The artist was born in Lodz in 1955; it is the place where he received his education; here he soaked up scents, flavours, sounds; he works here as an academic teacher; he started his studio and develops his artwork. I am truly convinced that his art is rooted in the images of his hometown, pictures remembered from his childhood and school time.
These are the years which shape us, develop our sensitivity, also the social one. They leave a permanent trace on our psyche. Images seen and perceived at that time stay in our memory, in our awareness – in our subconscious – for ever.
We use the filter of that time later on, actually all our life. To confirm what I am writing above, I would like to quote Włodzimierz Kotkowski’s words which I have found in one of his critical reviews: (...) and even though in the drawing there is no trace of a documentary intention I look at it and I see the surroundings of Główna and Piotrkowska crossroads in Łódź.
Łódź of the 50s, 60s and 70s was much closer to Reymont’s Łódź than the contemporary one; it was the city of a particular ethos of work, the city of contrasts. It was covered with a thick varnish layer of factory smokes which dimmed colours. It was the city of drowsy phantasms, full of traces of bygone cultures, the example of which is Jewish cemetery, probably the biggest in Europe – the battlefield of culture and nature, where the latter outperforms the former, crushing the ideal geometrical forms of matzevas, forcing biology of twigs and creepers into the rectangles, semicircles and triangles curved by a compass and a ruler.
(...) many researchers emphasised that the goal of alchemists’ doings was certainly transmutation of metals into gold, yet the real essence of that all was transmutation of the human being who was doing it. The same way as the metal transformed into something more precious, namely gold, purifying itself in the fire, the man purified himself and became in a way a new almost divine creature.
professor Zbigniew Bajek
Andrzej Grenda is an artist who has fully mastered the language of form and very original virtuoso craftsmanship which he uses to tell us about his visions. In my view the author’s craftsmanship inventions appear as a reply to the need to express on the plane what is imposed by imagination. The need to seek the power in contrasts with the simultaneous subtlety of the created subject matter brings to mind glaze, the painting technique which in the past was used to increase the veristic effect. Andrzej Grenda employs his own drawing technique, similarly complicated as glaze, however, it serves him as a tool to create monochromatic images marked by ‘verism of vision’, the vision that is merely an allusion to nature. The author mentions that he has been inspired by Rainer Maria Rilke’s poetry. I think that it is worthwhile to quote here a few lexical definitions concerning R. M. Rilke’s poetry; − sophisticated formally symbolic lyric poetry, mood of anxiety, − in my opinion these are terms which could certainly be used when talking about Andrzej Grenda’s drawings.
At first the term drawing is associated with writing, or rather recording an idea, thus it is connected with line. In the matter of drawing the author does not accept line. It does not determine the formal measure. The qualities that involve us into the atmosphere of Andrzej Grenda’s large drawings are a broad scale of greys saturated with air, sometimes stressed by the accent of velvet black. Thus we enjoy a play of stains arranged into the rigour of verticals and being associated with the landscape level of the horizon.
It is particularly the horizon line that is the axis of numerous compositions. The message and formal concept appears the moment the horizontal − vertical rigour is disturbed. I think that A. Grenda’s artwork can not probably be analysed in the way I am beginning to drive at as it relies on some kind of mystery that can not be explained. Nevertheless, I would still like to return to line as an element contributing to the artistic plot. We can observe it as the first plan play in small drawings, some of them coupled with inscriptions ‘Letter for You’. All drawings by Andrzej Grenda which I had a chance to see – are equal as their artistic value is concerned, yet I am particularly fond of some of them. They are: Prophecy II, Advertising Boards at 4 a.m. on Sunday. There is a certain directness in them in terms of composition. Although, as in other drawings, it is similarly well-thought-out and captured, there is something ‘contemporary’ in its carousel or rather film rhythm. The transcendent space of the sky goes with a kind of synthesis of what surrounds us in the streets of a big city. And even though in the drawing there is no trace of a documentary intention I look at it and I see the surroundings of Główna and Piotrkowska crossroads in Łódź. The whole content included in Grenda’s drawings, the visual message and the one that can be defined as philosophical – create an artistic value marked by the author’s personality − which exerts a strong influence on the viewer.
professor Włodzimierz Kotkowski
I was greatly satisfied looking at Andrzej Grenda’s works. The drawing framed in passe-partou provided me with comfort much bigger than the conditions of seeing the same works at the exhibition, where they are exposed behind a glass pane. Andrzej Grenda has won a prominent position in the artistic circles in Poland, especially in the field of drawing and painting. What distinguishes His characteristic works from others at every exhibition is his consistency in making his own way and the original artistic solutions. He aptly realises the principle of restrictions which becomes the right choice in his artwork. He uses a sophisticated drawing technique, and the skillful selection of limited means of expression lets us easily spot his works among others. They function the same way as a signature in a document. Taking advantage of the simplest tool the pencil is – actually lead, he creates images with subtle silvery glow and hardly visible differences in the scale of greys. He draws in such a way that may be observed in some techniques of graphic art. The drawings are characterised by exceptional discipline, and his perfect craftsmanship proves how much he can express. Reading out his works I was fascinated by a chance to identify real elements, by the ability to save a given image in my memory. Due to the interpretation of the theme and the contemporary character of imagery, he forms a message of meanings or, to be precise, the message of content. The drawing message and meanings are hidden under the layer of sublime thoughts and emotions revealed mainly as realistic images. He follows a certain trend which brings him closer to the concrete rather than to abstraction. It seems to me that Andrzej Grenda’s art is an intellectual transformation, brought to the basic elements of the visual language. On the other hand, he searches for roots and he tries to get rid of the burden of reason and logic in favour of imagination and solutions originating from the subconscious. Grenda regards drawing as an autonomous "medium to evoke some emotional conditions as it (drawing) is the most common means of expression human beings use to identify themselves with the world. His drawings have an inner energy – dedicated to the spiritual experience".
The unusual precision and care about each square centimetre of the image plane result in the viewers’ emotional approach. The image perception triggers positive feelings due to the fact that the energy is cumulated. He tells no story, reports no events. Using the form, he lets the viewer know that he is able to overcome his limitations.
A dream to convey the mood of mystery informs the content of the surreal landscapes. He recalls the dream about the non-existing space relations in such a way that they could become recognizable. In his experiments he is concerned with the subject of human curiosity with its intention to gain knowledge about art. Andrzej Grenda worked out his own method which translates the ideas of artistic experience by means of concrete representations. Modest approach to the subject, the visual order achieved by lucidity of particular plans, and simultaneously the unusual charm obtained thanks to the use of contrasts between black and white, light and shade, etc. in other words, all these experiences which help him create the artist’s unique instinct.
In his self-presentation Andrzej Grenda says: "I truly believe that those drawing features (representation of transient, often dreamlike or unreal effects of my own imagination impact) stimulate and influence the viewer’s imagination, and they let me use understatements, ambiguities, etc. In my works I try not to hide the world of my own emotions and reflections from the viewers. On the contrary, trusting in their sensitivity I raise the flat curtain over the multidimensional stage where the spirit of our common human experience strolls".
The thing that motivates the artist is his own search and making his own individual way in the artistic experience.
professor Ryszard Otręba
The presence of fragments of the "real" world in A. Grenda’s drawings seemingly provides the key to decode the SECRET encrypted by the visual code of meanings – however it still remains deeply hidden in the following volatile and polysemic layers.
The message of images is rooted in space beyond time as they are a reflection of fragments of reality set in plans that exist simultaneously and subject to the imperative of creative vision that is imposed by the author’s imagination.
The special ability to shape space and to layer the setting for the narrative according to the following sequences predicted in the script originates to a large extent from the experience Andrzej Grenda gained in his work on film scenography.
The association of artistic creative visions with the shadow theatre, which irresistibly comes to my mind when I face His art is not accidental as it is confirmed by the method of work which relies on the observation and photographic record of shade and light play on planes.
The element that builds the spiritual dimension of the images is light and darkness which form the metaphorical bond between the visible and the hidden, the relation between and the defined and the understated. They are a testimony to duality typical of nature of existence – the duality that can separate and unite the empirical and transcendent reality.
Liryzm i niejednoznaczność obrazów Andrzeja Grendy nakłada się w jego obrazach z przekazem ukrytych znaczeń i fragmentów rzeczywistego świata, którego niekwestionowana obecność wyznacza cienką linię podziału pomiędzy konkretem i abstrakcją.
The power of Andrzej Grenda’s drawings is the intensity of experience, condensation of feelings and moods: in the triptych "I Am Waiting for You After Midnight" the presence of human silhouettes is hardly tangible, and their appearance evokes anxiety and anticipation. On the other hand, the image titled "I Can’t Recall His Face" is a nostalgic burnt trace left by someone missing, reminding us of the famous Shakespearean metaphor of shadow.
My imagination was particularly fired by a drawing from 2012 titled ‘It Is Probably Dawn’ which is a totally abstract work, with no implications of the real world, yet swollen with hidden meanings, vibrating with life of the microcosmos which thoroughly fills the silver space whose homogeneity was disturbed by a rectangle of glowing white.
This minimalist vision of the Universe appeals to me by its peculiar visual beauty, simple form and brilliant sophisticated composition.
The range of means of expression used by the artist in the area of monochromatic works seems to be unlimited: matt and glossy black, silky and smooth with texture of nickel, silver, glowing, transparent grey. They operate on the verge of perception, creating an intriguing value mosaic which attracts attention and mesmerises the viewer.
Andrzej Grenda’s drawing craftsmanship is to a large extent based on the experience in artistic graphic arts with their specific way of gradual layered matrix processing, which similarly requires absolute technological rigour.
The use of liquid graphite pencil, which allows the artist to freely reduce and add fragments of drawing and build permeating plans, reminds us of methods applied in tonal graphic techniques such as aquatint and mezzotint.
Asceticism in the range of means of expression lets us concentrate on the masterly scale of transparent greys, with warm white of Fabriano paper as a point of reference.
Andrzej Grenda worked out his own artistic method of drawing, using in all particulars liquid graphite, pencil, airbrushes and selecting appropriate grounds, as he also draws on grounded canvas attached to the stretchers.
professor Ewa Walawska
I can hardly excel Andrzej at glitter (and flashes of inspiration), stunning sfumato of His drawings, misty smokes and oneiric images
in the indefinite space between a scream and a whisper, between the graphite span of drawn hues, there are at least two virtues – the first relies on the quality of an intention well realised in a work of art and the second – the work’s semantic-lyrical meaning
it is as if my in crudo poems were juxtaposed with − let us say – iconosphere of the Renaissance beauty; coupled with ostentation, or the subtle erudite persuasion next to a rather gloomy dream. On behalf of the text for a moment I will presuppose that we dream in another way yet our way of thinking is similar
I would not like to be an exegete of Andrzej Grenda’s prominent artworks, especially in the situation when my verbalised reflections come together (perhaps a little bit precipitately) with his seemingly silent solemn expression
despite all this I do hope that both of us appreciate the form-creative contrast and not the fruitless likeness
juxtaposed next to each other – quite a trivial everyday word and a transient veil of the masterly drawing – these two things have a certain (perhaps metaphysical) chance to create the metaphorical shade and light effect
would not like to succumb to an easy illusion that under the subtle and fine surface of this dreamy theatrum there are no time-consuming, arduous and mysterious techniques and craftsmanship
abandoning the alla prima procedure characteristic of drawing on behalf of various ways of layering, strengthening and weakening, creates a multilevel structure which is not only material but it also reminds us of the backstage arrangement based on the effect of hierarchic perspective called the aspect perspective
illusion and the concrete – it is another factor that makes Andrzej Grenda’s drawings unique
mimetic imagery is a imitatio naturae method often embodied in the foreground figures and in this way hierarchizing semantic and space relations, which later on turns into airy contexts more difficult to be identified
both verbal structures and a variety of visual configurations might be a source of metaphors
which of them – the former or the latter might be capable of conveying sense into spaces which are not subject to empirical experience – that is a hermeneutic question concerning the opportunity to transcend to another reality – for me that question has not been definitely settled
it seems to me, however, that Andrzej Grenda’s narrative works have the features of transgression placing them beyond the area of common obviousness, contrary to a kind of literary character of my language
professor Andrzej Bartczak
where was I
what was I doing
in my dream
or was I offended
with those who remember
I passed into oblivion
was I nostalgic
professor Andrzej Bartczak
a scream on the bridge
is less scary
a woman’s open mouth
in the thicket
global and homely
images too sinister
to fall asleep
professor Andrzej Bartczak
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