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
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