Agata Kus

born 1987

Agata Kus has graduated with a PhD from the Faculty of Painting of the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. Apart from painting, she also produces videos, drawings, and ceramics. As if they were photographic frames, her figurative and narrative paintings document the everyday life of young people. She is particularly interested in women: their relationships with others, their attitude towards themselves and the process of construction of their own identity. We see them partying, picnicking, travelling, or relaxing together. Kus paints some details with photorealistic accuracy — she pays particular attention to the texture of clothes, hair or skin, while leaving other elements unfinished or even unpainted. Sometimes, she destroys her paintings, for example by burning cigarette holes in them. At other times, she imitates the collage technique: the compositions contain several, sometimes permeating, planes. One of the recurring motifs in her work is duplication and repetition, identity embodied in the images of twins or doppelgängers. The artist emphasizes this unsettling/uncanny duality by employing the effect of mirror reflection: the characters repeat the same gestures and take analogous poses; sometimes they share bodily parts. Their extreme closeness, bordering on unity, reflects the character of interpersonal relationship that interest Kus the most. The painting entitled ‘Tainted Love’ depicts a seemingly innocent display of tenderness between a couple relaxing in a park. Their hands, however, turn out to be elements disturbing the peaceful scene: the man’s hand embraces the woman's neck, while hers is resting on her lover's hand. It is unclear whether this is a gentle gesture, or rather defence against his overly strong, painful grip. Are we looking at tenderness or violence here?

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