Art is in her heart: Balzac Scholar artist and thinker at the Exhibition: Ewa Szypula

Featured image: Ewa Szypula at Nottingham Castle for the Matthew Darbyshire Exhibition

The extraordinary thing about Ewa Szypula is that she’s an academic who is also a really gifted artist. She produced the front cover of her doctorate/book: Balzac’s Love Letters: Correspondence and The Literary Imagination (see below).

The love between Honore De Balzac and the Polish countess Ewelina Hanska begins with the first letter she writes to him. She writes the first letter to him as a stranger (thus providing him with motive for a familiarisation and defamiliarisation process that’s at the heart of all art).

Defamiliarisation is also at the beginning of a call and response that underpins the creation of everything new: technologies and culture (including TV and iPhones and iPads and content). See Making by Making Strange here

This correspondence  between Ewelinka and Honore over the sixteen years of their courtship 1833-1849, however, can also be seen to smash the glass of ennui in their culture, enthralling them (and us) and Ewa!

Above Countess Ewelinka Hanska (born 5th or 6th January c. 1805 in Kiev – Died 11 April 1882 in Paris aged 77) and Honore De Balzac born 20 May 1799 Tours, Indre-et-Loire, France Died 18 August 1850 in Paris aged 51

I can see why Ewa feels she’s beginning to cross boundaries of writing, research and art: here’s the cover of her book:

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Ewa mentions how inconsolable Balzac was when a letter was lost, how living and loving and making art are completely interchangeable:

Ewa: ‘he describes how he’s lost a letter “I am weeping because the loss of my words is irrevocable…”‘

It’s like artists and those who facilitate art have a hunch, an instinct, for the possible.

We met at The Object is Alive  exhibition at Nottingham Castle, curated by Tristram Aver runs until May 14th

Images: Nottingham Castle Temporary Exhibitions material 2017

And Ewa is really on to  something finding and evolving the relationship between the work she does as a scholar and the work she does as an artist. An you can see this migrant journey of art in Mark Lecky’s 2013 exhibition ‘The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things‘ as well as in his latest post BrexitContainers and their Drivers exhibition.

You can see the same thing in the beautifully curated work of Matthew Darbyshire at the Castle.

Matthew Darbyshire tries to ‘take stock of other people’s stuff : everything we make and rearranging their parameters to make something new that encourages us to comment, reflect, think and make.

In ‘The Object is Alive’ he takes 12 objects and recasts them: every piece recast in exactly 100 metres of concrete creating a new discipline and aspiration to really get to the heart of the way things are….a ‘scientartist’, as my niece would have said when she was beginning to understand that art and science are different ways of unlocking the energy of chosen social processes and processing:

Images:The Object is Alivesignsofanopencity 22nd Feb 2017

The exhibition casts lovely shadows and makes you want to go back again and again. (Until 14th May)

Ewa said that she’d had a hunch that she’d find more in this Phd but never realised how through doing the research, stepping into the world of Balzac and Hanska that she would find a completely different time zone, an interdisciplinarity that is a different kind of knowing about a subject.

The great ability Ewa has is that she’s an interpreter of things, that she’s always drawn since childhood, that her home was full of picture books made me want to tell her about the work of Audrey Nieffenegger: Audrey wrote the Time Traveller’s Wife but she also draws, paints and writes graphic novels:

Like Audrey Nieffengger, Ewa can really draw.

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producing commissions for individuals and works for arts organisations, like the National Centre for Craft and Design, She is teaching life classes at NCCD this summer:

Sat 3rd Jun, Sat 1st Jul, Sat 5th Aug, Sat 2nd Sep 10 -3pm Book through the NCCD website here or or contact the NCCD bookings team at 01529 308710

I think that there’s a wonderful coming together now of new ways of thinking, making, talking and being that are catalysed by the thinking and work of artists daring to cross market and marketing boundaries. Ewa, with her lovely exhibition and work at and in the Doctor’s Orders (culture and beer) pub, her original and groundbreaking work on Balzac and her great desire to learn and share with others is an important part of what will help us all to recover a sense of meaning and purpose in Nottingham.

Above Matthew Darbyshire, Mark Lecky and Tristram Aver Matt’s exhibition The Object is Alive curated by artist/curator Tristram Mark Lecky who works conceptually with the same ideas of objects, space: internet realities and their impact.




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