Katarzyna Modrzejewska (born 1970) has been working with ceramics for over fifteen years. The vases, lamps and jewellery pieces she creates bear witness to her deep familiarity with the material she works with and showcase her highly diversified aesthetic approach.
Modrzejewska is deeply immersed in the Warsaw ceramic arts milieu. This city plays an important role in her work: she was born and educated in the Polish capital, graduating from the Ceramics Department of the A. Frycz-Modrzewski Visual Arts Academy in Warsaw (Policealne Studium Plastyczne im. A. Frycza-Modrzewskiego w Warszawie). She continued her studies at the Stanisław Tworzydło Center for Decorative Arts and Crafts (Ośrodek Sztuki Dekoracyjnej i Użytkowej St. Tworzydły). More importantly, however, in 1994 she joined KERAMOS (the International Association of Ceramics Artists), a pivotal group whose history dates back to 1974 and is deeply rooted in a very specific place: their atelier at 29 Krasiński Street in Warsaw. Modrzejewska became a member of this organization in 1994 and stresses this bond as a formative part of her artistic career. From 1999 till 2008 her work was included in the KERAMOS Biennial exhibition.
Modrzejewska’s portfolio is characterized by a striking diversity, making her work difficult to pigeonhole. The artist creates mugs decorated with colourful elements which subtly evoke floral shapes. At the hands of Modrzejewska they gain an almost abstract and ephemeral quality, only faintly suggesting their sources of inspiration. On the other side of the spectrum lie some of her other dishes, such as her bowls. Here she applies geometric ornamentation, most frequently featuring spirals; she makes her patterns interact with the shape of the dish, adding a sense of movement to it. When it comes to vases, Modrzejewska allows colour to act as ornament. The poetic encounters of different shades and intensities, combined with cracks and dots, seem to replicate the patterns of earth and clay. This quality to her work was examined in the recent exhibition Materia Prima. The curators juxtaposed Modrzejewska’s ceramic objects with air photographs by Kacper Kowalski; the combination of turquoise dishes and patterns created by nature seen from up high further emphasizes the "earthy" dimension of Modrzejewska’s work. The artist comments:
I think ceramics is probably the technique which is the closest to nature, it is the result of bringing together all the elements — earth, water, air and fire. Our participation in this process is fascinating, as is our ability — and sometimes our inability — to influence it.
Modrzejewska splits her time between her artistic career and her role as a teacher. In cooperation with the Tęcza (Rainbow) association, she leads workshops in ceramics for blind and visually impaired children.
Author: Agata Morka, September 2013
2013 — Materia Prima, Munkeruphus, Dronningmølle, Denmark
2012 — Przed czasem (Before time), ZPAP, Warsaw.
2010 — 9th KERAMOS Association International Ceramics Biennial Znak (Sign), ZPAP, Warsaw.
2009-2010 — 1st International Biennial of Decorative Art, Kiszyniow, Moldavia
2008 — 8th KERAMOS Association International Ceramics Biennial Wiatr (Wind), ZPAP, Warsaw.
2005 — 7th KERAMOS Association International Ceramics Biennial Woda (Water), Institute of Industrial Design, Warsaw.
2005 — Ceramika Stowarzyszenia KERAMOS (Keramos Association Ceramics), Orangery, Radzyń Podlaski, Poland
2003 — 6th KERAMOS Association International Ceramics Biennial Pomiędzy (Between), Institute of Industrial Design, Warsaw
2001 — 5th KERAMOS Association International Ceramics Biennial Touch of fire
2000 — gegenüber-miteinander, Städtische Galerie im Alten Rathaus Fürstenwalde, Germany
1999 — 4th International Ceramics Biennial, Miasto (City), Institute of Industrial Design, Warsaw