Lidia Syroka: Body Alchemy

20 January - 4 March 2017
Press release

“In my sewn paper work, I concentrate on the intimate reality of paper matter. I’ve always worked with paper; inspected its ‘inner’ dimension to extract its beauty. To touch its secret, I stuck it, sewed it, tore it, and stuck it again. Yet after many years in this line of work, it felt necessary for me to return to drawing. Before beginning, I tried to become aware of what I felt inside my body and the kind of texture that best associated with it. I was looking for a technique that would enable me to express it with simple and direct graphic signs—the signs that configure my soul and the truth of my emotions—and this way instill the work with power.


In the beginning, I felt my body as a sort of metal structure. Thus, in the first series (2006) I used a pencil to obtain the metallic surface. After some exploration on this level, I started looking around and felt that bark material was close to me. Again, I looked for an appropriate technique to mirror the feeling, and this resulted in the series of 2007-2008.


Once I finished the ‘Bark’ series, it was difficult to identify myself with any exterior matter. After many searches, I understood that I was ‘in the body.’ So the basis of my ‘Red Drawings’ series (2009) alludes to the body’s texture patterns: the crossing of muscles and tendons.


The deeper I went into myself, the darker the drawings became. In the next level, I entered the darkest part of my body; it was impossible to draw with ink or pencil on the black paper surface. So I abandoned colors and drawings. It took scissors to open up my new energy transition. This started my ‘Drawings Made with Scissors’ series (2010-2011).


After this phase, it became necessary to ‘clean’ the new passages. So I started my ‘Drawings Made with Water’ (2012-2013). On previously prepared paper, I drew with a brush wet in water. Then, with my fingers, I took out the humid parts of paper. Finally, I adhered virgin Nepali paper onto the back. Hence the holes appeared as drawings.


In ‘Drawings Made with Stamps,’ I used simple marks: lines, dots, half circles, and words that communicated emotions relevant to me at the moment. I made the stamps with sponge and constructed the drawings from these elements. The medium doesn’t have importance to me, it’s just an aid to expression.


After exploring each of these levels, I looked for a new technique and discarded the previous one. Consequently, each series is unique in method and texture. The process leading from one to another conveys an interior transmutation: the alchemy of the body. I use my body as a vehicle of growth and decay. Deconstruction helps reconstruction. My work shows me the way.”


-Lidia Syroka

Installation Views