Red spider - Golden butterfly
23 June 2017r. - 07 July 2017r.
Nautilus Gallery & Auction House

Janina Muszanka-Łakomska was an outstanding but unfairly forgotten artists. Like many of her 1920s generation (she was born on December 27, 1920 in Krakow), despite all the adversities, she looked for her way in the hard times of World War II. Young, talented and enthusiastic, she began to train at the Institute of Fine Arts in Krakow, honing her skills under Fryderyk Pautsch, Józef Mehoffer, Witold Chomicz and Henryk Uziembła. Experience gained in textile design and technologies
and the knowledge of fibre structure would prove fruitful over the years to come. When the Nazis closed the Institute her training was interrupted. She earned a livelihood for herself and her mother by illustrating kids’ books (her father perished in a concentration camp). After the war, she completed her education at Krakow’s Academy of Fine Arts, and in 1949 was given tenure by the school.
In 1949, Muszanka-Łakomska married Tadeusz Łakomski. Madly in love with his wife, who enjoyed a widespread reputation of an ideal of female beauty, he portrayed her incessantly and dedicated his poems to her. Together, they appeared at group exhibitions in Krakow and Warsaw and at international art festivals. She still explored object painting, representing the movement of individualised realism. In the 1950s, she tours Europe, ravished by the Balkan and Mediterranean light. In 1959, her first solo show opened.
With time, she radically broke away from realism. From 1959 on, Muszanka-Łakomska created collages that remain astonishing for their wealth of textures and gamut of colours. She used a technique of modelling wet canvases soaked with paint and glue, which she worked into the desired shape, fleshiness and depth effects. Her exhibition at Rome’s La Salita gallery was a success. Sadly, that was the time the first symptoms of schizophrenia emerged. A shameful taboo in those days,
the disorder resulted in isolation by her milieu, depression, repeated periods at a mental institution and breaks in her teaching work. She exhibited occasionally, and in 1976 quitted the Academy. The artist shut herself in a world of anxieties, obsessions and phantasmagorical visions. In her art, as uncontrollable as a stream of consciousness, she would approach the apocalyptic visions of art brute. Her works fascinated the celebrated German collector Ludwig Zimmerer, and her second
solo show opened in Krakow in 1981. Unfortunaly, she died a year later. In 1984, the Chrzanow Museum staged the last as yet monographic exhibition of her output.
Afterwards, the world forgot all about her for decades. It was not until today that thanks to the passion of Galeria Nautilus and financial support from Krakow Municipality, and courtesy of the artist’s family and private collectors that her work is back on view: a fascinating, at times terrifying world on canvases so technically impeccable and so different that you cannot help wondering how they could have been wiped so brutally out of human memory.

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