Antoni Malinowski at De la Warr Pavilion

29 July – 16 September
Published by De la Warr Pavilion 2001

The principal ingredient of architecture is the handling of light. everything else is subordinate to that. mass and form and volume mean nothing without light. Function is impossible without light. Serendipitous glimpses of movement or colour, caught through a distant window or doorway, are dependent upon light. The animation of facades is determined by light and shade. Light, and the play of light, is however not something that is necessarily fully understood or fully controlled by architects. It is as if light has its own agenda. It is also as if light was fluid, that it somehow finds its own level. Buildings are repositories of light.

Conventionally more artists than architects are fully alive to the characteristics – the behavioural patterns – of light. Artists traditionally go where the light is good. But there are also artists who are in a sense keepers, or watchers, of light. They observe it patiently through its phases. They note how slight changes in the direction or intensity of light change everything. The same view can be captured a hundred times, each time differently.

And then there are artists who respond to light, to fluid movement, and to the way buildings filter and enrich that experience. Antoni Malinowski is pre-eminently of this school. His abstract canvases seem to yearn for, or derive from, the experience of light thus filtered. It is natural that he should have taken to experimenting directly with the movement of light in buildings, using buildings themselves as the matrix. His work deals not only with intense and beautiful colours as modulated by light and shade and activity, but also accommodates the complex and subtle business of memory. Of a moment captured, perhaps marshalled with other such moments, and then, in a process akin to alchemy, transformed into surface. Which, with all its accumulated meaning, is then further, and continually, refined by the play of light. Malinowski works most fruitfully with mutability and intangibility. He understands.

Hugh Pearman

© Hugh Pearman