Text by Bożena Hampel in ITD magazine (1978)

Jan Niksinski

Studied (1973) at the Faculty of Pedagogy at the University of Gdansk, then at the State Higher School of Plastic Arts in Gdansk at the Faculty of Graphic Design in Gdansk at the Faculty of Graphic Design. In 1975-78 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw at the Faculty of Graphic Design. He obtained his diploma in Prof. M. Rojewskle’s lithography studio and in Stanislaw Poznanski’s painting studio.

He took part in the exhibition Young Polish Graphics in 1978 – presented not only in Warsaw at the Studio Gallery and at the Poznan Festival, but also in Havana at the World Festival of Student Youth. He also exhibited in Leipzig (Figura 2 as part of lBA 1977). He does painting and drawing, illustration and posters (he worked with the Nasza Księgarnia publishing house, now with PIW).

His favourite technique, however, is lithography. Why? It is closely related to the fact that, as he says: “I have always been interested in time, more specifically, its influence on works of art and the mentality of people. I have been puzzled by the well-known fact that old Greek sculptures, damaged by time, lose none of their beauty, but even gain it…. Time brings out some deeper truth in the works of man by revealing their material structure…. “

In his series of lithographs entitled. “Landscape Almost Without Meaning”, he conducts an interesting experiment in exploiting the workings of time in a similar way to film or music. “The theme” of the series is, if one may say so, the documentation of the changes taking place in the artist, as well as the changes taking place in the material itself, which is the lithographic stone.

“Landscape without meaning” is actually a single work, each successive version of which is created in such a way that the artist adds new elements to the previous version or deletes old ones.

The elements that remain unchanged undergo natural chemical processes resulting from the specific nature of lithography (i.e. the ‘weaker’ elements gradually fade away, while the “stronger” elements become blurred and darker). Successive versions are created at intervals of several months. Time, therefore, seems to co-create the work, conditioning the shape of the cycle, which without it would really only be a single work.

In his paintings, in turn, his fascination with the multifaceted nature of the action of time manifests itself through the months-long layering of one painting over another. In this way, the artist also tries to convey the entire multidimensionality of reality, which, as we all know, can be grasped and seen in one or many dimensions….

Niksinski’s work on a poster or illustration, where the subject and purpose are clearly defined, is completely different. Despite the fact that he definitely prefers to decide on everything in his work and to be responsible for everything himself, he also produces illustrations and covers on commission for publishing houses. His motives for doing this work are very specific. Illustrating books provides him with the conviction that what he is doing is useful for his work.

Niksiński is only just beginning his work as an illustrator in Poland, but he has already done a lot of realist covers in Austria (commissioned by the well-known publishing house Überrenter). This required considerable workshop skills. Janek recalls: “Poland seems to be a paradise for graphic designers who work there, as they agree that it allows for a much greater development of artistic individuality.

However, we don’t do enough to advertise the work of young painters – graphic artists. This makes the artist feel that he or she is not needed until he or she is widely accepted. A musician is in a much better position in this respect. When he plays well at a festival, he immediately draws attention to himself, receives proposals, etc. An artist, on the other hand, when applying for an exhibition, for example, is basically on his own …