2016/2017, mix media
“The Giantess project is a meeting of Martha and Natalia: the title character – a person suffering from severe obesity – and the artist. Its initiator was Marta, who was preparing for gastric resection surgery. At that time she has turned to Natalia and handed herself over to her as an object and a substance. She wanted Natalia to document and artistically transform her struggles with body-enemy. By undertaking this collaboration, they have returned to the situation that occurred sixteen years earlier – Natalia was then preparing for the art academy exams drawing the body of Marta, her first model. However, this amazing intertwine of their relationship is now involving completely different individuals. Martha has become a Giantess – a person who, because of her size, is “overly” visible, and thus exposed to judgement and stigmatised, though every day, like a strongwoman, she is putting a huge effort into ordinary activities, struggling with herself and the environment, fighting for acceptance. […] Giantess is a record of the project that has been undertaken by the artist to – as she says herself – «master her own fear and aversion.» She took an action not in spite of these feelings, but because of them, in order to be able to face her prejudices. The confrontational attitude, emotional dissonance and antinomy fall into the format of her art. The artist is operating in an area that is set by extremes: rationalism and aesthetic calculation plus the tendency to absolute commitment and dedication to work. It is in such designated field where she locates all questions and meanings, where she builds relationships.” (fragment of the curatorial text by Joanna Gwiazda)
Many of the “beautiful” words that come to my mind are rather unfortunate here. I’m going to stick with the quite rough attempt to describe our relationship. Some things I will leave concealed – in silence. I have touched Marta (her problem) in many different ways. It was from her body that I learned when preparing for art studies. Over the years, the tools have changed – they used to be pencils and paints (2002-2005), now they are sound and image recorders. But, unfortunately, it turned out that everything is just a glove, through which I’m fingering, palpating, and affirming. What I’m showing now is a sieved out selection/preview of the meeting and collaborating process. There are no final summaries and “artistic decisions” because I have taken too much responsibility for the other human being. Basically I do not know what is not here, and I’m not sure what is. All this strange, sudden and unplanned operation is balancing on the edges of meanings and on the interfaces of needs and expectations. I can not quite determine where we are now. Initially, the target was fairly clear and straightforward – the documentation of the weight losing process beginning at 176 kilograms. But all of it was living and pulsing, and until now is escaping any definite measuring scale. I have not enjoyed such a challenge, I could not feel it and find myself in it. Additionally I was terrified by unforeseen consequences (besides I still am). I was wondering how to catch the reality in an unposed situation. This sense of alienation has evolved over time into certain simultaneity of events, certain situational surrealism. The outcome of understanding of such concepts as society, responsibility, beauty of the body, or (in short) reality at hand in which we live, was their illusory essence – only. I realized that there is no constant value here – everything is a projection. As well the purpose as the assumptions, the whole process, also the very reason of our meeting, positioned here as a problem. I believe that Marta’s endeavours are going to change her life for the better. After all large things seem so small and insignificant from a distance. Working with her body at the same time stimulated my body, because my heart beats more clearly. I can simply notice it during the day, and this shortens the distance and changes the perspective on many things.
2017 Wozownia Art Gallery in Toruń
2017 Kronika – Centre for Contemporary Art in Bytom