Seventh edition to the "Who's Next?" Initiative is
MARTA LUIZA BURDZY
Born in Wroclaw, Poland, into a family of an architect and a literary critic.
Marta grew up in Toronto, Canada where she attended the atelier of artist Sadko Hadzihasanovicz.
After returning to Europe, she continued studying in Poland and Paris, learning different painting techniques ranging from watercolours and oil to pastels. and most recently, during her stay in China – traditional Chinese painting.
Besides pursuing an artistic career, she was a model and an art teacher. She is fluent in English, French, Polish and Italian, and studied Latin, Mandarin and Japanese. Always in the search of quality products, one of her newest passion is champagne.
Faithful to her Western cultural heritage, through the universal language of art, she is bridging the West and the East to create a new and unique value.
Geneyclee Gallery had the pleasure of interviewing the multi-talented Marta Luiza Burdzy whilst she is currently in Japan.
Q. Tell us about yourself and how your art career ended up in Japan and Asia?
A. Being an artist is not really something you choose. It’s a strong vocation, a sort of magnetism that pushes you towards creation, also a mission and a challenge. Since I can remember, I always knew I would be an artist. Actually in a child’s imagination, having an artistic talent equals with being an artist . It’s the grown up reality that forces us to abandon our idealistic worlds and turn towards more practical aspects of life. But somehow even in our ultra rational world, the “artist” surpasses any logical definition of a profession and still we cannot imagine humanity, civilization without art. And here also we can see the enormous responsibility of artists to serve the world with their talents.
So for me, listening to my artistic vocation was natural, but it is the experiences that life gives us, that forms and crystallizes our art. I am lucky to have a rich background of different cultures: I was born in Poland, grew up in Canada, studied across Europe and for the last six years, I’ve been living in Hong Kong and Tokyo. Paradoxically this constant odyssey didn’t result in a loss of identity. It definitely influenced my creative process, but having a European mindset and strong sense of belonging to European heritage allows me do be faithful to certain core values and build up my experiences on that fundamental base. My father is an architect, therefore drawing, art and the appreciation for the aesthetic was always present in my home; my mother is a literary critic, librarian and above all a big promoter of French culture, a fact which I believe led me towards my strong connections with France.
Life is full of surprises, so when I was finishing my studies in Paris, I thought I would stay in France, but apparently destiny decided otherwise, because that same year I followed my mother to Hong Kong and three years later I’m in Tokyo, Japan. Here I fully bloomed as an artist, making art the center of my life along with champagne, events, fine dining and appreciating the finer things in life, what the French call “art de vivre “ because I believe that life is art!
Q. What is the story behind your work? What is it that you’re trying to express?
A. Dostoyevsky wrote : “beauty will save the world” . I am always faithful to this centuries old purpose of art: to bring beauty to the world. When I first moved to Japan, the culture of the cherry blossom was so strong, I immediately had the desire to express my appreciation and wonder of beauty in painting numerous flowers: I studied the different stages, from the blossom buds to the fading petals, finding almost abstract beauty in the perfection of texture, lines and color. This was an almost purely aesthetic experience. An ode to beauty. The latest series of paintings I created was by far my most mature in terms of style, expression and reflection is actually a theme that was echoing throughout my whole life. At the age of 26 I can see my life at a certain perspective already.
What formed me, what influences me now, my dreams and deceptions, happiness and melancholy, my independence and strength contrasted with a deep need for caring and love. My paintings of women in oil technique are a sort of synthetic auto portrait, a self reflection. My idea was to create a certain model - type of woman, that would communicate with the world.
The model/type I depicted is a “Femme Enfant “ (French woman child). In my art I’ve tried to create a personal hermetic language that can directly relate to my state, my experiences, dreams, hopes and disillusions. The Femme Enfant is naturally idealistic. Her world consisting of perfect beauty and love but while she grows up, she constantly faces disappointment which finally leads her to dissociation with the world that surrounds her and the creation of her own private world which is equally real as the mirror’s reflection. Because of her experiences, her new world isn’t as pure and good as the one from her childhood imagery. In order to function the Femme Enfant has to put on masks and use coping strategies turning her sometimes into a Femme Fatale. The paradox of the Femme Enfant lies in her dichotomy: she is grown up so she has to perform grownup activities, she even takes pride in being viewed as “strong” but in the depth of her heart she is longing for unconditional care. The consciousness of this fact leads to her passive force of withdrawal in her hieratic pose which will always be a visible reminder of her power and worth.
Q. Do you think Asia has influenced your artwork? If yes, how so and in what ways?
A. Actually, my beginnings in Asia proved to be hard and I went through the toughest challenge in my life : finding my place. After many ups and downs and after suffering a major crisis in my artistic life, I found pleasure again in learning traditional Chinese ink painting. This fact influenced my artistic style: ink painting allows me to create bold and aesthetic paintings with a flare of non finito. Coming to Japan enhanced my feeling for strong contour, simplified shapes, ukiyo-e inspired colors and decentralized composition. The frozen in time and space figures bring to mind kokeshi dolls.
Q. Tell us about your creative process behind a painting of yours.
A. I am lucky to say that in this artistic faze of my life I am constantly inspired and painting has become almost as essential to me as breathing. I try to treat my life as art itself, therefore surrounding myself with beauty and meaningful experiences feeds my artwork. Ever since I was a young girl, I collected Vogue magazines. Until now I have a substantial collection of them from all over the world. Fashion and photography have always been important factors shaping my aesthetic sensitivity. Another major factor of inspiration is travel - more precisely traveling in Europe, especially the Côte d’Azur and Italy. Going to those places is like reconnecting with my core. I rewind those moments to feel color which I treat in a nearly fauvist manner.
Finally the act of painting is performed like a ritual with the following components: plenty of horizontal space that allows me to look at my painting and tools holistically and from a perspective, light ideally natural - I have big windows in my atelier - or warm and concentrated when I work at night, I love to listen to my favorite French radio “Nostalgie”, which always reminds me of driving in France and the golden age of Europe, finally I enjoy having champagne while painting- this allows my expression to crystallize more naturally from mind to canvas. The process of painting itself comes out very naturally. Once the idea is born in my imagination, I am almost always able to create the major part during one session, usually without preparation drawings and I don’t like to leave the canvas until the painting is substantially finished. Thanks to this dynamic act of painting in the technique of alla prima I gain an extra meaning : concrete and seemingly unconcealed effects of work capture now and eternity.
Q. You’ve worked as a model and high and champagne event organiser, what do you value most about that experience?
A. Almost every little girl dreams of being a princess and I am no exemption to this. But not to make this statement too naive- I want to point out an ancient concept from Platonic philosophy “kalokagathia” which means beauty and goodness understood as one. Actually the whole Mediterranean and Western civilization is based on the understanding that beauty means goodness. We can see it even in fairytales in it’s trivialized version - the good princess is always beautiful, while the bad personality has ugly features. I’m saying this not to categorize, but to highlight how once values were set black and white, while today we have more and more of grayish tones, causing the devaluation of our lives. I don’t want to seem like a mythomaniac (although I still think myths are good teachers of life), but I feel I should keep fighting for meaning in life and not allow mediocrity to rule out true beauty and quality. Everything that I do serves this cause. Indeed I was a model, but only agreeing to productions I felt were equal with my values. My story with champagne is very special. Champagne is the king of wines and is produced with such care and artfulness (the process of production is actually the most elaborate amongst alcohols). I was lucky to observe this art close up and I wished to share this quality product with others. Organizing high end events with champagne opened new possibilities for me: my guests began to be my clients for art and I was lucky to find a community of people who appreciate beauty, elegance, refinement and grace - elements I wish to represent in my art and as a person as well.
Q. Tell us the events and projects you have going on or happening in the future so we can keep up to date!
A. In December this year- a special month for me due to my birthday- I am holding a solo exhibition in Tokyo: “Luiza’s Mirror” . It is a very personal auto-reflective exhibition. My love and promotion of champagne has been rewarded with the fact that champagne “maisons” began to see me and my art as a value for their own image. Thanks to this association, I will have a collaboration event with champagne Duval Leroy held in Grand Hyatt Tokyo called “Woman’s Experience” - because it targets women who appreciate beauty and quality. After champagne I went further towards my affiliation with the luxury world, therefore having planned numerous collaborations, amongst others with Chopard and Christofle. I have vast connections with elite organizations working across Europe and Japan. In February 2019 I will be presented at the great gala of Amities sans Fontieres in Tokyo with a painting donation. This event will have ambassadors and royalties as participants. Finally, I have been appointed as the official artist and only woman participant of the Peace Rally in 2020. The first time in history the distance between Monaco and Japan will be made by antic classic cars. We will arrive for the Olympics in Tokyo and I will crown this journey with an exhibition.
It was Geneyclee Gallery's pleasure interviewing Marta.
Do make sure you follow her journey by following her on social media
Next Who's Next? article - 22nd November 2018.