Agata Derda - Printmaker / Visual Artist
My art practice continues to focus on evidence of self-inflicted social misery and the dark side of the human condition. In my pieces, I explore themes of the tradition for self-inflicted destruction and issues surrounding the human tendency towards egocentrism and the subjugation of everyone and everything that is vulnerable.
More specifically, central topics are social injustice and, resulting from it, a broad spectrum of social and cultural deprivations and rape culture and normalization of violence.
My works represent post-apocalyptic versions of a human world in which I see remains of a modern civilization whose ‘glory’ days are past. Every structure present in my work appears as humanmade or carries signs of human intervention (cuts, rope ties, etc.), which signify a human presence in the work, even though it is unseen.
In my current works, the structures or disfigured vegetation are a metaphor or caricature of a modern humanoid forever lost in search of its own importance.
Most of my work contains photographic elements. The documentary aspect of photography helps to objectify an image. After all, it suggests evidence of something that existed in real space and was recorded through the objective aperture of a camera lens in real-time. However, the hand-made graphic marks of a linocut contain visual semantics of altered or abstracted reality and therefore infer the subjective and personal. Combining these two techniques creates a unique type of space that may be inhabited by the viewers’ imagination, thereby facilitating a completely original experience.
I was born and grew up in Poland, a country with a difficult history, especially through World War 2 and Communism. These factors caused an introverted society full of suspicion and prejudice. Alongside my country’s history, private experiences have taught me that cruelty, and therefore fear and anxiety, are incredibly formative aspects of humanity. Although much of my work has a dark emotional tone, I attempt to communicate and connect with my viewer through personal experience and observation regarding my own life and place in the world. My main objective as an artist is to eliminate the gap between myself and my audience. I want my work to study an individual’s struggle to find a sense of self through reflection on one’s relationship with the surrounding reality.