Text: P a u l i n a B r e l i ń s ka – G a r s z t ka
Edited the text: J u l i a K r y s h e v i c h
Photo: f r o m a r t i s t‘ s a r c h i v e s
‚I spend a lot of time in my studio: that is the reason for my paintings being photographed and displayed on social media in that particular place. For the past two years, I have been working and thinking about the form of presentation for my works right here. I managed to create a new language of communication with the viewer, which is less literal and figurative.
Now the paintings show more feelings and emotions than they did a few years ago. Perhaps it’s the specific time of the pandemic, social isolation and omnipresent socio-political conflicts that have strongly affected my way of painting’ – says artist Lia Kimura. One can trace how Kimura’s working style has evolved in her latest cycle of paintings (to be displayed at the artist’s solo exhibition Unpresent at Wallspace Gallery Warsaw, starting from February 2022).
Upon entering Lia’s studio, located on Bracka Street in the very center of Warsaw, one is immediately confronted with lots of abstract paintings. Although the viewer can primarily see human figures in the canvases, it’s not the carnality that is most important in Lia’s works. Applying successive layers of paint serves as an act of symbolic obliteration of memories, fears, experience, and the past. The works are like portals in which invisible fragments of life are hidden. One painting captures a longing for loved ones, another says about the fear of how fast reality changes, while the third one focuses on a specific memory.
The colors are also worth noting. From pastels and body-like shades to pure and expressive colors — reds, pinks, blues — applied onto the canvas by the artist’s hand; there is even some space for black shades that are gradient and blurred like memories. Moving around the artist’s studio, one can see that her everyday life is exactly such a palette of colors. On a high black tenement wall, the latest pictures look as though they had been hanging there forever.
Lia Kimura, Absence of sound, oil paints on canvas, 2021
Lia Kimura, Touch, 160×120, oil on canvas, 2020
Lia Kimura, Traces, oil on canvas, 100×80, 2020
It is interesting how complementary the space and canvases can be. The aura of the studio is peaceful, somehow soothing, and quiet, though the very hallways and the two rooms with large windows are filled with the untold stories of a hardworking artist, a sensitive woman, a curious human being. Lia describes herself as a thinker whose head is often filled with reflection about existence: she likes to philosophize and explore human nature. This makes the space she works in every day even more refined for contemplating the world.
The statement about the autotherapeutic dimension of Lia’s artistic work is intriguing. As the introductory text to the Unpresent exhibition suggests: ‚The only psychological, personal, and aesthetic profile that we can read from the paintings is that of the artist‘. It is about building a relationship between Lia, the artist, and her as a human being who faces everyday life. Only when art pieces are brought to public space, i.e. art galleries, the experience of exposing the works takes place.
Thanks to the titanic work done, both artistically and internally, Lia’s canvases look intriguing and inviting to contemplate. The market success they have achieved seems to prove their validity as independent objects — pieces of art. The works have been appreciated by collectors from Germany, Japan and the USA, as well as by major art critics. Later this year, they will be showcased at one of the most important festivals in Japan — Osaka Kansai International Art Festival 2022. Last year, Kimura’s canvases were exhibited in two London venues — the Fitzrovia Gallery and the Saatchi Gallery. Nonetheless, Lia’s studio where it all began is still remembered as a perfect place where art and everyday life coincide.
Self Trap, 100×80, 2021
Self Trap, 100×80, 20212
Self Trap, 100×80, 202123
Lia Kimura is a Japan-born Polish painter. Kimura’s work is mostly connected with her place of birth, search for identity and intensive feelings: the experience of death, alienation, and hope. Her paintings represent both the traditional form of expression and the experimental approach, where figurative forms are matched with abstract matter.
The artist currently lives and works in Warsaw, where she started her career in 2016.
Her paintings belong to almost 40 private collections (Germany, England, Japan, Switzerland, Poland) and were displayed at such group exhibitions as Color of life held in the Fitzrovia Gallery and Saatchi Gallery (London) in 2021 and a pre-auction exhibition in Polswissart Showroom in Warsaw (7 December 2021). They will also be shown at the Osaka Kansai International Art Festival (Kenba Excel Building, 28 January—13 February 2022).