Róża Litwa

Two Towers

February 26  –  April 30, 2021

The Two Towers exhibition is the first individual presentation of Roża Litwa’s works at Galeria Monopol, inaugurating the cooperation of the artist with the gallery. The works gathered at the exhibition have been produced over the past two years and have not been shown to the public yet. Creating them, Litwa used ceramics and painting.

The themes addressed by the artist continue her previous explorations. They concern the hegemonic construction of social systems and the traditional roles of their individual actors. The works on display touch upon the phenomenon of the affective turn, which renders feelings more important than facts. We perceive its presence ever more clearly in the reality around us. In her output, Róża Litwa deals with a wide spectrum of practices, views, and behaviors, observing each with an investigative insight and curiosity. She documents the effects of her reflection, using a characteristic style formed of multiplied figurative forms. They are visual metaphors of the condition of modernity. Each piece is preceded by a detailed plan, repeated attempts, and numerous versions, in which Litwa strives for perfection. In the artist’s works, as in Gothic cathedrals, each element has its structural and symbolic justification, and the violation of this order brings about the danger of collapsing.

The title two towers can be interpreted in several ways. From a historical perspective, they are a manifestation of strength, progress, and the ability to transcend the limits of imagination expressed in Gothic architecture. The towers bear testimony to the binary order of the world constructed from opposites, leading to harmful simplifications and syntheses. They illustrate the stability and indisputability of the system in which we function, and which is based on hierarchy and power. Although this system is a source of much suffering and injustice, we are still entangled in it. Attempts to undermine it often end in failure, while victories are usually forgotten because we have come to believe too strongly in the rightness and finality of the present order. However, in the exhibition space, simple vertical structures are caricatured as two crooked towers. Ironic travesties, in addition to a humorous twist, remind us of an ever-present potential for change. In the paintings, multiplied elements are arranged in anthropoid shapes — undoubtedly, the human being is at the center of the artist’s interests. In her works we can see ourselves reflected as in a mirror: following duplicated fragments, we will notice pieces of our everyday life, our fears, and innermost fantasies. Consecutive sequences are ordered pieces of shrapnel from an information bomb – one containing the news which we are stuffed with, like with a spoon, in small portions. The captured faces, mocking us, form traceries, while the profiles of human faces are turning in circles, assuming the form of rosettes. They are all threads of an enigmatic story about the surrounding reality which Róża Litwa invites us to read. Nevertheless, her aim is not to provide us with ready-made cognitive tools. It is in vain to look for simple solutions in her works, moralizing content or answers to questions, which are merely a starting point for private reflection.

We are now at the epicenter of the chaos, tired and fearful of the pandemic, angry and anxious because of interference in our fundamental rights, prepared to continue the fight we have been engaged in. We are observing a prophecy about interesting times being fulfilled, but we still cannot gain distance from it. Gothic cathedrals were built over several generations, and we must similarly entrust the ordering of the existing disorder to future generations. Besides, it is difficult to describe the view from the towers, since everything depends on the angle of view, which we do not yet know. It is not certain if we will ever know.

Franciszek Smoręda