It’s not my story!

Looking at the prints referring to selected Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales made by Günter Grass, we delve into their content to read between the lines in search for hidden meanings, alluding to the uncontrolled subconsciousness, at the bottom of which, underneath safe images and stories, lurk fears, cruelties, black magic. More often than not, fairytales only appear to present a beautiful dreamlike world, which in reality – including the fairytale reality – is full of dark and painful nooks. Much like the human psyche developing from early childhood until late old age. What is the real story behind the fairytales which our parents, grandparents and other relatives used to read us before we fell asleep? Do they let us dream beautiful dreams instead of nightmares? Do they elevate us by presenting the beautiful and the good? Or perhaps they constitute a mirror image of human nature’s primary instincts? 

Biographical notes:

Günter Wilhelm Grass (born in 1927 in Gdansk) - a German sculptor and graphic designer best known for his writings, which brought him a Nobel Prize in literature in 1999. He holds the title Honoris Causa of the University of Gdansk (for his outstanding literary work and his contribution to the Polish-German reconciliation process) and of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan. He is a Citizen of Honour of Gdansk. He is the author of the prints to Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales, which were the inspiration for the exhibition “It’s not my story!”

Jan Švankmajer (born in 1934 w Prague) – a Czech sculptor, poet, essayist, film director, one of the most acknowledged creators of the stop motion animation. He inspired such artists as: Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam, or the Quay brothers.

Katarzyna Kozyra (born in 1963 w Warsaw) – a sculptor, performer, author of installations and videos. The leading representative of the critical art movement. Studied at the Sculpture Faculty of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, under prof. Grzegorz Kowalski.

Katarzyna Swinarska (born in Gdańsk) – a painter. Studied at the Painting Faculty of the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk, under prof. Kiejstut Bereźnicki. In 2014 she acquired a PhD in fine arts at the same Academy, under prof. Henryk Cześnik.

Agata Nowosielska (born in 1982 in Gdynia) – a painter, curator, art critic. Studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk under prof. Teresa Miszkin and Jarosław Bau. Graduated from the Hochschule für Künste Bremen Klasse Yuji Takeoka and Postgraduate Curatorial Studies at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow.

Martyna Jastrzębska (born in 1987 in Kielce) – an intermedia artist and a graduate of The Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk (Interdisciplinary Workshop of prof. Grzegorz Klaman). Since 2012 she has been working with “bitumix” which constitutes her signature technique utilising a variety of mixtures of glues and bitumen. This material has become the means of expression for the artist’s interests – focused around imitating organic and ambiguous matter.

Dorota Walentynowicz (born in 1977 in Gdańsk) - graduate of the University of Gdańsk (2001), University of Arts in Poznań (2005) and the Royal Academy of Arts in the Hague (2007). In her artistic work, she relies on photography which she combines with other media: sound, performance, video and installation.

Yaşam Saşmazer (born in 1980 in Istanbul) – a sculptor, graduated from the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Sculpture Department in Istanbul. Lives and works in Istanbul. The author of realistic wooden and bronze sculptures depicting children whose gestures and behaviour derive from the world of fairytales. Hersculptures deal with the “dark side” of the subconscious. Her children are no “little angels”, but rather insecure and distrustful and, like all people, they have a certain aggressive potential.

Hildegard Skowasch (born in 1958 in Essen) – a sculptor, graduated from the Kunstakademie Münster, Studium der Romanistik an der Westf. Wilhelms Universität, Münster (1978-87), École Supérieure der Arts Plastiques, Tourcoing in France (1982-83), member of Künstlerhaus Dortmund. Lives and works in Berlin since 1998. She is the author of objects and installations, created with her own techniques, such as papier-mâché.

Maciej Rauch (born in 1988 in Jarosław) – a graduate from the Faculty of Graphic Design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk. A graphic designer, painter, illustrator, author of objects, installations and videos. Participated in numerous competitions and exhibitions.