Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Juxtapoz Journal – Agnieszka Nienartowicz’ Candy Burden


Nicodim will inaugurate its new annex gallery with Agnieszka NienartowiczCandy Burden, the artist’s first solo present in the US. Nienartowicz’s hyper-realistic oil work recontextualize Outdated Grasp, Renaissance, and Catholic interpretations of bible scenes and spiritual tales, in lots of cases layering them straight onto feminine our bodies and faces. Raised within the Catholic church, Nienartowicz acutely understands the emotional influence of faith and the way perception programs and non secular practices can depart a long-lasting impression on one’s psyche.

Nienartowicz attracts on parts of her Polish upbringing and formative recollections for inspiration. Her work factors to the methods wherein Catholic values proceed to dictate each political and social features of on a regular basis life in her homeland, citing specifically, the constant discrimination in opposition to the LGBTQ+ neighborhood and the entire ban on abortion launched by the Polish authorities in 2020. Although this panorama is altering as youthful generations have gotten extra mobilized by means of direct activism and protest, Nienartowicz’s apply explores how types of faith and spirituality mould private attitudes and perception programs that in flip, can have an effect on bigger societal constructions. 

Nienartowicz herself was raised Catholic, and into her teenage years, faith turned a central a part of her identification. All through her adolescence she participated in lots of Catholic youth teams and associations, traveled on pilgrimages to locations like Częstochowa to view the famed “Black Madonna” (a honored icon of the Virgin Mary), and frequented her native monastery the place, for a quick, time she even thought of changing into a nun. As her private relationship with Catholicism grew, she finally joined the Pentecostal church, describing herself as a “Charismatic Christian,” or one who emphasizes the work of the Holy Spirit in on a regular basis life (a motion which can also be fairly widespread in the US). 

Lastly, within the artist’s phrases, she “reached the restrict of absurdity” and finally broke with the faith totally. Separating herself was no simple feat––after years of collaborating in non secular training, her exit from the Church left her confused and despondent, feeling that her worldview had develop into diluted and tenuous. To work by means of her dissolution she determined to pursue psychotherapy, and in her personal evaluation has come out the opposite facet spiritually wholesome, content material, and agnostic. Turning to motifs from Christian and Catholic artwork permits her to grapple with the after-effects of faith as they manifest all through her life. 

The thought of the tattoo can also be a central element of Nienartowicz’s investigation into personhood, likening these irremovable marks to key moments in a single’s historical past, childhood, and lived expertise. The artist challenges the social notion and that means of tattoos equally to the best way she restructures and incarnates biblical tales of sacrifice, domination, and consecration onto ladies’s our bodies. 

Conventional social roles positioned on ladies by the Catholic church additionally come below scrutiny, as Nienartowicz takes particular care to attract on the subjectivity of her figures. By layering non secular iconography on high of her portraits, the artist strips the tales of their biblical significance and patriarchal values. As an alternative, recast as tattoos, the tales develop into emancipatory weapons for reclaiming particular person company. Although, on a private degree, faith not captivates Nienartowicz, her work nonetheless investigates the deep psychological, sociological, and historic resonance of spirituality and its related symbology.


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