Alicja Podgórska Birkner is an artist and designer based in Munich. Find her here.
“In 1987, I traveled to italy as part of an italian course. Here are two of my most memorable moments that have changed the way I look at art. In Venice I visited a Matisse show. Every painting opened a new world of shapes, colours, compositions. Now this really was painting! His paper cut outs resulted from an illness, from which time on he was bound to bed and later a wheelchair, unable to paint. For me, this picture, showing Matisse in his 70s, symbolizes a vital, almost compulsive urge to create, that I, too am familiar with.”
Henri Matisse at the Hôtel Régina, Nice, 1952. Found here.
“1987, same trip. In Rome I had my first encounter with Bernini’s sculptures. Back in Poland, I had seen his work, but only in a slide show in an art history class. Arrogantly, I thought to myself “well, another baroque sculptor..“. But this time, I saw his work in the flesh, and what a revelation this has been! The angel, playfully interacting with Habakkuk’s hair, carved in heavy marble, incredibly skillfull yet somehow humorous and light. This moment convinced me that sculptures must be seen, touched and experienced. Pictures almost never do them justice.”
Habakkuk and the Angel, Bernini, 1656-61 Chigi Chapel, Rome. Found here.
“There are two very similar sculptures by Brancusi and Jean Arp, a shape that I too had made in 1984, completely ignorant of these two artists, while studying art in a socialist Poland. Since then, I am wondering about inspiration and kinship. Why is it that someone decides on a shape, a certain gesture? Why are there sometimes such profound similiarities? It is as if something immaterial is trying to become material, but through the mind and hands of an artist. This picture shows the studio of Brancusi in Paris, that represents a place of perfect harmony for me.”