? Gallery EL, Elbląg, Poland
? 6th – 30th August 2020
? Exhibition opening: 6th August 2020 at 6:00pm


Agnieszka Nienartowicz’s paintings tell about the ambiguous burden that religion enters into a human being. Christian education creates a definite system of thinking in people, which in many cases is present in them until death. The artist asks the question of whether the epiphanic feeling of salvation after death is not just an illusion that drowns out the fear of damnation instilled in a person. Grace seems almost unobtainable, while posthumous torment always awaits for all of those who, defiled by birth-sin, ineffectively strive for perfection, without following predetermined answers in which there is no room for the hesitation of the individual. Education in faith, therefore, oscillates on the border of pleasure, carried by the vision of salvation, and the terror associated with the subordination of a human being to certain principles and patterns.

As the artist says, “religion impresses on people as stigmas and tattoos that stay with them for the rest of life.” By showing the picture within the picture, the artist indicates that heroines depicted on her paintings carry burdens symbolically depicted as canonical images of divinity tattooed on their bodies. Some of those women are posing as if they were exposing the scars covering their bodies. Hence, the conclusion that religion is in possession of mind and body.

Nienartowicz’s paintings are intimate, tranquil and mysterious. Women’s bodies are brought out from the dark background by using an additional source of light. Some characters shyly turn their heads others proudly throw a glance at the viewer who has a chance to participate in the process of revealing some intimate parts of them. A liberating element, which is present in these paintings, enables the viewer to discover the secret with depicted women.

The artist refers to the tradition and past masters of painting in her technique itself. Watching her paintings full of rigour towards rendering the smallest details and striving for hyperrealistic perfection, the viewer has the impression of communing with photographs.


Stanisław Małecki

Curatorial text for the exhibition „Delight & Terror”
Gallery EL, Elbląg, 2020