It's just fragments of the world to be captured by us, and it won't change. Nothing but moments, fractions, momentary configurations that fall into pieces right after they come into existence. Life? There's no such thing; I can see lines, planes and solids, and their changes in time.
Olga Tokarczuk, Bieguni (2007)
When Urszula Wilk told me about her new painting project, I thought of travelling, getting lost in the pleasure of being a tourist: the continuous motion, the blurring of the boundaries of time and space, and finally losing yourself and your own identity. And right after that it reminded me of the book by Olga Tokarczuk entitled Bieguni that I read a few years ago. I have a copy of the book, it is unique because by mistake it has been bound upside down, back to front, which corresponds to the contents in an unusual way, and in some way also to the exhibits presented at Lines — Independent Painting Beings in Gorzow Wielkopolski.
Bieguni is a story about simultaneous existence and non-existence in the space, about almost compulsive need of motion so as not to be reached by the evil of this world when motionless. Finally, it is about the body, its mysteries, dysmorphies and recesses, about maps guiding us through the world and through our own bodies.
There is something unusual and mysterious in Urszula Wilk's lines, as well as in the old maps used by Olga Tokarczuk to illustrate the book. But the lines seem to be more metaphorical and constitute a kind of lifelines arranged to form the maps of destination. The artist shows, in a way, the reverse of things, what is happening under the lining, beneath the surface of reality.
Urszula Wilk, just like the mythological spinners — Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos — creates lines, colours them, cherishes and cares for them, and then releases them, lets them spill freely to finally cut them or unexpectedly match one with another.
The painting lines seem to contain a secret code to which we do not have access, or we have lost the ability to read it and understand it. And, because of the metaphysical dimension of the artist's work, the code seems to have an almost mystical power. The very title of the blue cycle: Bluemetrie suggests a certain unusual order, but it cannot be seen without some kind of initiation:
Exploring layers; each layer only roughly resembles the previous or the following one usually being its variation, a modified version; each one adds to the final arrangement of the whole, even though you cannot see that when exploring them separately, without reference to the whole (...). You may even think that there is no whole at all, that it has never existed (Tokarczuk, p. 351).
Lines in the artwork of Urszula Wilk are independent painting beings. They are variously accumulated on the canvas, you can read them like a map with some routes, landmarks worth stopping by and being looked at more thoroughly. While creating Bluemetrie, Urszula Wilk bent the canvas allowing the paint to flow freely on it. This way bends, meanders and deltas have formed on the surface of the material... In Bluemetrie there are no backwaters as in previous works, but there are, as the artist named them, "bare lines" that are not flat, but pulsating and lively.
There is no physical regime in the painter's creative process, paint drops dripping next to each other flow out of control. The lines, as if translucent, are transparent, emerge as though from underneath the canvas. With this technique, images become three-dimensional, almost breathing. Precision is the artist's credit, and the expression results from the line. The subtle effect is partly man-made, partly accidental.
If you put the canvas under the microscope, only then the heterogeneity of the lines, their unusual morphology, would reveal. It would not be groundless since the images of Urszula Wilk resemble the human body with the lymphatic, circulatory and nervous system.
Without their frames, the black-and-white-and-blue images have the potential to experiment with combining them in a variety of configurations, matching them, and arranging them in space in a number of ways. At the exhibition in Gorzow Wielkopolski, the artist will use the works that were on display in China, where they were exhibited in the urban space: hung on monumental buildings. Not only are the works from China covered in lines, but they are like lines themselves, 20-meter ribbons moving in the breeze, overlapping each other and meshing together. Urszula Wilk has cut them into 5 meter long pieces that will fill the space in the gallery. The latest cycle — Bluemetrie — will accompany the black-and-white works.
This is a natural stage of creation: everything stems from something, everything is a consequence of prior experiences and output. And so, naturally, the Bluemetrie cycle remains in the consciousness, creating new space for the imagination of both the creator and the viewer.
The minimalism of Urszula Wilk is a breath, and breath is energy, freedom and life.