She-pagan, 2019, Rondo Sztuki, Katowice

“Fill the earth and subdue it” God said to them. And so they did… For two centuries people have exerted such an overwhelming influence on the state of the Earth that, according to the famous Dutch meteorologist Paul J. Crutzen, it is high time to close the current geological era and announce the advent of the Anthropocene.

Mid-May, flowers on the trees
The sunny day lasted lazily
Tea was drunk in our garden
The dog was sleeping comfortably in the deckchair

We live in a wonderful new world. Its symbolic fracture point is a thick layer of concrete and ubiquitous plastic. Man has ushered in a great extinction of species living on planet Earth. 7.6 billion people make up only 0.01% of all living creatures, but since the development of civilization they have contributed to the destruction of 83% of all wild mammals and half of the plants. Biodiversity is one of the limits of safety, and its disappearance affects the entire structure.

Suddenly everything ended
The end of the world in seven moments
We will not find out who won
Certainly nobody

Agata Szymanek paints furs, crusts, shells, hair, feathers, rocks and tree bark; the animal body in her paintings is slippery, slender and wet. The situations she creates have something erotic about them. The method of painting is very intuitive and experimental. As she admits, sometimes the gesture is important, sometimes the precise reconstruction of the project and selecting the right colours. All images of animals used by the artist are presented schematically. A rigid form builds a contrary situation than the one occurring in their natural environment. Nature is an expression of both romantic delight and fear built by the contradiction.

I look at the stars through the hole in the ground
Perhaps life is still somewhere there
A wonderful man in a safe home
He follows our end through his telescope

The vision of humanity losing against the effects of the Anthropocene materializes in the exhibition several times. Fragments of ruined architecture appear in the paintings, civilization is in chaos and its former inhabitants mobilize in search of a new, better world.

Text: Aleksander Celusta