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Luka Woźniczko solo exhibition

September 19, 2023

Acting from Afar - The Figure of Hekate in Luka Woźniczko's Art

​Satiated by the shadowy spirits that move stealthily, Reveling in deer, huntress, sovereign of the night, guardian of hounds, She who possesses all the keys of the universe, You, the one who roams the mountains.
Excerpts from an Orphic hymn to Hekate, 2nd-3rd century A.D

Sweeping brush strokes conjure a nebulous layer. On the canvas, a play of light and shadow hints at the lurking presence of the underworld goddess, Hekate. From the painting's backdrop, which often evokes nocturnal landscapes or twilight, animal forms emerge.

In Luka’s artworks, colors transition abruptly, shifting from a dreamy state to stark revelation. Muted browns, grays, and deep blues make way for vivid bursts of yellows and pinks. The compositions defy predictability, brimming with optical illusions. For instance, in her 2013 painting, "Magic Swamp" a woman’s face suddenly materializes from the portrayal of a laughing devil and a nude female figure. In other works, like "Sleeping Lips"(2014) and "Lend Me Your Eye" (2013), elements of interior décor or fragments of human bodies seem trapped in a dream-like state or perhaps an ecstatic trance. This is evident in the painting "For the Ram" (2012), where two imposing elephants engage in a distant, romantic embrace. The paint’s texture evokes the feeling of peering through clouded waters, as seen in "Pra Para" (2020) and "Neophyte's Encounter" (2014).

In Greek, Hekate signifies Acting from Afar. Hesiod’s Theogony introduces her as a pre-
Olympian deity hailing from Asia Minor. Predominantly revered in the Orphic tradition, she is the offspring of Asteria and Perseus, from the lineage of the Titans, remaining autonomous from Zeus' dominion. She is often depicted wielding a torch, sword, serpent, whip, and key. Originally perceived as a deity benevolent to humans, Hekate transcended simplistic binaries of darkness and light. However, her spheres of influence diverged between day and night. As the matron of magic and witchcraft, the guardian and sovereign of spirits, she was frequently portrayed as Tergemina, symbolizing a woman's three life phases. Each phase metamorphoses into one of the three goddesses: Artemis, the huntress on earth; Selene, the moon goddess in the sky; and Hekate in the underworld. She epitomizes a deity that bridges diverse realms and dimensions. In later periods, she was represented as Enodia, the deity of crossroads or Trioditis, indicative of her veneration at road junctions, traditionally associated with magical rites.

In contemplating Luka Woźniczko’s oeuvre, one discerns echoes of ancient tenets, reminiscent of Lucy Irigaray's philosophy. Irigaray opined that confining myths to the mere verbal essence – the logos – dilutes their profundity. Luka's paintings can be seen as visual dialogues resonating with Irigaray's feminist propositions. Luka seems engrossed in a self-conversation, sidestepping prevailing trends and conventions. Woźniczko’s artistry both engages with and parodies stereotypes. It’s theatrical, with the potency to subvert the ramifications of phallocentric narratives. She's forged a distinctive, somewhat satirical, painterly lexicon that sidesteps conventional accountability. Her work finds an echo in Hélène Cixous’s The Laugh of the Medusa. As Cixous elucidates, “In women’s speech, as in their writing, that element which never stops resonating, which, once we’ve been permeated by it, profoundly and imperceptibly touched by it, retains the power of moving us [...].” 1

In Woźniczko’s 2020 work "Flow", the medusa morphs into a cosmic entity, reminiscent of a planet within the vast universe, its gaze captured in large eyes. It brings to mind the visageof a suffragette, imbued with dual potency – akin to the sun or moon – a celestial, hairy orb.

Prof. Hochma Dziwisz, 2024, Rabka Zdrój.

1 Hélène Cixous, “The Laugh of the Medusa”, trans. by Keith Cohen and Paula Cohen, Signs, Vol. 1, No. 4 (Summer, 1976), 881.

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