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Many of my prints were made in order to satisfy my need to create art in opposition to external things, in opposition to what is merely an aesthetic object. It was an opportunity for liberation—an art that encompasses the essence of creation. What I find in art is equilibrium because I am all contained in—and at the same time "discharged" by—what I create.
Between a human figure composed of fingerprints, walls of death, and other images full of dramatic tension on the one hand, and bows, greetings, "landscapes," a letter to Jadwiga, on the other, what is born in this real-life process of destruction is affirmation of and desire for life—a manifesto of feelings.
Where do I come from?
I represent the generation that programmes its own deliberate artistic activity, chooses simplicty, conciseness and classic elements in material used for graphic creation. Images made concrete in rhythmical and often symmetical layouts of lines, an almost geometrical planes of black, white, and grey, are formulated in the language of non-figurative art. These unique surfaces and shapes work like music: being its physical, graphic equivalents, they produce the idosyncratic expression of my prints.
Looking for inspiration, I fond some subtle affinity with the supremacist idea of new signs, make it possible to express direct feelings. I shy away from the world of objects, striving to transcend the barrier of spcificity, in order to create signs that are closer to intellectual expression.
This presentation includes merely a few dozen of my prints made during the forty years of my work. In seemingly rigorous layouts, I formulate autonomous, deliberate signs, sequences of signs, and new symbols.
I dedicate this exhibition to the memory of the murdered members of my family, who have left behind a vast zone of silence.
Ryszard Otreba. Krakow, 2007.
Otreba’s works in Memory of Family Members
Otreba's father, two brothers, and two sisters who were incarcerated in Nazi camps as Polish (Catholic) Political prisoners. The artist has used official archives at Auschwitz, Ravensbreuck and other camps to find information on his family’s fate.