on raw linen, her sharp-edged, colorful compositions establish a dynamic tension that draws the viewer in, yet emanate a sense of calm and harmony. We interviewed the artist to learn more about her artistic process.
INTERVIEW WITH THE ARTIST
Q. Did you always want to be an artist?
A. Yes, I always wanted to be an artist, though I first studied economics in Poland and German language and literature and philosophy in Germany. After that I started to paint.
Q. Was there a pivotal moment in your career as an artist?
A. I met Jörg Immendorff, for whom I worked as an assistant for two years. That was the first great artist I met. I watched him work every day, and although I didn't paint at the time, he unconsciously had a major influence on my attitude and approach.
While I was studying German, I discovered the Düsseldorf Art Academy and became friends with several art students. They were different from the people who did German studies. I was fascinated by what they were doing, by the determination and passion with which they determined their path. This made me realize that I wanted to create and burn for what I was doing as well. One day, I started to paint and, in that moment, I decided that I wanted to live my life as an artist and not as a Germanist.
Q. How did geometric abstraction become the style of choice for your works?
A. At first, I would paint in a classic figurative style, using oil paints. 5 years ago, I was working for an advertising technician who had many leftover rolls of self-adhesive film and large unused advertising banners in his warehouse; he brought them all to my studio. At the same time, I was given two little kittens who started to tip over my pots of oil paints, linseed oil and turpentine. It was dangerous for them! So, I packed up all the oil paints and started to cut the self-adhesive foil into strips, squares, rectangles, triangles, and diamonds, using them to glue landscapes and objects onto the advertising banners. After 2 years, I had used up all the foil. I started to paint with colors again, but this time, the landscapes consisted only of geometric shapes. I gradually left out more and more details and started to concentrate on the geometric objects themselves. One day, I taped off a small surface and painted it, when I removed the tape, I saw that it had resulted in a three-dimensional rhombus. This fascinated me so much that I painted a second picture with a rhombus. Then a third....and a fourth.... This fascination has lasted almost three years. Since then, I paint rhombuses.
Q. What stands out in your pieces is the stark contrast between the bold and colorful shapes and their raw linen background, what would you like to achieve with this juxtaposition?
A. There are actually two components that make up my paintings, one is the raw linen and the other is the constructed geometric form. I find that the shapes come into their own best on this natural background. The linen is not distracting, it does not interfere with the life of the object. It is also a juxtaposition of the natural and the artificially produced - that is, of nature and art. This is what makes us human; we interfere with nature and change it. Man already did that in the Stone Age, he painted in the caves and thus showed his creativity. My paintings are a kind of reminiscence of cave painting.
Q. How do you determine or develop the color schemes for your pieces?
A. My paintings represent three-dimensional objects. I create the optical effect of the three-dimensionality with sharp-edged adjoining colour fields in different light levels. First, I think about how the rhombus should be divided and from which side the light should fall onto it. Then, I sketch the fields on the canvas with a pencil. I cover each field to be painted with adhesive foil and paint it. The greatest difficulty in this process is to mix the color nuances until they form a coherent whole. If they are too light or too dark, the three-dimensional effect does not work.
My paintings represent captured light, so to speak. My creativity lies in the choice of colors - that's where I take my liberty and explore what happens when I paint.
Q. What would you like your work to evoke in the viewer?
A. The question is whether I can influence what the viewer should see? To be honest, I don't want to interfere with that. However, due to the reduction and condensation of the artistic means that I use, the pictures radiate power, calm and harmony. They have a meditative and calming effect on me. I stop thinking when I look at them and find myself purely in the "now", without past or future. The pictures stop time, so to speak. Perhaps that is what I would wish for the viewer, to draw strength and peace from the "now".
Q. Which other creatives, books, music or movies inspire you?
A. Nothing. My pictures are created from an absolute isolation and concentration, they come from "space".
Everything. Unconsciously everything influences us. The other day I read a book about Kandinsky and saw a beautiful documentary about Pierre Soulages.
Q. What would you still like to achieve as an artist?
A. All or nothing. Being an artist is a defect, he forever tries to paint the ideal picture and fails. For artists there is no "happy ending".
Q. Could you describe your work in three words?
A. Timeless – Spiritual – Playful