Strona główna



Jacek Rykała’s paintings are brightened by a black sun of melancholy and an existential stance in which, as Agata Bielik Robson writes, “the monotony of existence surrendered entirely to burden and the boredom of identity, gravity, profundity, and memory – all the existential modi, which are based on a persistent, conscientious, self-enclosed repetition – are most fully expressed.”[1] The metaphor of a black sun, which Gérard de Nerval used in his sonnet “El Desdichado”, refers to a paralyzing power of sorrow, fatigue and emptiness born out of a longing for a lost object of desire. Yet melancholy is also, as suggested by Julia Kristeva’s book which evokes this metaphor, a distortion of the symbolic relation with the world in which the depressive subject looks for any possible kind of expression for its tormented body. One of the causes of melancholy is nostalgia which initially meant a burning desire to see one’s motherland, a persistent longing for one’s homeland, something distant in space, absent or bygone. Over time, however, the temporal aspect gained ascendancy over the spatial one, and melancholy started to be perceived, above all, as the guardian of the life of history with which we no longer enjoy a direct bond.


Violetta Sajkiewicz

The Brightness of a Black Sun



Download full version



Our human memory consists in tracing and remembering our imaginations and, at the same time, in tempting our imagination skills. With them we can save what we have in excess or what’s squandered. Irrespective of that fact, however, the very operation of saving carries certain contradiction and ambiguity: saving is, in effect, a conspiracy with mourning. We reach for an image in spite of it is – as contemporary phenomenology defines it – the nothingness of the object. What did happen cannot exist now. Culture is nothing more than the memory of all the texts and images – those experienced directly in life and those we experience in result of reading. If we tried, in this context, to include the multi-layered structure of Jacek Rykała’s creation, we could say that on the basis of those experiences the artist articulates both the cognitive and celebrating aspect. The first one is an attempt of making topographical definitions and creating the significant elements of space and the sequences of time from memory. The other is their esthetical and conceptual celebration. Works made by this artist from Sosnowiec – what’s also important – seem to have never been the realisation of any regionalist postulate, even though they correspond with certain climate and a ‘spirit’ of the place in which they had come to being. Rykała has never joined to any regional or local stream and the friendly inclinations resulting from it. His creation has never respected the dominants of what we call current artistic practices. Spiritually or rather identically, this creation has never been free from the specificity, unique fragrances and temperatures of the place, I mean of the region of Silesia, and in particular of Zagłębie coal basin. Just from his topography and geography comes the whole mythography of that space, which Rykała has consistently developed for the past three decades.


Roman Lewandowski


Download full version




...Painting the recesses of Sosnowiec, and forcibly stressing their characteristic details, Jacek Rykała is painting ‘the entire world’. He shows it in a modest, but at the same time generous way. And between the lines of his pictorial message he encourages certain philosophical melancholy. As if the famous river of Heraclitus, into which we cannot step twice, would spill out of the picture through light or dark slits and gaps of those gates, fences, doors, dark corridors, and the windows that have been left ajar. On the stipulation that the reality and time in his picture have come to a standstill, becoming immobilised, and immortal.

All this can be called ‘Jacek Rykała’s painting’. However, to say ‘painting’ is decidedly too little. Because in this case, even though everything comes from painting or painting-photographic or even painting-carpentry-glassmaking-scavenging or any other origin, we are only at the beginning of a longer mental adventure. The longitude, the depth and the durability of traces left by this adventure in our memory are not only art experiencing; it’s something more. Art is worth of speaking and believing unless it is only an empty rhetoric and the beauty in itself. And this is the case of this artist...


Henryk Waniek, Jacek Rykała in the Orbit of the Truth



...The is no singing in the painting of this fifty-year old artist, who lectures at the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice, having presented over fifty one-artist exhibitions in Poland and abroad. His sad poetry is characterised by a slow and serious rhythm of sombre songs, interrupted only sometimes by some separate and violent explosions of colour, which are as if a cry of hope.

His intensive and melancholic works, often divided in small lyrical pictures as if in a polyptych, change sometimes into sculptures. Many a time painting gives way to battery in his art: glass, split wood that resemble some works by Alberto Buria, old hooks which protected the modest belongings of old workers’ houses, and other antiques found at flea markets. Rykała’s creation tells the story of his nation by means of symbols. The artist makes it using old gateways and ruined staircases, carefully tracing the sad poetry of the tufts of grass, protruding from the stone sett paving. A table, covered with faded material instead of a tablecloth, is unusually expressive and deeply moving. At the table, instead of the revellers, there are eleven works completely deprived of decorative elements. Each of them is based on an old photograph, mastered later, as in the example of the group of children in a wooden frame sewn with tens of metal nails. In the middle of the table there is a lonely porcelain vessel filled with sugar, the symbol of ‘luxury’ in times of poverty and renouncement...


Edoardo Sassi, “Corriere della Sera”, March 2000.

(translated by Elżbieta Jogałła)



...Jacek Rykała brings the micro-cosmos of Silesia closer to us, as if using a magnifying glass. From pieces of landscape, crushed by the time, he recalls the memory of this land’s lots, of the difficult life of its citizens, and of the gravity of the modest and at the same time rich urban culture which is unlike the usually dumb culture of great conurbations.

With reserved passion Rykała looks for poetry in traces of human existence, observing old gateways, worn smooth stairs and banisters, damp patches on the walls, and the tussocks of grass, which are protruding from among ancient cobblestones. He confronts these mementoes with brutal requisites of everyday humdrum, and with melancholic recordings of the past in old photographs.

In his expressive painting Jacek Rykała evokes the magic of the land or rather of that urban Moloch that hides the multitude of human lots...


Tadeusz Konwicki, Sielec Quarter Prompts. Introduction to the catalogue, 1995



...Jacek Rykała’s attitude, typical for the observer of the reality, who traces human life in its episodic threads that are following or parallel to each other, reminds me of Bauman’s model of the ‘Stroller’. In his wanderings, however, Rykała the Stroller meets instead of people rather their shadows, where objects and places are the only material equivalents of their presence. Personified insignificant objects (like flat numbers, street boards, door handles, hooks, pieces of windows and doors) are like fragments of living organism, like the memory of eyes, feet and hands which touched them not so long ago.

Rykała the Stroller proposes something that recalls Jean Baudrillard’s term, namely the state of being ‘more real than the reality’...


Izabella Gustowska, Sielec Quarter Prompts




Copyright Jacek Rykała ©