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Graduated at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Lidia Kostanek is a Polish sculptor in constant evolution, whose figurative sculptures are capable of amazing the viewer through a skillfull union of perfect form and provocative meaning. Before discovering and dedicating herself to contemporary sculpture, she has worked with and experienced many techniques, from drawings to etching, which has given her the chance to explore and master so many materials that proved to be extremely useful in her later sculptural works.
Through her figurative sculptures Lidia is far from being reluctant to explore erotism and arouse it in the viewer. Her work stands between the border of the real and irreal life and her aim is to explore the complexity of emotions through seemingly surreal scenarios.
The many and varuious sculpture materials she uses give life to bizarre and intruguing sculptural works, such as masks and faces of violent beauty, male and female genitals, subjects that recurr in a sort of stratification, transformed and sometimes overlapped bodies: works of art that are brutal and delicate at the same time, capable of provoking and arousing strong emotions. Hers is a very meticolous and skillfull work, at the edge of the surreal.
Through her work, Lidia tries to examine both our weaknesses and our strong points, our dreams and our realities. She is continously exploring notions of idealized femininity and masculinity to challenge binary gender notions and, with her own words “I’m seeking to invent a new relation to the body”.
Lidia Kostanek lives and works in France.
Her website: http://lidiakostanek.com/
Interview with Figurative Sculptures Artist Lidia Kostanek.
FG: If you should tell someone the story of your life, from where would you start?
LIDIA KOSTANEK: From My childhood. I made a long journey since there, but it was a very important period : the base. I was a very solitary child, close to the nature and my close family, living in my own world inhabited by gleams and shadows. I’m sill reaching out from this period the treasures, but also some dirt and dust.
FG: What draws you to art, in general, and to sculpture in particular?
LIDIA KOSTANEK: I’ve wanted to become an artist ever since I was a child. I graduated from high school of visual arts, then the Academy of Fine Arts of Warsaw, but I still didn’t feel like an artist… I was not self-confident at all. I was advised to choose a “real” profession. So, I worked as a graphic designer for several years, until a day when I couldn’t stand computers any more. I needed to come back in art studio, to feel the touch and the smell of a paper, a paint, or… a clay. The sculpture was a revelation to me. The clay unlocked my uncertainty, my fears. It helped me transform rage into a strength.
FG: What are your favourite subjects and the major themes you deal with in your work? Is there a technique you prefer?
LIDIA KOSTANEK: Through my work, I try to examine both our weaknesses and our strengths ; the unbearable lightness of being. I challenge and explore notions of an idealized femininity. I’m seeking to invent a new relation to the body and to gender issues…
I’m not attached to a specific technique. It’s just a way to reach my objectives. I’m still searching.
FG: How have your style, practice and techniques evolved over the years?
LIDIA KOSTANEK: At school my favorite area was a painting. I continued artistic quest through drawing, collage, engraving… At this point, I am considering combining ceramic sculpture with other materials, other medias. I’d like to return to painting one day. Will see…
FG: Choose three words to describe your work.
LIDIA KOSTANEK: Disturbing : delicate and brutal at once.
FG: What are your creative approach and creation process like? How do you conceptualize and think about each of your pieces?
LIDIA KOSTANEK: Sometimes it’s an idea of subject who comes at first, and I try to find a right form to catch it; other times it’s a image who appears like an evidence, and the meaning of it comes during a process of creation.
FG: Can you mention an artist, artwork or series of art projects that particularly influenced/inspired you in you work as an artist?
LIDIA KOSTANEK: I am fascinated by the brutal aspects of nature, old masters’ works, medieval or renaissance art, and of course I admire artists like Alina Szapocznikow, Kiki Smith, Louise Bourgeois, Carol Rama… I’m sensitive to different types of art : contemporary dance, video installation, poetry.
FG: When was the first time a work of art drew you? What was it?
LIDIA KOSTANEK: My father was an art teacher, he had many art books. I can still remember the pattern on the living room carpet, where I would sit and look through his books. I remember the square pages of the books, containing all the old masters’ work : the naked body of St. Sebastian, pierced by arrows ; twisted and dismembered bodies in Hieronymus Bosch’s visions of hell, and so many more. It was like seeing dead birds or cats : both scary and irresistibly fascinating at the same time.
FG: Which is the most provocative/courageous/original action you made as an artist?
LIDIA KOSTANEK: I like the idea of multi-layer interpretation. My work can be provocative for some people. Everyone sees what he wants to see : it depends on the prism of his experience, education, sensibility… Some people are shocked or disgusted in confrontation with some of my pieces. Others are truly moved : they approach me to confide their intimate experiences. In art we see our own reflection, like in the mirror. Sometimes we may not like it.
FG: What is the best advice you get as an artist?
LIDIA KOSTANEK: Keep going.
FG: What are your future projects? What are you working on at the moment?
LIDIA KOSTANEK: I have several exhibitions planned for the coming months, it requires some logistic. Otherwise, I start a new sculpture project about “body mask”. I don’t know yet, where it will lead me. I have to keep focused 🙂
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