I met Karolina Albricht in January; I was with her in ArtRooms fair in London. Immediately her art caught my attention. I love the harmony of composition, the balance between the light and the darkness in her paintings. All the canvases are composed of intense colors and the first feelings I had was a sort of magic dream in a surreal world. She’s now based in London but originally from Krakow, Poland. Let’s discover her art world.
Karolina, how are you? Tell me about you, your move from Poland to the UK and how’s your life in London?
Hi Ilaria, I’m really good, hope you’re well to and I just wanted to thank you for inviting me to this interview.
It’s been quite a journey since I moved to London back in 2008. I decided to move here during my first visit to London in 2003. Five years later, once I had graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow I was ready for the move! The beginning of my life here was hard but also very exciting and I struggled at times on many levels. Often it meant that my practice had to be put on hold, but I finally managed to get to a place where I can commit to painting and be able to support myself. So, in short: life in London is good.
Tell us, please, about your work, your paintings, if you have to use five words to describe what would you choose?
It’s very difficult to pinpoint my painting (or any painting, I guess) in the form of words. I think that there are some key, reocurring elements to it and so I would use these words: ambiguous, visceral, instinctive, playful, metaphysical. I started as a figurative painter and only in recent years began to experiment with abstraction. It was difficult to find the right language and I think I’m close. Generaly I think that painting is a constant process which responds to you as a human. All the sensual and emotional triggers like images, sound, interactions with people, are collected over the years and digested and at some point they just come out, when the time is right.
Your favorites movies? And why?
Cinema has always been extremely important to me. It provoke a lot in terms of emotions and visuals, but also music. My favourite directors (that I can think of on the spot) are Pedro Almodovar, Andrzej Wajda and Ingmar Bergman. Their work is something I keep on going back to for so many reasons. I have also been obsessed with 2 films by Tom Ford: Single Man and Nocturnal Animals. The way they’ve been shot is so poetic, precise and beautiful and it works harmoniously with the music composed by Abel Korzeniowksi. They are dark, violent and excellent. I cannot get away from them. I recently watched a French film ‘Raw’ which left quite an impression on me, I’ve been thinking about it almost every day since I watched it. The title says it all.
Do you think in London people, collectors appreciate your artwork?
It’s very hard to tell. London creates a lot of opportunities as we know, but at the same time it expects a lot in return. So you have to work very, very hard to even start thinking about appreciation from the art world. I know that my work resonates with some people, they form some sort of emotional link with my work, which only they can understand. I hope this will continue to happen and that it will translate into something more tangible…
Which is your favorite painting and why?
I might be assuming this, but I think generally artists favor their most recent works- that at least applies to me. I have favorite paintings of mine, even from Uni times, which I am very attached to, perhaps they were the ones that opened my painting to the new options. I’d say that two of my most recent paintings ‘The Absence of Kissing’ and ‘The Hunter’s Dream’ are the once I feel most connected to right now and so they are my favourite ones. This however, may change with time as I progress into more and more new work!
If you choose another “job” or if you could change to be another person who you would like to be/do?
Hmmm. This is a difficult question. I try to avoid re-imagining my life scenarios, but often find myself thinking how I’d do things differently when I was in my teens and mid-twenties. This is purely art related. If it was a completely different ‘job’ I think I’d love to be doing something more physical like dancing, or something more immediate, like a musician. This of course would involve having a talent in those fields!
What type of art do you appreciate? (from the present or past)
Out of all the types of art out there, I’m connected to painting the most. It’s always been part of my life in one way or another, well, at least as far as I can remember. During my teenage years I was obsessed with the Paris based art world of 19th /20th century and it has stayed with me. One of my absolute heroes is Francisco Goya. His work always leaves me wondering how is it possible that he came up with such revolutionary paintings and visions around 2 centuries ago. I’ve always been drawn to figurative painting and Bacon has definitely played a big role in my life as an artist, this however shifted slightly as I’ve transitioned towards abstraction. It’s impossible to include all the names but I’d have to mention Marlene Dumas, Peter Doig, Luc Tuymans, Sigmar Polke, Daniel Richter, Amy Sillman, Ryan Mosley, Chris Martin and the list goes on…!
Have you ever been in Italy? If yes did you like?
I’ve been lucky to have visited Italy many times. When I was around 20, I stayed in Florence for 3 months during the summer holiday from Uni and (inevitably!) I fell in love with the city, the people, the food and definitely the weather! I’ve been to Rome, Venice, Naples and Tuscany on other occasions and will keep on coming for more. I absolutely love Italy with its rich history, arts and architecture. Its legacy is huge and a never- ending source of wonder.
Karolina Albricht / www.karolinaalbricht.com
Interview: Ilaria Bochicchio
In cover: detail | Absence of Kissing
Karolina Albricht | Wayward Sisters
Karolina Albricht | Hunter’s Dream
Karolina Albricht | Beholder
Karolina Albricht | Absence of Kissing