WHEN NOON MAIDEN STOPS SCREAMING

 

 

In the bright light of midday, more often in the darkness of the night it happens that a clump of sweet flag takes the form of a silhouette of a girl or an open wardrobe resembles a man in a coat. Then we can laugh at such apparitions, but for one moment we are really surprised and believe that we saw someone strange. It is a very natural feeling because superstitions, old beliefs are rooted in reality. Women fear for children, husbands and this fear took the form of strange wives, noon maidens that can grab or swap their loved ones. Sometimes fear inspires discovery that we ourselves are in part noon maidens and nightmares.

 

Mysterious creatures that are present in the popular imagination appear in the images of Marta Kunikowska-Mikulska as women who seek to express their emotions: fear, anger, sense of loneliness. As primitive beings they use traditional methods such as screaming and dancing. In a similar way functioned triune chorea in ancient Greece and in this way people say goodbye to carnival time in Rio de Janeiro today. Although the performances are very accurate, almost hyper-realistic, intense light makes female figures unreal revealing that they come from a more mysterious world than the one which surrounds us every day. Bright light, instead of calming and relaxing, induces anxiety which is often exacerbated by an unusual perspective. Similar subjects and perspective were used by Jacek Malczewski – his chimeras, thanators and angels emerging from the Polish landscape created their own mythology. Figures painted by Marta Kunikowską-Mikulska are not so elusive, delicate and ephemeral as the creatures beloved by Nouveau artists. Her nymphs and strange wives are very physical, often older women. They can not be considered just as a dream, phantom or the play of light in sunny afternoon. Emotions which strike the characters are very concrete and must sooner or later be faced by every man.

 

In later works scream goes into more subdued feeling. Long-haired nymphs surround themselves with clay pipes, they rather play than scream. Perhaps it stems from the so-called growing-up of the author, although it can also be concluded that the right is the one who says: no one knows when the worst dreams come but after all you can not scream all night.

 

Bogumiła Pilecka