Prints and reflections (1984)

Review from my exhibition at the DSLU in Ljubljana in 1984, Dnevnik 31.08.1984


The Gallery of the Association of Slovenian Artists in Ljubljana has recently been making more and more of an effort to inform us about the artistic developments and creative achievements of artists from neighbouring and other countries, which is more than welcome in these days when the flow of written information has almost completely stopped due to the lack of foreign currency. This time, the young Polish artist Jan Niksinski will present his mixed media paintings, prints and drawings at the gallery on Komenskego Street. The thirty-two-year-old artist first studied at the Higher School of Fine Arts in Gdańsk at the Faculty of Graphic Arts, then at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, and later received a scholarship to the Academy in Vienna, where he studied in Prof. Unger’s studio. Jan Niksinski is already well established in the Polish artistic environment, as he has already had several solo exhibitions and received several awards, in particular for his graphic works, as well as the first prize in the international poster competition in Vienna. It can be said of Jan Niksiński’s work that it bears all the essential and qualitative hallmarks of contemporary Polish art and that he is a true virtuoso in technical terms – whether in terms of graphic design, combining different techniques or simple pencil drawing; that his work is filled with a multitude of artistic ideas and different techniques and, finally, that, like most young and older Polish artists, he is strongly socially and politically engaged, although it must be admitted that in this respect “pure artistry” often dominates the “literary” message. (Here again, the critic pushes me into the social and political involvement of my art and states that most Polish artists also show such involvement. I don’t know if he realised that I and most of the artists I knew in Poland had anti-communist views, and after I graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, when I got an offer to stay at the university as an assistant to one of the professors, my professor of lithography Marian Rojewski (who was a member of the Polish United Workers’ Party) torpedoed this offer of a job at the Academy of Fine Arts with his opinion, where he wrote that I was an antisocial person and showed anti-communist views) Most of the paintings and prints of this talented young artist consist, at least superficially, of two basic parts; – The emphasis is on the grid, which consists of a network, a tangle of small artistic elements, from geometric structures to trivialised graphics or small clippings from magazines, newspapers and other publications, connected by various calligraphic notations, free gestures, in short, a veritable wealth of visual impressions, flashes of thought, all arranged in an acceptable visual-aesthetic whole. The content of the “inner image” is sometimes the same, except that it is often reduced to smaller geometric signs or fields The content of the “inner fields” is sometimes represented by highly stylised and simplified landscapes from the figurative group, at other times we encounter the artist’s rich reminiscences of his travels in Italy and Austria, or are filled with images of personal events from the harsh reality of Latin American countries Of course, paintings and prints with such content are also interspersed, enriched with irritating visual fillers; in short, here too, as in almost every work by the artist, there is an aesthetically enticing fusion of real forms and impressions with fantastic abstract, purely graphic impressions

The artist’s comic creations are a special feature, assemblages of fantastic and realistic forms that sometimes appear extremely fine, subtle, like delicate, dreamlike touches, cobwebs, and at other times as an expressively emphasised confession, like a terrifying vision of the destruction of the visible and the “tangible”