‘Convulsion’ exhibition review by Marta Ryczkowska, PhD


The body, usually filled with thoughts, dilemmas, dreams and reminiscence of the past, in special situations becomes light. One of them is contact with water during free drifting, which is similar to a state of weightlessness. The relaxed muscles, the horizontal position of the body pushed by the water takes away both its physical weight and the baggage of thoughts, intrusive, involuntary, unbearably galloping. The body only being released from this ballast can lie on the surface of the water for hours, traveling to the limits of the senses and corners of consciousness. The division between inside and outside is blurred – the nearly motionless body in the water is a return to the original, prenatal unity. 

The other situation in which the body acquires lightness is losing itself in dance. Vertical expression similarly frees one from disciplinary thoughts. 

In dancing and swimming, appearances, appearance, surroundings disappear, completely different vectors give them direction.    

There is also the opposite pole of this lightness. The accelerated pulse, the path between contraction and diastole, the increase in blood pressure – the state of weightlessness conceals a state of a completely different, stretched between extremes. A body jittering, haggard with convulsions, stretched between heat and cold, movement and stillness, independent of will and given over to impulse fights its battle with space and nature, with what determines and limits it, pulls itself out, trying to bypass its own barriers. Dense emotions, sharpened washes run towards the unreal, elusive and flickering. Convulsion – this is an agonizing contact with one’s own body, an inability to detach from the ground, a change that foreshadows a swift and inevitable finale. The inability to speak and listen. It reminds us of entanglement in life processes, in which lightness is only a temporary state. 

Marta Bosowska creates a visual situation in which the body appears in contact with the elements. The artist explores the states of the body, in which it acquires lightness and is also jittery, grounded, fighting a battle with space, nature and its own limitations. Using simple, evocative means, she shows attempts to tame it, purge it of its baggage of thoughts and rid it of its physical burden. The body, convulsed, stretched between heat and cold, movement and stillness, independent of will and given over to impulses, fights its battle with space and nature, with what determines and limits it, breaks free, trying to bypass its own barriers.

The installation consists of two parts – the first on the first floor – a cooled room, illuminated by a scenic spotlight. This light falls on the concreted pointe shoes, immobilized as if in one movement. We have the impression as if the flesh jumped out of them with a moment of concrete splashing. 

We go downstairs to the basement and are struck by the unnaturally high temperature. The artist has heated the basement to a temperature of 36.6. We come to a white wall from which we can see a sliver of white light.  A small hole is drilled in the wall with a sharp tool.

We feel the sweat running down our backs but still want to look through the hole, like a kind of little peeper. There, in the distance, we see the naked body of a woman drifting through the water. We don’t know whether we are witnessing someone’s death or simply an escape… Out of breath, we return to the upstairs.

Marta Ryczkowska, PhD

Labirynth Gallery, Lublin, PL