Cracow, 23.02.2024 - 16.03. 2024
Karolina Kowalska

Solstice / Solstice

Solstice is the moment when two spheres suspended in the cosmos, one fiery, the other cool on its surface, align with each other in a particular way. The gentle tilt of our planet's axis causes cyclical changes that have a significant impact on the functioning of ecosystems and individual life forms. A little more than twenty degrees of deviation from the ecliptic has become the foundation of most beliefs and metaphysical programs organizing human societies for tens of thousands of years.Karolina Kowalska has been studying the impact of fundamental cosmic energies on the operation of our environment for years. She has been interested in states of overvaluation and fragile balance between the forces that organize the biosphere.

The exhibition at Piana presents the result of her recent reflections on sunlight - that emitted by the star closest to us, as well as that reflected by our rocky satellite. The series of canvases documenting the glows, which sometimes take the form of dynamic flares, sometimes are stable emissions and pulsations, is a story about the history of life - a trans-species existence that takes on a variety of forms that are often difficult to imagine. Millions of existences, subjected to constant changes, evolutions and revolutions have appeared and disappeared in a cycle that has already lasted four billion years. Most we will never know, describe or classify. For all our audacious need to name, we must accept the fact that most knowledge will remain inaccessible to us. At a time when the Voyager 2 probe is more than 19 billion kilometers from Earth and the Parker Solar Probe is flying through the solar corona, the interior of our own planet remains mysteriously deaf. We still do not have the tools to change this state, so we are doomed to theoretical models and the search for analogies.

Karolina Kowalska's story is a narrative about relationships - overt and covert relationships that bind our reality. It can be read on a macro scale as a story of the network of interdependence of celestial bodies, but we can also bring it down to earth, to the level where the sun's rays illuminate our skin and give it a pleasant warmth. To the point where the moon's gravitational force moves the water molecules in our bodies and determines our well-being. Solstice is a story about the sense of change, of reevaluation, of the tides - an eternal, dissected into the microscopic and the all-powerful, a movement that cannot be stopped, but one can surrender to it and feel with increasing awareness with one's whole body.As the artist emphasizes, a series of paintings showing this eternal changeability could never end. Perfect repetition cannot exist both in the painterly gesture and in the staggeringly complex matter of which we are a part. In Karolina's work, only one point is constant - the central speck - the imprint of the circular wheel plotting the course of the solar disk. One hundred and nine percent of the surface of our star - this is our planet, eternally subordinated, eternally peripheral, eternally moving, heading for silent annihilation.

Michał Zawada