Martyna Czech’s nomination for Polityka Passports Award

Revelation of Bielska Jesień 2015 – emphatic, uncompromising and highly emotional paintings. A chance for a new award.

Martyna Czech is a young painter from Tarnów (born in 1990). Her talent was first truly discovered at the 42nd Painting Biennale Bielska Jesień, which was held in Galeria Bielska BWA in Bielsko-Biała in 2015. Now she stands a chance to win another prestigious award, as she has found herself on the shortlist of three artists nominated for the Polityka Passports Award 2018 in the Visual Arts category. The final verdict will be announced by the editorial team of the weekly Polityka on 8 January, 2019.
The series of paintings which Czech submitted to the 42nd Biennale of Painting Bielska Jesień in 2015 when she was still a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice, won her the Grand Prix. Jakub Banasiak, an art critic and historian, editor-in-chief of the cultural magazine Szum, who headed the 2015 Biennale, had to respond to a barrage of criticism by those outraged at the choice of Czech's work with all its apparent deformities, aggressive colours and overly emotional messages. 
Speaking on behalf of the jury, Jakub Banasiak thus justified the choice of three works by Martyna Czech – Ex 1, Nobody and WC for the main award in 2015: “These paintings are characterized by compositional simplicity; although they only contain elementary colours, they are incredibly powerful visually. The artist is capable of obtaining a disturbing, magnetizing results with the use of economical, almost primitive gestures (the other members of the jury were Dorota Monkiewicz, Agata Smalcerz, Ryszard Grzyb and Jadwiga Sawicka). Currently, Martyna Czech's paintings are sought out by galleries, and her paintings keep winning her admiration of viewers and interest of art collectors.

Two years after the success at Biennale, Galeria Bielska BWA organized a solo exhibition for Martyna Czech. He exhibition was the award of the Director of Galeria Bielska BWA, which is traditionally presented to the Grand Prix winner. Aptly named Venom, the 2017 exhibition was curated by Jakub Banasiak who said: “This year's graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice exposes herself to a gruelling vivisection that we haven't seen in Polish painting for years. She paints fast and greedily, as if her works were life-size photographs of emotions, with no filter, like hasty notes jotted down on a cafe napkin or punched in on a mobile phone. The lurid titles: Tear, Rejection, Obsession, Temptation, make the statement even more emphatic without detracting from the general appeal. Czech’s works are overflowing with paint, and the configurations of individual elements are so peculiar that it takes time before we realize what we are actually looking at. And what we are looking at are, in fact, three overriding themes: animal slaughter, toxic relationships, and, possibly encapsulating the two, sensuality, carnal knowledge, disease. Paint is the artist’s yet another bodily fluid and the verisimilitude of her expression brings her work ever closer to abject art. Hers is affective art, a cardiogram of emotional highs and lows. She never gets carried away by an intellectual speculation or academic fad. If she sets her brush to the canvas, she does it as a consequence of personal experiences, impulses, reflexes, usually painful, traumatic, appalling ones. Her work is a reaction to foul behaviour of those close to her, to suffering - her own and other people’s, to misery and unhealed wounds. Martyna Czech paints with venom.”

After the exhibition in Bielsko-Biała followed by another presentation in Tarnów, Galeria Bielska BWA and Galeria BWA in Tarnów published a catalogue of paintings by Maryna Czech entitled Venom. It was the first such comprehensive presentation of the work of Martyna Czech, ( with texts by Karolina Plina, Karolina Majewska-Güde and Anna Markowska).

In 2018, a group of art experts nominating artists for Polityka’s Passports also recognized the work of Martyna Czech as one of the most expressive painting debuts in recent years. They called her work  “emphatic, uncompromising and capable of evoking extreme emotions – from rapture to outright rejection.” They also stressed that “a single glance is sufficient to leave shrapnel of her painting in  the viewer’s eye.” Martyna Czech’s art is “far from pleasant and captivating.”  

More about the exhibition Venom in Galerii Bielskiej BWA  >>

More about the Painting Biennale Bielska Jesień 2015 >>