Gunia Nowik Gallery


Jakub Gliński
Sep 30 – Nov 20, 2021

You walk into an empty white space, high walls surround you. It’s too bright, the fluorescent light makes you uneasy. The air is cold, the suffocating smell of fresh white paint fills up your lungs. Only the loneliness feels right. You wish this was the end of the world, but the abyss feels too heavy, too stuffy; there isn’t a dark soft space for you to hide. It makes you feel something painful but so familiar that you know you are in the right place. When there is nothing left, there is always a place for the fear you’ve nurtured for years. The paralysis that it gives you makes you feel alive, and that’s good enough. The unbearable silence of nothingness is replaced with the deep uncomfortable beating of your heart, happening much too fast. Your veins become convex, your breath grows shallow, and your gaze desperately seeks something to settle on. The uncertainty is agonising, but you are forced to give in.

The impulse to fill the void with something familiar overtakes you. Driven by the desire to feel something else, you frenetically start to fill the space with fragments of your fear. It is greater than these walls. You search for other emotions, you wish this was love, but how would that feel? You recycle what you know, things that haunt you, things that are part of you. Symbols, figures, scribbles appear everywhere in overwhelming numbers. You paint your experience, erase it and layer it again until the dense dysfunctions become smooth surfaces. 

Your demons are laughing, but this time you’re not afraid to face them. You smile, you’ve seen them before.

Now the fear turns tender, the muscles become softer, the movements calmer, the breath slower. I can see bright spots appearing, but your sun still shines with darkness.

This is no longer an abyss, you’ve overcome the numbness. The ground holds you, the viscerality becomes enjoyable, your heart finds an irregular rhythm. You’re curious what the next beat brings and where it takes you. You’ve been here before, you feel it all. The fear is your comfort and driving force.

If this feels good, you are too close. 

Natalia Grabowska

This text is based on conversations between the artist and writer and curator, Natalia Grabowska, over the past two weeks while Gliński was painting the works in situ. Their conversations focused on the artist’s emotional states while painting and Natalia hadn’t seen the works in progress.

Photography: Bartosz Górka, Katarzyna Legendź