if art is to happen,
it will happen
Collaboration with Adam Żółtowski began from this very simple idea to copy one another’s piece which was directly inspired by the philosophic notion of Theseus’ paradox (a thought experiment that raises the question whether an object with carefully replaced components remains in the end the same object).
During the process of getting to know each other Adam spoke about his relationship with Poland (his parents are Polish refugees from second World War). At this time he had returned from Poland where he had returned his fathers ashes to the family crypt there. His walk around the decrepit house prompted Izabela to pick up on his use of the phrase going round in circles. As it means to discuss or to do something without making any progress or to use a lot of time and effort trying to do something without making any progress.
From this came the idea of sending circles to each other. The mail art collaboration consisted of 55 drawings each made with a different tool. Each circle is made as a response to the previous one and provokes the next one. Adam drew the first circle, made by hand, not a perfect one. Now we know that our line has a life of its own - and how two strangers can meet perfectly in the middle. Circles evolved from a simple form that later begun to became more narrative. Walking around in circles seems to be something we all do in a significant way meaning the recurrence of life on a whole but also on a scale of everyday life with tiny, repeatable actions.
I am using extracted pieces of our email correspondence. Only through a process of deleting, I created a short continious text that in my opinion, describes well all ups and downs of our collaboration along with its funny moments. The idea develops slowly and at the end we are left with almost anything or with something really valuable. Are we still the same boat? Black characters are presented on the gallery’s floor and so a will to get to know their story forces a sort of choreography on the viewer. One goes round in circles just like we did. You can feel really dizzy!
this work was made during a collaboration with Adam Żółtowski and is a part of polish-english project called Connect, which was shown in PLY Gallery in London / UK and Rondo Sztuki in Katowice / PL
curators: Oksana Smirnova, Paweł Mendrek
photos: Michał Jędrzejewski, Tomasz Biały
„(...) If Art is to Happen, It Will Happen - an effect of intelectual play of Izabela Łęska and Adam Żółtowski, who use the paradox of Theseus's ship. A metaphoric touch on the essence of graphics. At the begenning of the second century, Plutarch described a ship uppon which, according to the Gree myth, Theseus returned to Athens with his men. The ship was preserved and maintained by the Greeks as a symbol of material, and simultaneously, immaterial identity. Though with time all of it's constituent parts were exchanged for new, its every material element replaced, the ship remained recognisable as a form, a concept and an idea: a matrix, that is, of the original ship of Theseus that had been intended to be remembered and unequivocally indentified after many years. (...) This distant Greek metaphor touches upon the essence of contemporary graphics. In the graphic process everything may be replaced, copied, built in, and yet... it does not infringe upon the singularity, identity, and originality of an artistic idea."
Dorota Folga-Januszewska, „Graphic Vision" from the 10th Polish Print Triennal in Katowice catalogue