Amid so many insecurities in the world today, Małgorzata Chodakowska uses the uncompromising nature of her works to arrive at a sense of a security. Her medium is wood. usually from uprooted trees. The wood grains from the tree trunks of basswood, pear. cherry and oak come alive and follow her as she removes layers of wood to reveal larger-than-life sized ﬁgures. neo-realistic nude ﬁgures. clad ﬁgures, and busts – a process whereby the wood seems to shed its skin. the wood itself appears to be turned inside out. The ﬁgures are a continuation of the growth of the trees themselves. sprouting ﬁrst from the earth and then ﬁnding themselves rooted within the artist and her dreams, expectations and demands. her self image and her personal experiences. Behind the daily passions which remain hidden for most of us. the artist reveals what really moves people. as she exposes the timeless beauty of the creation of a human being
Her works are a romantic phenomenon in our present time. a time in which countless artists reject beauty in the name of modernity and denounce it as a “bad habit”. And what a great mistake that is! After all, beauty is a most basic need for all of us.
The sensuous wood surfaces of Małgorzata Chodakowska’s sculptures exert a magnetic pull on their viewers right down to their ﬁngertips. There is an urge to touch them. an irresistibleurge based on the hope that, despite all reason, they might have a living pulse. The visible has been sculpted out of the touchable. The sculptures are so real that they are unreal. irritations are provoked; a wordless amazement climaxes in awe. The palpable intimacy is followed by the contemplative distance of concentrated looking. Light and shadows reshape the faces and the bodies and in the end, we have an impression that these delicate. fragile and proud youthful bodies internalize a held breath for just one moment of concentration and meditation – it is the moment between the completion of the last thought and the commencement of the next.
What we would give to experience these thoughts! At times. their physical beauty is unbearable. Their sensual size is a challenge and simultaneously, a provocation. Feminine bodies appear ﬂawlessly proportioned, chaste, yet erotic in a way. Like angelic goddesses with a mission to spread joy within our lives and through our senses. These so-called “Stammfrauen” are multi-voiced modern day Eve images, standing juxtaposed to the Adam images. They embody a yearning for the return to the Lost Paradise.
In a way, Małgorzata Chodakowska reminds me of a quote from Giacometti: “Since the beginning, I have consciously made sculptures, to get hold of reality, to defend myself, to nourish myself and to grow; to grow, to gain strength, to be as free as possible, to try to see and understand my surroundings better, to overexert myself, to dare take my adventures, to discover new worlds, to ﬁght my fight, for fun? because of joy at the battle? for fun at winning and losing.”
The sculptress derives aesthetic experiences from the realm of timelessness without allowing herself to be distracted by fashionable art trends. The ﬁgures wear mostly tight-ﬁtting clothes that resemble the “wet style” of Greek antiquity. A shape vocabulary of the Gothic is discernible, in the rendering of the faces, the elongated hands and even the S-shape of some of the bodies. The ﬁgures pose in classic relaxed standing poses. And still we can ﬁnd suggestions of an everyday art expression, not really surprising as the artist constantly integrates experiences gained in her travels into her art.
In 2000, while visiting Cambodia, she saw the carved stone temple dancers in the Khmer area and was impressed by dreamy reliefs that revealed the embodiment of good and evil bound together in ecstatic unison. This experience inspired her to name one of her exhibitions, the 2001 City Gallery in Radebeul. “Temple Dancers”. Previously the Freiberg cathedral moved her to tackle the Old Testament theme of wise yet seductive, vain virgins, although, ultimately, she personally placed no importance on whether her wood sculptures were identiﬁed as “wise” or as “vain”. Her sculptures do not radiate an external ecstasy. Only the slightest hint of movement is discernable. Rather we perceive an internal tension that is waiting to be released by a single movement, so believable in “Dancer in Black”. The “Dancer in White”, by the way, was inspired by the “Ballet Dancers” by Edgar Degas. Małgorzata Chodakowska has said that her greatest love is expressive modern dance and for her, the temple of the soul is the body in which it lives and for which it is contained and which it characterfully shapes. Małgorzata Chodakowska is not a person with big words. She refers in a most charming manner to her sculpted images: “l am addicted to pleasure. That’s why I carve beautiful people.”