Moskwa in Krakow

Magda Moskwa is an exceptional artist. Her art is unique. If you see her paintings just once, you’ll recognize them anywhere. Currently you can see her works in Krakow.

She comes from Lodz where she was born in 1967. Moskwa graduated from the Academy of Fine Art in Lodz in 1996. She studied painting, but decorative prints also have had a great impact on her art. Moskwa paints slowly and extremely precisely. Her works seem to have more in common with previous eras than with contemporary art. The background of her pieces recalls a technique of the Middle Ages, when craftsmen painted two-dimensional, using a flat effect, but at the same time very decorative.

Moskwa’s work can also be connected with the tradition of Young Poland – a modernist period in Polish art, literature and music from 1890-1918 that strongly opposed positivism and promoted decadence, neo-romanticism, symbolism, impressionism and art nouveau.

Her works are mostly women’s portraits. The images come from the artist’s imagination, but sometimes it’s possible to find elements of Moskwa’s face. She calls the women in her paintings Nomany. The physiognomy is distinctive: extremely pale face, wide neck often covered with clothing or lace, no waist, sagging breasts, no makeup, eye shadows. The features recall a Polish tradition of Sarmatian portraits, especially of old matrons or a priory’s prioress.

The Sarmatians were a people originally from the Iranian region. Mentioned by classical authors, they migrated from Central Asia to the Ural Mountains around the 5th Century, and eventually settled in southern European Russia and the eastern Balkans. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Polish magnates established themselves as descendants of the Sarmatians and established a rich tradition of dress, literature and music.

Magda Moskwa’s paintings contrast the beauty of decorations and ornaments with the defects of the bodies. She doesn’t follow the obvious, popular opinions of modern beauty. There is also another level to her works – autobiography. As I’ve mentioned, although the images come from Moskwa’s imagination, in many of them we can find the artist’s features. Her work is literally loaded with emotional landmines hidden in the characteristic juxtaposition of colors and the rich collection of symbols. The art contains nostalgia but also anxiety. Undoubtedly it is an exhibition worth seeing.

Magda Moskwa, Painting, Raven Gallery, ul. Brzozowa 7

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