Aga Pietrzykowska – Happy Pills

cukierki na szczęście_większy_Aga Pietrzykowska_RGB


February 14th 2018, 6 p.m.-9 p.m.

Start date: 14.02.2018

End date: 04.03.2018

Xanadu Gallery invites for solo exhibition of Agnieszka Pietrzykowska titled "Happy Pills"! The opening will take place on February 14th 2018 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Xanadu at 51 Hoża Street in Warsaw.

Exhibition will be on view to March 4th 2018, Mon.-Fr. 12:00-7:00, Sat. 11:00-4:00.

Partners: Chivas Regal Polska, Cuisine Chic,, Wnętrza 3D, OneBid.

Aga Pietrzykowska (born 1978) graduated with honors from the Faculty of Graphic Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Studio of Illustration of prof. Z. Januszewski (2008). She is also a graduate of Faculty of Intercultural Relations at the University of Warsaw and postgraduate studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Scholarship holder of Ministry of Science and Higher Education. She participated in many solo exhibitions, most recently: Galeria (-1), Gallery of Polish Olympic Committee, Warsaw (2012); FORT Sokolnickiego Centre of Art, Warsaw (2014); Pragaleria Gallery, Warsaw (2016); Galeria Sztuka Wyboru, Gdańsk (2016); Baltic Gallery of Contemporary Art (with Agata Czeremuszkin-Chrut), Koszalin (2016); Galeria Dystans, Kraków (2017). She exhibited her works on group shows in Museum of Sport, Warsaw; Museum of Sport, Kiev, Ukraine; Poster Museum at Wilanów, Warsaw; Satyrikon in Legnica (distinction); Gdynia Design Days; Stary Browar, Poznań. She also presented her art at the 4th International Art Fair ArtVilnius’13 in Vilnius, Lithuania (Nomination for the Best Foreign Artist Prize); JUSTMAD Art Fair in Madrid , Spain (2016, 2017); Warsaw Art Fair (2016, 2017); International Painting Biennial in Chisinau, Moldova (2017); Contemporary Art Ruhr art fair in Essen, Germany (2017). She regularly publishes her illustrations and designs book covers for Polish Olympic Committee, SLOW Magazine, PWN Publishing House, Polityka Magazine, KUKBUK Magazine, Dialog Publishing House, Museum of King Jan III’s Palace at Wilanów, Polish Institute in Prague, University of Warsaw, TVN24 and many others. Her illustrations were published in a book “The Best Polish Illustrations” by SLOW Publishing House (2016). Aga Pietrzykowska’s works are in private collections in Poland, USA, Australia, Germany, Portugal, Ukraine, France, Lithuania, the UK, Sweden and Spain.

 Happy pills

Everyone would like to be happy. We usually wish each other happiness in our private and professional lives on birthdays and holidays. No one really, truly knows what happiness is, because it means something different to everyone. However, when we dream of happiness, we think about long-lasting values: requited love, a happy family, health, professional success, and wealth. In the pursuit of happiness, however, we usually satisfy temporary desires. We lie to ourselves using sex, eating sophisticated foods and sweets, and through compulsive clothes shopping. We also use various stimulants, including drugs, which are often affectionately referred to as candy, drops or happy pills, and that cheat our senses. We buy happiness instead of earning it. It sometimes seems to us that it is inaccessible yet necessary, and so we reach for systemic solutions sanctioned by social acceptance – for psychotropic drugs, also called happy pills. In the pursuit of happiness, we're like children. We hope that life will give us sweets.

Would we reach for candies if they were unpalatable, ugly and smelled horrible? Of course not. Our happiness hormones must be deceived using all our senses. We tease our smell and taste buds, and our eyes react to colourful wrapping, which is, of course, candy coloured. Is there any room for deeper reflection here? No. We stuff them into our mouths and we're happy for a moment.

It won't be so easy with Aga Pietrzykowska's paintings. Each of her creations is seductive, but each one also contains a warning against caries, and not only. We may face worse illnesses and failures in our lives. Therefore, Pietrzykowska's candies often show infiltrating colours, a mixture of bitterness and deep layers of hidden truth crawling out from under the composition. The most interesting thing about the artist's paintings is the balance between the abstract and the figurative, and at the same time between biologism and geometry. It’s a very ambiguous creation, so it's related to life, because nothing in life is black and white, and nothing is exactly round or exactly square. That's why we like sweets that are sour and slightly bitter the most. In the kitchen, contrasting flavours are said to be the best. In art – because Pietrzykowska deals not only with painting, but also drawing, illustration, collage and various indirect forms of expression – ambiguity is also the most intriguing. These are concepts in which the artist said a lot, but deliberately didn't say everything, so that the recipient of their work had room for dialogue with the piece. This guarantees that the conversation will go on, and continue throughout years of interaction with the painting. Such a conversation sets a work of art apart from a wall decoration.

Aga Pietrzykowska, who often uses candy colours and pill shapes, conducts a dialogue about happiness with us. Her works are bittersweet, because happiness is not given to us once and forever. We aren't allowed to relish in it. We must take care of it and have a healthy fear of losing it. One of Aga's latest works is called 'Panaceum'. It's a soothing composition in blues, with hints of black is sneaking in. For me, this is that bit of fear that helps us not to lose our happiness. It is a panacea for relishing in well-being, when everything is going smoothly for a while.

Is there a recipe for happiness? It's no accident that we're opening Aga Pietrzykowska's exhibition on Valentine's Day. When discussing happiness, Agnieszka recently gave me a banal, but very important piece of advice. It's a truth that we often forget about – we must learn to love ourselves to be able to love others, and then we will be happy. So, happiness is possible, even if sometimes it tastes like sour candy. You just need to have toothpaste on hand to prevent caries.

Agnieszka Gniotek