Et in Arcadia Ego ‒ an exhibition of Aldona Mickiewicz’s paintings at Villa Decius

The Villa Decius Association would like to invite everyone to the opening of an exhibition of Aldona Mickiewicz’s paintings entitled “Et in Arcadia Ego” on the 2nd of December (Tuesday) at 6:00 p.m. The exhibition was organised as part of the “Gardens of Creativity 2014” project. The presentation of paintings will be accompanied by a catalogue summing up the author’s achievements to date. The exhibition will be open between the 1st and the 15th of December 2014.


“Et in Arcadia Ego” is the title of Aldona Mickiewicz’s latest series of paintings. The artist takes up the most mysterious iconographic motif in modern art. It appeared for the first time in a painting by Guercino (1591-1666). Several years later, Nicolas Poussin painted two different versions of this motif. A constant dispute about the true meaning of these presentations and the key phrase ‒ “Et in Arcadia Ego” ‒ has been ongoing for ages.


“Even in Arcadia, there am I” ‒ some say that this is what the deceased Arcadian is saying to us. Others claim that it is Death itself, personified as a skull, admonishing: “I am present here, too”. Are we witnesses to a nostalgic voice from the past or an admonition from the future? A crack, a pause, a reflection on the transience of life appears in the utopian space of Arcadia.


This ambiguity of the motif and its vanitas style seemed the most relevant to describe a special existential situation ‒ standing in the face of death to Aldona Mickiewicz. By taking up this old iconographic motif of “Et in Arcadia Ego”, the artist, known for her still lives representing the vanitas theme, which will also be presented at the exhibition, continues to spin a tale of transience.


This is Aldona Mickiewicz’s first individual exhibition in Krakow in over a dozen years.


Aldona Mickiewicz ‒ in the years 1979-1984, she studied at the Faculty of Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow under Tadeusz Brzozowski, Stanisław Rodziński, and Zbylut Grzywacz. She graduated with honours in 1984 under Professor Stanisław Rodziński. At the same time, in the years 1980-84, she attended lectures in philosophy at the Pontifical University of John Paul II in Krakow. In the 1980s, she participated in exhibitions of the Independent Culture Movement (Ruch Kultury Niezależnej). In 1986, she held an art scholarship in Rome. In the years 1992-93, she painted altar paintings at the former Benedictine nun convent in Monte San Savino, Italy together with Tadeusz Boruta.


She has presented her paintings at 33 individual exhibitions in Poland, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy, and has taken part in more than 100 collective exhibitions, including: “Cóż po artyście w czasie marnym?” (“What use is an artist in futile time?”), Zachęta, Warsaw 1990; “Time & Tide”, Tokyo (Japan) 1992; “Biblia we współczesnym malarstwie polskim” (“The Bible in contemporary Polish painting”), the National Museum, Gdańsk 1994; “I barbari nel giardino”, Complesso Monumentale di S. Giovanni in Monte, Bologna (Italy) 1998; “Obrazy śmierci w sztuce polskiej XIX i XX wieku” (“Images of death in the Polish art of the 19th and 20th centuries”), the National Museum, Krakow 2000; “Pamięć i uczestnictwo” (“Memory and participation”), the National Museum, Gdańsk 2005; “Pokolenie ’80. Niezależna twórczość młodych w latach 1980-89” (“The 1980s generation. Independent works of the young in the years 1980-89”), the National Museum, Krakow 2010, “Pokolenie ’80. Polityczny protest? Artystyczna kontestacja?” (“The 1980s generation. A political protest? Artistic defiance?”), Regional Museum, Rzeszów 2012.


Winner of the Kazimierz Ostrowski Award (2008) and the 1st Prize in a competition organised by the Znak publishing house for memoirs of Rev. J. Tischner (2013).

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