Dorota Jurczak “Johanna” at Künstlerhaus Stuttgart
They were two superior eels at the bottom of the tank and they recognized each other like italics1
The characters that populate Dorota Jurczak’s image world, human and non-human, share a mood that is at once candid and secretive. And this mood can also manifest as uneasiness. This is an exhibition of newly conceived etchings and bronze reliefs departing from the Künstlerhaus’ workshops, staged as an installation in the round.
Two central characters in the exhibition are the thin outlines of a young boy and girl, each standing by, and holding on to the doorknob of a half-opened, or closed, door. These human-size bronze reliefs are caught in the gauche threshold between waiting and entering. The characters do not see each other – their eyes are missing, although the delicately made doorknobs stare right back. There is a tension there between the desire to communicate and the desire to hide, which carries through in these sculptures but also in the figurations of the etchings. There is no single space within and between these works in which the essence as such resides, and instead an understanding is established; character is given with equal care to a bird, a breast, and the thin, long-handed boy and girl. Jurczak’s figuration suggests how much, or how very little, is needed for the spirit and idiosyncrasies of a being to be conjured up.
“Johanna” becomes the cipher or container of a potential character, or stand in for such, but also loops back to the name of a Künstlerhaus workshop manager with the same name. Johanna, this Johanna, is a meditation both on the fictional possibility and melody of a name, whilst carrying with it the reminder of the physical and collective process which enabled the characters to be made in the first place.
 Anne Carson, Autobiography of Red, 1998
at Künstlerhaus Stuttgart
until 16 April 2017