‘Always a Fragment: Recycling’ – the title of Grażyna Brylewska’s exhibition – is borrowed from a book of poems by Tadeusz Różewicz. The fragmentary nature of everything is a truth sensed and experienced by each of us. It shows itself pervasively as the structure of the worlds.
The dominant components of Grażyna Brylewska’s sewn collages are paper and thread, binding together reflection. The reflection is made up of images: fragments of photographs, printouts, newspapers, school notebooks, and even miniatures painstakingly woven by the artist in her distant past. Invoking images with her stream of consciousness, Brylewska operates in a manner similar to that of human memory, but the construction of such reflection could also be based on breaking up the image as a whole. Thus, the laborious reconstruction of the whole may at the same time be a way of showing a disintegrated world.
Here, everything is a fragment and everything is memory. The paper is the memory of the plants from which it was made; the line the memory of the thread which it was before it became a drawing; the drawing the memory of the events invoked by the images; the images the memory of the things that they used to be. All of them were something in the past, only to become something else in a creative recycling process – just like the very ground from which everything grows.
The works, once complete objects and now used as fragments, take on another meaning. They become a representation, an artistic creation, a commentary on everything that we ourselves spin around and that spins together with us.
She studied at the Faculty of Painting, Graphic Arts and Sculpture at the College of Plastic Arts (now University of Arts) in Poznań, graduating in 1973 with a diploma in painting (textile annexe) with honours. In 1979–1980, on recommendation from Professor Magdalena Abakanowicz, she studied at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna on Herder Prize scholarship.
In addition to over a dozen solo shows, she has taken part in more than 250 collective exhibitions. Some of the accolades she has received for her work include the Grand Prix at the ConsumentART in Nürnberg (1993) and the Third (2003) and two Second (2006, 2012) Prizes during the International Book Art Festival in Warsaw.
Her works are included in the collections of the Central Museum of Textiles and the PATIO Art Centre in Łódź, the District Museum in Gorzów Wielkopolski, the Museum of Papermaking in Duszniki Zdrój, the Bureau for Art Exhibitions (SBWA) in Warsaw, the Savaria Museum in Szombathely, Hungary, the Collection of the City of Rauma, Finland, the Cook Collection in Chicago, and the Musée Jean-Lurçat et de la tapisserie contemporaine in Angers, France.
Brylewska has been an active curator, working on a number of projects with Nürnberg’s Galerie in Zabo and the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology in Kraków.
She is also a professor at the Faculty of Art at the Pedagogical University of Cracow.