Katarzyna Zimna graduated with honours from the Department of Graphics and Painting (2002) and the Department of Visual Education (2004) within the Academy of Fine Arts in Łódź. Between 2005-2010 she studied at Loughborough University School of Art and Design in Great Britain where she defended her Ph.D. on play/game as a term in aesthetics and creative strategy in modern and postmodern art. She works in the media of painting, graphics, drawing and book illustration. She also creates objects. She participated in exhibitions in Poland and abroad: in USA, Canada, Finland, France and Belgium amongst others. She has worked in the Institute of the Architecture of Textiles at Łódź Polytechnic.
Katarzyna Zimna connects her artistic work with scholarly research, she participates in conferences on aesthetics and the theory of contemporary art and she publishes articles. At the moment she is working on a book Time to Play: Action and Interaction in Contemporary Art, to be published by I.B.Tauris, London. Since 2011 she has belonged to The Young Women’s Enterpreneurs Association (YWEA) with its headquarters in Milano, in which she is engaged in projects focusing on cooperation and exchange between artists and designers from Łódź and Milano.
Early works by Katarzyna Zimna were paintings and graphics. It is worth recalling a series of acrylic paintings entitled After view from 2008. Afterviews emerge as a result of looking at one basic colour for a long time. When we look at something else, for a while we see the same shape on a complementing colour. Władysław Strzemiński was fascinated by this phenomenon which can be seen in the series of solaristic paintings from between 1948 and 1949. Strzemiński’s paintings are abstract, Katarzyna Zimna’s are impressionist landscapes from various parts of the world – Thailand, Egypt, Canada, Alaska. The style of painting resembles a collage technique – in some fragments on a landscape she lays colourful patterns resembling remnants of a painting previously seen. Paintings are devised in a courageous, synthetic way.
In a series of acrylic paintings on recycled cardboards entitled Promised Land (2010) the artist shows people in the suburbs, in run-down yards, a woman with a child in front of a shop, a group of people probably demonstrating. In an illustrative style of painting, the paintings resemble comic strips. Figures and details are drawn using black stroke and contrasted with bright colour patches – red, yellow and blue. Paintings are filled in with people of various races, at the first glance they resemble a scene from the other side of the ocean, and moreover – from at least 50 years ago. However after a while we find in them something of Łódź and Andrzej Wajda’s movie Promised Land.
In the work entitled Your move. Special Art Zone, New Centre of Łodź the artist directly referred to dreams about the future and more precisely, to the process of planning the space of the New Centre of Łódź which has taken a few years. There is a lack of visible results in the construction, apart from the demolishing the historic Łódź Fabryczna railway station. The artist invited viewers to participate in a game – making their own model of an iconic building of the New Centre. The work consisted of red and blue blocks which served as pawns and construction elements at the same time. The game was accompanied by an instruction. One could play Your move during the 5th Art and Documentation Festival in 2013.
Since 2012 the artist has undertaken the topic of motherhood which is associated with her personal situation – the birth of her child. She has made a series of linoleum block graphics entitled Nomen omen – on stretchy baby suit she presented a series of figures which may refer to biblical motifs or maybe other beliefs? The works from the series To have to be were devised on diaper cloths. The first of the works – abstract in form, resembles the photo of a foetus. The other, presents a set of items which have to be bought for a newborn child, from small things to large objects – clothes, bottles, pram, bed, bathtub etc. The works were made in linoleum block graphic technique. Black, synthetically treated forms are well composed with a white colour and the gentleness of a diaper cloth. In 2013 in the Chłodna Gallery in Suwałki the artist presented an exhibition entitled Tetris. A colourful fabric made of sewn, dyed diaper cloths divided the exhibition in two parts. On one side she placed works which referred to the topic of motherhood and on the other – the remaining ones. In the exhibition graphic works were the dominating exibits. The artist called this exhibition a picture blog, which talks about events from her life. The title Tetris refers to a name of a popular computer game devised by Alexei Pazhitnov and co., which first appeared on the market in 1984. Tetris is a logic game, in which one has to show good reflexes but also composure and also believe in good luck. Just as in life – then the elements of a puzzle will hit their spots.
Motherhood is another experience and challenge in the artist’s life, for sure it’s different than other experiences. Looking at Katarzyna Zimna’s works one may think, contrary to many examples of other artists, that this event inspires her and motivates to work further.
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