Cracow, 19.04.2024 - 2.06. 2024

Human, Aristotle says, is a political being, because he possesses speech, which makes the question of what is just and unjust a common cause, while an animal has only a voice, conveying only joy and pain. The whole issue, however, is to find out who has speech and who has only a voice. Always, the refusal to treat certain categories of people as political beings began with the refusal to treat the sounds coming out of their mouths as discourse.

Jacqes Rancière, Aesthetics as Politics

Written into the way our bodies emit voice are the delicate vibrations in which our deepest emotions are hidden. The speech apparatus is closely linked to the tensions of the entire body, which modulate the sound we produce. The way we hear our own voice is one of the most intimate spheres of our existence - as an organic resonance box, our body takes on a specific vibration that is impossible to be recorded externally. We hear ourselves with our bones and all tissues, whose vibrations are registered by the brain. Because we have become accustomed to this corporeal sound, we feel anxious when we hear our speech in the form of a recording.

Our verbal communication thus depends on the state of our bodies and the emotions accompanying us. Awe, but also anxiety or trauma can take away our voice away. Sometimes, bringing it out again requires strenuous work and facing deeply hidden tensions.

Ksenia Gryckiewicz introduces us to the intimate process of fighting for voice - bringing repressed emotions to the surface and reclaiming subjectivity in social space. The series of her latest paintings documents the work she has been conducting for over a year on her own voice. The touching works take us from the state of impotence to liberation. Simple gestures and exercises with the body slowly give space to hidden potentiality, while the first sounds squeeze through the clenched larynx.

However, the artist confronts an almost impossible task - as she gives voice to the silent images painted on canvas and paper. The aporia she faces concerns not only emotionally and socially suppressed subjectivity, but also the artistic medium, which is traditionally doomed to silence. However, the shattered matter of her realizations begins to have a synesthesia effect, and sound - whispering, singing or screaming - seems to emerge from the flat surfaces.

The artist's set of intimate self-portraits oscillates between what is intimate and private and what is social and political. The vibrating air around us has the ability to unite separated individuals. A recovered voice can give us a space to communicate - with ourselves and others - but also can bring a renewal of mutual relations, open us to opposition, dispute, rebellion, but also admiration and affirmation.