Abnormal results

Abnormal Results​

rysunek wspolczesny, choroba w sztuce, sickness in art,art_and cancer, contemporary_drawing,art and medicine, dessin contemporain,dibujo conteporaneo Metastasis II, 180 x 150 cm, marker and pen on paper, 2014[/caption]


I am interested in the experience of negotiating the physical and emotional balance between sickness and health. My drawings examine organisms attacked by cancer. Using scientific material that involves cancer related databases, microscopic views, histopathology images, Kaplan-Meier curves, 2D and 3D modeling,I combined these visual facts about cancer into expressive images in order to create something meaningful and emotionally insightful. The notion of  “time arrow” is traditional to philosophy and art. However, it is closely connected with our life span expectation. Classical literature, such as “Magic Mountain” of Thomas Mann stress that time perception is very different for healthy and gravely ill persons. In the case of cancer patients it is further complicated by an “obscure” terminologies of oncology: stages, life expectation, therapy outcome, metastasis,
remission etc. It is my goal to facilitate the comprehension of this realities by my art.  Some of reactions of audience, but also my personal experience before I was given a free of cancer verdict, suggest that people in face of cancer may try to live more intense life, as it was formulated by a famous cardiologist Marek Edelman that one “To outwit God”. I first focused on studying cancer as an art subject in 2013.  The works also elicited responses from many individuals about their experience with cancer. These stories, based on direct experience or those of loved ones, centered on the anxiety of waiting for results, facing the possibility of metastasis and the dawning awareness of how much time might be left to the patient and their families. I believe this anxiety, as well as the accompanying search for hope and strength, are universal human experiences and that art may help to alleviate.

Maess_contemporary-drawing, cancer in art,illness in art, medicine in art

Beautiful things are afoot, 100 x 70 cm, marker and pen on paper 2013

maess_carcinoma,art and cancer,illness in art,art in medicine

Histopathology, 3 x 42 x 29cm, pen on paper, 2015


Metastasis III, 180 x 150 cm, marker and pen on paper, 2015


Exhibition view, Platan Gallery Budapest


Exhibition view, Platan Gallery Budapest


Exhibition view, Platan Gallery Budapest

maess, contemporary drawing,art and medicine,art and cancer

Fall of platelets, 100 x 70 cm, marker and pen on paper, 2013


Survival, 100 x 70 cm, marker and pen on paper, 2013


So fragile, 100 x 70 cm, marker and pen on paper, 2013


dessin contemporain de maess inverted desenho contemporaneo


Residencia Corazón, La Plata Buenos Aires,  Argentina

25th September – 16th November 2008

dessin contemporain de maess inverted desenho contemporaneo

Maess, Inverted 4, pencil on paper, 42 x 29 cm, 2008

The “Inverted” exposition is a result of the artist’ s residential stay in Argentina and it consists of collection of drawings based on a unique topography of the city of La PlataMaess treats the ideal city design with multiple transformations, violating exist­ing realities. An exploration of space between the starting point and the final result invites the viewer to embark on his/her own intellectual adventure of perception beyond the habitual lim­its. The artist’ s key aim is not to reach a predetermined goal, but to observe the moments and places where imperfections and errors in the inversion process occur. Inversion can refer to a particular case of abstract thinking and can also be consid­ered a result of instinctive human penchant for putting con­trasting objects of concepts together. This kind of definition does not however allow to multiply all possible situations or circumstances and to adjust them to such thinking. Commonly used intuitive processes of inversion cannot always be reduced to a common denominator, since, for instance, contradiction such as good/evil is of different nature than day/night. Simple act of reverting inversion also does not lead to a zero sum situa­tion, but creates a web of transformations with varying interre­lations. Such manipulations can be best observed in visual arts – the most effective way of reaching a semantic or formal effect of surprise is to seek out the stubborn constant that hides in earlier solutions and invert it by 180 degrees.

desenho contemporaneo, dessin contemporain

Transit Zones, Waiting Areas

Plumba Contemporary Art, Porto, Portugal  curated by Nuno Perreira

23rd September – 26th November 2006

These are registration drawings which intend to represent the elusive moment when we see without being seen. It is an instant before being exposed as observers.  An airport is a place where one feels like a stranger, as if the place were a metaphor for the Flight of Icarus, where the big adventures begin. It is a point of arrival and departure, where the most intimate emotions are thrown onto a non-place without identity, in another reality. The language system of airports can be interpreted in a deeper way. Descrip­tions such as “choose your destination”, “departures”, “waiting areas” and “terminals” indicate a zone of transgression between safety and danger, freedom and dependence, the known  and the unknown, the familiar and the strange. During the ritual of arriving and departing, crossing the gates we leave our previous life behind and give it to the airport services, into the hands of destiny. There is a point of no return, where “see you soon” no longer exists and instead one says “goodbye”. Life in a new place begins. Life, with all the luggage from previous travels, is a set of waits and passages, where we anxiously await the next stage. Being in transit becomes a daily sensation. Maybe all places are places of waiting and of passage. What comes next, what are we going to see, who is going to see us, how will they see us? Maybe everything is only a long voyage made of short pauses between the long waits.

Review by Anna Zawadzka “Maess’ travel sketchbooks” (in Polish) 


Able Gallery, Berlin, Germany, 2009, Foundation for promoting Contemporary Art / Gallery program, Warsaw, Poland 2011, Wroclaw Contemporary Museum 2013

text below

 Every square inch of these drawings captures pure violence. Dance macabre of red and black. It is a clash of two forces conflicting in every aspect. Pinturas negras demonstrate the ” fear of influence” , through violence closing like a circle of sterile, mechanical, fetishistic repetition. Feverish scarlet, the explosion of creative energy, both euphoric and forewarning is, on the other hand, harder to grasp. The red part, it is a cut ,a tiny change, perhaps purely to spite repetition, academic structures and patriarchal subjection. It could be, however to illustrate the moment when the limit of endurance is reached and no other manoeuvre is possible. This particular move allows to search for new life forms. A mischievous error interpreted as the explosion of re-creation, in the Agambenic sense of the word. Nobody waits for revolution or epiphany anymore; what they do wait for is an unexpected break that will reduce the unbearable, oppressive dialogue to silence.Decompression that disturbs the cycle of violence and system of terror. What is the fundamental stake in this game” Artistic immortality” It is not true what Beckett says, that ” to be an artist is to fail as no other fail.” Of course, all that strategy is not free from narcissism, and Maess knows how to use it in her own way. It brings to mind ivy, or a spider’ s web; content-wise, the drawings are very dense, concentric, coherent and strong. They absorb everything around them. They feed on any metaphors that brush against them. They are like a sequence of battle plans, sectional views of shapes created by a dynamic shift in pressure. The created work is the result of a perpetual power friction, a breach of the domination. An ever-changing front line of a battle.Gentileschi also searched for the bloody floating shape in the streams of the vital fluid gushing from the neck of her victim-executioner. It is not easy to grasp, because fragments of it are deliberately used as part of a broader narrative, of affinity and rivalry. This way the feverish scarlet of the drawings is justified also by the blood of the dead lover/phantasm.The figure which, cringing like a prawn on a fork, is present in some of the drawings has its origins also in a rather modern myth. It is taken from the final sequence of The Last Tango in Paris by Bertolucci. Iti s one of the inspirations, references, but also precursors of the series. The relation between the work of Bertolucci and Maess drawings is somewhat troublesome. Shooting the lover/abuser in his desperate try to escape leaves a scarlet spatter of blood and letter fragments. That convulsively twitching larva/beast obsessively repeats ” I Want You, I want you, I want you. J ai tres envie de toi. JTEDT “. Not even the remains of a language but of a typography. Utterances, like a seal on the lips of the obscene desire. It is worth remembering that Bertolucci ‘ s film, apart from the story of a man and a woman, tells the story of tyranny of the film itself, and the topics mirror each other. The strategy of analyzing the line between film and drawing without the medium of animation or comic strip craze, seems to be a source of great pleasure for Maess, as she has been successfully using it for a long time now. It is also just one of the riddles/traps set by the artist. Just like the slightly provocative technical virtuosity and Maess-specific asceticism. As a result, her drawings surprise with their force and intensity. The surface is covered with the explosion of red, pulsating energy set free, eliminating any obstacles between the idea and the artist, between the idea and the receiver. Looking at those explosions I can’ t get this statement by Paul Valéry. out of my mind: “First of all, and above all, the painter takes his body with him “. 

txt: Michał Fopp  trad. Karolina Moens 

Sketchbook, Lisbon 2009