Dominik Jasiński is one of the most recognizable Polish painters of the middle generation. Expressive figuration supplemented with symbols is typical of his work. The dominant role in the form is played by the dynamic surfaces and graphically treated details obtained by contrasting colorful spots of color. It cannot be denied that the author of these works graduated from the Faculty of Graphics. This time, Jasiński took on a classic masterpiece, Ovid's Metamorphoses, which, alongside the Bible, has been an endless source of inspiration for poets and artists for centuries. And although mythological motifs have appeared in his work for years, his latest paintings express this fascination most fully.
- Ovid, or rather Publius Ovidius Naso, was born in 43 BC. and was one of the greatest Roman poets. The poem Metamorphoses - his most famous work - is a monumental work, consisting of almost 12,000 lines and divided into 15 books. Created under the patronage of the first Roman emperor Octavian Augustus, the work tells the story of the creation of the world and the titular transformations, using approximately 250 myths. Metamorphosis cards are often full of extreme emotions, passion, drama and, of course, eroticism.
- Erotic themes in various configurations are an almost constant element of Jasiński's work, so the Ovidian marriage of the artist and mythology can be considered inevitable. The exhibition presents over 20 paintings and 10 preparatory drawings - created between 2018 and 2023 - showing the process of shaping painted works, which are also slightly more contemplative, but finished works of art. From the mythological menu, Jasiński chose a number of interesting plots and intriguing characters. He dedicated his largest compositions to the Three Moirae - goddesses of life and death, Narcissus and the nymph Echo, Apollo and the Muses, and Heracles in the context of one of his mythological works. Jasiński dedicated one of the tonda series presented at the exhibition to nymphs and goddesses shown in the form of portraits of beautiful women with plant attributes, and the other one to the gods of Olympus. He presented the latter allegorically in the convention of vanitas still lifes with skulls with symbolic tattoos and flowers.
- Jasiński likes to play with quotes from the history of art and culture - even the popular one. His Aphrodite - somewhat in the style of Egon Schiele's paintings - emerges from the sea waves inspired by the famous colorful woodcut by the Japanese artist Hokusai. He boldly quotes elements of contemporary pop culture, using them in an intelligent game with convention. His Hermes does not have wings at the ankles like the iconographic prototypes, but the winged sneakers refer to the designs of fashion creator Jeremy Scott for the Adidas brand. But it is the caduceus composed in the background - the attribute of the messenger of the gods, the god of travelers, merchants and thieves - that dispels any doubts. It is also impossible to resist the impression that the flowers and other plant motifs that appear so often in Jasiński's paintings are influenced by Art Nouveau, and even - more precisely - the painting of Young Poland. By the way, they always have a symbolic meaning in the artist's work - in this case, a connection with specific myths. But that's not all - the titles of Jasiński's works can be thoroughly modern and slang like.
With the paintings presented at the exhibition, Dominik Jasiński fits into the long tradition of mythological art history. And although there are many artists - including the most outstanding ones - who have dealt with this topic over the centuries, currently Ovid's Metamorphoses are a definitely forgotten inspiration, just like sophisticated symbols and allegories. One of the most interesting artistic endeavors devoted to the ancient poem was the publication of a four-volume, illustrated edition of the French translation of Metamorphoses, which was published in Paris in 1767-1771. The famous Parisian publisher Pierre-François Basan and the engraver Noël Le Mire engaged the best French cartoonists and engravers in this - as we would say today - illustrative project. This publication, which was reissued many times, was popular, and its engravings were highly appreciated by collectors. One of them was the last king of Poland, Stanisław August Poniatowski. And just like centuries ago, today a set of these engravings is presented on the first floor of the White House in the Royal Łazienki Park. They are also well known to the artist and extremely close to the curator of this exhibition.
The exhibition "Mythological Jasiński. "Ovid's Metamorphoses in the Paintings of Dominik Jasiński" can be viewed at the ToTuart Gallery and Auction House in Warsaw (Centrum Praskie Koneser, Plac Konesera 10A) from April 28 to May 16, 2023, Monday to Sunday, 11:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. The exhibition opening will take place on Thursday, April 27 at 19:00.
Curator of the exhibition: Dominik Zieliński
Apr 26 2023 - Apr 26 2023