Allure of mystery

Updated: 2011-08-05 11:01

By Liu Xiaozhuo (China Daily European Weekly)

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Allure of mystery
Ogorzelec has been living with a colony of international artists in China. Photos by Liu Xiaozhuo / China Daily

As the oldest of the group, Ogorzelec pays the hosting role of a matriarch and her guests sit around her like a family. They talk and joke with one another, even though none of them can perfectly speak a common language.

"I cannot speak Chinese and it so difficult to learn. However, we understand each other and it is a kind of different communication from languages," Ogorzelec says.

When she first arrived the Shangyuan Art Museum held a special welcoming party in which artists from China, Japan and Italy presented their projects.

"Though we speak different languages, we understand each other's artistic ideas. I know what their artistic projects are about and they understand me. I really feel at home here," says Ogorzelec, who can speak Polish, French and English.

Ogorzelec was born in Poland and graduated from the Fine Arts Academy in Wroclaw, in the southwest of the country with a master's degree from the sculpture department at Leon Podsiadly studio.

In the mid 1980s, she attended the School of Fine Arts in Paris. Today she lives and works in Paris, but constantly travels to other countries to show off her new works.

Due in part to critical acclaim she received from Michael Brenson's 1991 review in The New York Times, her work was increasingly well received internationally and has been exhibited in the United States, Lebanon, Britain, Sweden, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Greece.

Creating art has been a consuming passion for the Polish woman, who says she never married because she has spent so much of her life married to her art.

"When immersed in something that attracts you, you will not feel lonely," she says.

During the past 25 years she has been pulling her "creative lines" across the world, where she captures and entangles her audiences through her ongoing "space crystallization" project, a concept she conceived as a student in Paris.

Her latest project installed at the Shangyuan Art Museum continues the theme.

Using white plastic strips, she has made a big, beautiful and mysterious nest-like creation outside her house. The surrounding green plants act as a background for the white lines, which blend perfectly with the environment.

Ogorzelec is assisted by the Chinese artists living around her to finish her works.

She likes her new Chinese friends very much and thinks they know what they do and understand what they see. "They have a solid education background and are more involved in real art, which I admire very much," she says.

To be living with so many Chinese artists, Ogorzelec has been exposed to many interesting new ideas. Instead of only focusing on her own project, she has been helping Chinese artists with their programs. For example, Ogorzelec takes charge of the costume designs for Shi Xiaojuan's dance performance, and did not care for buying clothes in the shopping mall.

"Though not a professional clothes designer, I often make clothes by my own," she says.

Ogorzelec says international art communities are a blessing, something that spurs creativity. "The feeling is very cordial and I like to be with people who can understand each other," she says.

Shangyuan Art Museum organizers say more and more foreign artists are coming to China and it holds exchange programs with European countries, such as Italy and France.

Chinese artists living in the compound especially appreciate the influence. "We welcome foreign artists to come and live here," Shi Xiaojuan says.

"They are excellent artists with original ideas and creativity. Young Chinese artists can learn a lot from them. Those foreign artists' life experience always give Chinese artists inspiration."

To foreign artists, it is a good opportunity to know what is really happening in China's artistic field. "Being close to people who are different is good for me. My Chinese friends' art and activity are different to mine. I admire their creativity and originality."

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