Comic - illusion - reality
Fresh, powerful, sophisticated and sensually complex, these are words which can describe the large-scale oil paintings at the first encounter. Majewska combines excerpts of comic scenes, photo-realistic elements with parts of sketches and paintings extracted from passed periods. That in fact contrary elements interfere with each other does not distract the impression that the individual scenes result in an authentic dialogue and thus is mediated as an appropriate whole. The artist developes his own pictorial language, which goes far beyond the „easy reading“ of a comic book.
The comic book uses a visual language that is characterised by onomatopoeia and a special usage of colour and graphical icons. Unlike in other genres, text-, speech- and thought bubbles belong to a regular repertoire, they complement the images and give them their definite content. It may be that at the sight of these pictures one intuitively thinks of Lichtenstein‘s comic strips of the 1960s, but actually Majewska‘s work distances itself from these. It does not involve a certain criticsm (e.g. the consumer- or industrial society), which emerges from the artist, but more a wide range of links, which should lead to an independent adaption and a critical attitude of the viewer. According to this, non-pop-art picture elements have been added in order to interact with the figures of the comic scenes.
In „Feuerspucker“ (fire-eater) two male surfers in black/white face of a number of aggressive, fire-spitting monsters in a stereotypical comic manner. But despite of the threatening situation the surfers don‘t seem very impressed. The slight, but unmistakable homoerotic connotation of the two surfers could be readily seen as the cause of the „fight“. The debate about the right notion of masculinity is only one issue with which the image deals with current affairs.
In the diptych „Rüsselsauger“ (trunk sucker) a young woman is positioned, also in black/white display, amidst of the main characters of the children‘s TV series Spongebob Squarepants: Spongebob and Patrick. They appear as oversized and richly coloured creatures whose outer shape reflects their inner state. Their unbridled appetite is reflected in an immoderate binge without regarding any proper behaviour. The corresponding onomatopoeia SLURP and GLURPunfold the effect of being an unnecessary addition, because facial expressions and gestures do not require any further clarification.
Here a well-known phenomenon is shown: the simultaneous management of everyday life with regard to technical oversupply. During householding TV is used to maintain mental presence and while listening to music from the radio one is reading a magazine or a book. The fact that many things are done at once but nothing actually with an absolute devotion leads to a practiced superficiality, which again is suitably visualized by the Spongebob characters. The figures do not contain any depth, plasticity or modulation and colour fields are delimited by contours and defined as individual parts put together. It creates an image that is as quickly to absorb as its production. This image is thwarted by the first image plane showing photo-realistic anatomical studies of plants, on which the Spongebob comic seems to hover as a second image. It is inevitable that the process of painting an illusionistic motif affords much more attention and time just like the creation of an artwork. The artwork in this sense serves as a mean of compensation and, in addition to medial overrun, provides a counterweight for concentrated content and spiritual immersion.
Between High Life and down to earth
Of course the compositions are conscious constructions of the artist where associations of the glamorous, ecstatic life meet sober-objective elements (botanical studies).
So to see in „LSD“. There is a picture-in-picture situation, with the second image plane as a translucent foil laid over the first plane. It shows the image of a single comic scene with a closeup of a young couple, commented with: I must be dreaming, maybe someone slipped me a dose of LSD. The man has probably just met the woman of his dreams and is obviously flattered by her caresses. As a key scene in a story, its end can be easily divined according to the plot of a cheesy b-movie, in which predictability is used programmatically. Here the paradox arises in the form of a yawning gap between the flatness of a comic scene and its integration into a work of art that wants to prevent exactly this, and therefor brings up profound realities.
This confrontation also includes single substantive references to Pop Art. The banal and trivial in the given culture and in life was captured and expressed differently. However, Pop Art often dealt with concrete objects which were reminiscent of posters or other advertising media. Therein lies the decisive difference between the Majewska‘s images as he promptly negates the banal by outweighing his „advertising figures“ who relate to other pictorial elements of different kinds.
Scripture as an image enhancement
At this point the written elements in Majewska‘s artworks should be only introduced shortly because scripture as part of the image is represented in many contemporary works, which means that the subject always needs to be contextualised. One should be reminded of the meaning of scripture in the works of Cy Twobly, Basquiat or Ralph Ueltzhoeffer and is aware of their complexity which can be only understood within detailed treatises.
Majewska‘s scriptures are characteristic for being placed in the primarily image plane in a central or another prominent position. Due to this constellation, the scripture seems to function as a headline but it is not apparent how the images relates to it.
In „Nachtisch“ (dessert) the scripture Zum Nachtisch nur das Beste (only the best for dessert) covers the image of a horse, which rears up and throws back his head as if it was instantly shocked by something. In contrast to this, the right half of the picture indicates a table with two bowls referring to the container of the dessert. Although the writing is not clearly linked to the action depicted, the viewer, however, feels an indefinable tension between the dramatic posture of the horse and the incidental and irrelevant remark, causing an unsettling, if not even funny moment.
In „Affengeiles Dreirad“ (wicked tricycle), the title equals the scripture. Here Majewska pictures a woman who looks after a humanised monkey on a tricycle. That the writing is positioned on the height of the woman‘s head implies that she is the one commenting on the vehicle. The only surprising thing about it is that it is not the luxury sports car, after which she calls. This slightly provocative illogic is able to lead to further lines of thoughts, which each viewer develops individually. It is shown that scripture condenses the image content so that the recipient is capable of linking even more associations to his environment.