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Into the trapezoid

Iwona Rozbiewska

Opening 25 November, 2.00 pm
Place Orangery
Start date 25.11.2023
Curator Leszek Golec
End date 31.01.2024

In Iwona Rozbiewska's works, the polyhedron is no longer merely a geometric form. It becomes an abstract work of art or, in a way, a fragment of eccentric architecture in which organicity and corporeality are hidden in the inconspicuous elements of the work. In her works, the artist addresses topics such as development, the subconscious and the aforementioned corporeality. The exhibition “Into the Trapezoid” is an expression of the play between meaning and matter. The atypical representations of objects familiar to our cultural consciousness come into contact with the texture, colour and structure of matter and the form the artist gives them.

Iwona Rozbiewska is a contemporary interdisciplinary artist who divides her life between Poland and Germany. She graduated in sculpture from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and Munich and completed her doctorate in fine arts at the Academy of Art in Szczecin. She is the winner of the 2022 Gilbert Bayes Award from the Royal Society of Sculptors in London. She has received several artistic scholarships, grants and residencies, i.a. in Finland, Poland, Germany, Argentina and the Netherlands. Her works were presented at solo and group exhibitions in Poland and abroad. The artist draws her inspiration mainly from architecture, design and culture, but also from situations in everyday life. Rozbiewska's work is characterised by continuous artistic experimentation with specific objects, concepts or materials. Her artworks often display an emphasis on symbolism, using intertextual references and metaphors to explore the relationship between matter and meaning.

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The solo exhibition Into the Trapezoid show the works of the Polish contemporary artist Iwona Rozbiewska. Her work is inherently interdisciplinary of nature, including installations and sculptures comprised of and inspired by many different artistic genres such as sculpture, film, poetry and architecture.

Rozbiewska’s creative modus operandi is characterized by a long process of artistic experimentation; drawing sketches, producing scaled down models, as well as trying out the different possibilities of shapes and forms within various different spatial contexts. Rozbiewska’s sculptures and installations often include some forms of ready-made objects, as well as specifically produced objects that are associated with a predetermined use in everyday life, or merely objects with a distinct symbolic meaning associated to them.

The objects and installations throughout Rozbiewska’s oeuvre have a distinct focus on metaphors or symbolism as they explore the oftentimes oscillating relationship between matter and meaning. Meaning is created through a complex interaction - indeed, quite often an intra-action - between a subject and an object, equally influencing one another and creating new meaning in the process. Rozbiewska seeks to explore these interactions throughout her work, particularly the liminality between these interactions, when both matter as well as meaning are still fluid.

Recurring themes

The works shown during the exhibition Into the Trapezoid present installations and objects from different phases of Rozbiewska’s artistic career, each with different themes or focus points. Her earlier works such as When I leave myself…(2013), The construction of happiness (2014), and The Hidden Room (2015) have a distinct focus on metaphors and symbolic meaning. These works are characterized by intertextual references to corporeality, symbols, or her work being metaphors for abstract constructs that are explored within her work.

The Hidden Room (2015) specifically is a work that refers to the already existing object of a coffin. Rozbiewska takes this closed form, and by treating it like an architectural work. Through various iterations of these same work, each with gradual changes applied to its physical shape, Rozbiewska distorts and reangles this this otherwise closed form and completely inverts it into an opened form. By doing so, she detaches the shape from its original connotations and expectations, instead distorting it into an opened shape with a cheerful turquoise color to also invert its meaning. Both literally and proverbially, Rozbiewska creates room for other interpretations associated with lightness, openness, and life and hope.

During her later works such as Refreshing Rules (2017), and Untitled [railing] (2022) Rozbiewska shifted her focus more towards ontology, although symbolism and metaphors still play an important role in many of her installations and works. These works often explore the relation between matter and meaning through a focus on the specific history of an object, their material shapes, symbolic references, and interaction with the space around them.

Rozbiewska often starts out this exploration by zooming in on the various physical properties, such as shape or material, of already existing objects from our daily lives or entirely new objects. By contorting these aspects, as well as relating them to the context in which she presents these objects, the works of Rozbiewska often create a feeling of estrangement, oscillating the original meaning and shows the influence the object’s materiality has in the construction of meaning.

The installation from the series Refreshing Rules (2017) presents a peculiar composition of light blue swimming pool tiles, arranged in such a way they vaguely resemble a swimming pool, yet with its surfaces seemingly contorted. The entirety of the structure seems to be almost injected into a foreign spatial context, at first glance unrelated to the original function of a swimming pool.

The composition of tiles is accompanied by a springboard and a singular bean sitting on top of it, overlooking the pool. This humorous choice of composition has a deeper meaning, as a bean is seen as a symbol for growth and potential, something new. By placing this symbol of renewal atop a springboard above a fractured swimming pool, both in terms of matter and meaning alike, ready to jump into a proverbial pool of yet to be constructed meaning, the work alludes to a new beginning and new meaning.

By juxtaposing a recognizable set of familiar objects yet estranging the viewer from them by transforming not just the physical form, but also detaching it from its former use value and inserting it into a new location, Rozbiewska explores the relationship between the materiality of an object, its history, its spatial context and the meaning that results from this.

There are myriads of intricate meaning making practices, determined by just as many

socio-cultural and material dimensions. When investigating the relationship between meaning and matter, we inevitably arrive at questions such as: What makes objects recognizable? What role do materiality and cultural dispositions play in the process of meaning making? How does the object-subject relation take shape in this process?

By exploring these questions throughout her artistic practice, Iwona Rozbiewska’s works often feature a plethora of abstracted, symbolic, and oscillating shapes and forms, shifting in and out of contextualized processes of becoming. Meaning and materiality are fluid, and constantly in development.

Marijn Dekker

Patron of the Centre of Polish Sculpture in Orońsko
Media patronage
Media patronage
Media patronage
  • Iwona_RozbiewskaRefreshing Rules, 2017, old swimming pool tiles, metal, a bean (plastic cast),
  • tytułu [Poręcz VII], 2020–2022, stal, lakier samochodowy,
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