Bestiary is a literary genre, popularized in medieval times. It is a collection of descriptions of both real and mythological animals, in which the animals’ appearance and behavior are described. A hedgehog is for example described as climbing into bushes full of fruit or grapes, shaking the branches so the fruit falls down. The hedgehog will then use its spikes to collect the fruit on the ground and take it home.
Such descriptions are most likely not the result of actual observations, but rather an imaginative way of connecting dots. Jagoda Bednarsky’s exhibition BLUEBERRY BESTIARY might also lead its spectators to connect dots in a fanciful way.
Bednarsky’s paintings often have douche and pastel-colored backgrounds. In front of these float abstract figures together with recognizable items. Here is popcorn, a breast, drips, and gloved cartoon hands. In one painting the face of a rooster merges with a flower, but in the other works the figures seem to float around on their own. Some of the depicted items have meaning within a pictural tradition. The hands might be cartoonish, but in the gestures, they preform we recognize meaning. The breast seen in one painting can symbolize femininity, motherhood or be understood as a sexual laden symbol, when seen in an art historical context. Other items in the paintings, such as popcorn, have less historical meaning within art, but might reference pop art or simply hot air.
In the exhibition is also included a series of book paintings. The paintings take on the shape of large books, which though can only be read from the outside. The titles do remind you of book titles, but only vaguely. One is called Volume II but offers no explanation of what series it is part of. On some of the books the artist’s name is written and doubles as both a signature and name of a fictional writer. The artist is also present in the exhibition title, as Jagoda is Polish for blueberry. Image and name double and interchange.
To form a kind of narrative out of these images and their play on meaning is an endeavor most beholders will unconsciously take on. This will prove itself to be difficult, at least if one is not ready to explore one’s personal way of connecting dots.
Jagoda Bednarsky (b. 1988, Zlotoryja, Poland) is educated from Kunsthochschule Kassel and HfBK Städelschule in Frankfurt. She today lives and works in Berlin. Her work was included in the large survey exhibition JETZT! Neue Malerei in Deutschland shown at various German museums such as Deichtorhallen in Hamburg, Kunstmuseum Bonn, and Museum Wiesbaden. Her work is included in collections such as Deutsche Bundesbank, European Central Bank and The National Museum in Gdánsk, Poland.
1260 København K