Klaudia Kosziba: Before Metamorphosis

26. 10. 2023 - 28. 1. 2024

Klaudia Kosziba's (1971) exhibition Before Metamorphosis at the Bratislava City Gallery is the second exhibition realized withing a year's span, this time in the Pálffy Palace. The first exhibition was held in the underground space of the former Hit Gallery under the title After Virtue.
The paintings often featured depictions of tombstones, attacked by phosphorescent fungi, motifs that went well with the exhibition space and the negative events that society experienced at the time. The paintings contained an additional image layer which, paradoxically, appeared in the dark. They formed a metaphor for the possibilities of seeing, an age-old theme in the field of painting. The second exhibition, Before Metamorphosis, takes place facing the first one across a shared courtyard at the very top of the palace building. This transition from dark to light is especially thematized by the way lighting conditions of the space are set. The universal possibilities of reversing a given state have their consequences, which are most directly shown in borderline situations induced mostly by a paradox or a situation that is not under human control, much like in ancient tragedies. Klaudia Kosziba chose to, along others, work with the story of Diana and Actaeon from Book III of Ovid's Metamorphoses. In painting and sculpture, this is an old theme, handled brilliantly, for instances, on the metopes of the temple at Selinunta in Sicily or in Titian's Death of Actaeon, (1559-1575), with which the current artist has entered into a creative dialog of many years. In the story the hunter Actaeon, having caught a glimpse of the bathing goddess, is punished by being turning into a deer, and in turn devoured by his own dogs. Within the framework of the whole arrangement of the Metamorphoses, the steps and the gaze of Actaeon are shown as detectable, despite his apparent innocence, in a way reminiscent of Leibniz's principle of sufficient reason, nihil est sine ratione. The virgin goddess Diana does not recognize any innocence. The act of seeing the goddess intersects with the sufficient reason, which for the later Christian world would involve the concept of grace. The overturning of cause and effect, the after before the before, is the aspiration for perfection on part of paintings, the light coming from below, revealing decayed reliefs and thus forming a center between two planes of the world.