She holds up an optical device. It makes the image slightly distorted, enlarged, and yet remote in time, as if it were a memory from a journey. Strange as the outline of a new, insubstantial piece of land. A shift in scale: ripples on the surface, like the concentric circles from a drop of water, they smoothly dissolve and disappear. Another shift: the Baltic Sea.’ (From the text accompanying the exhibition The Bay at Archeology of Photography Foundation, Warsaw.)
Sludge in Place of the Subject. On ‘The Bay’ by Sława Harasymowicz (2021)
Sława Harasymowicz’s intervention considered one of Freud’s most famous case histories, that of the Wolf Man, whose entire analysis evolved around a dream. In my consideration of various artistic and curatorial strategies employed in this exhibition, I propose that Freud’s understanding of dream-work (the formation and function of dreams within the unconscious, for instance through condensation or substitution) becomes materialized. By opening up the dream-work, Harasymowicz’s artworks and exhibition actualised how the dream is always twofold (…) made apparent the way in which the dual nature of dreams is a form of shadowing, a haunting: what we dream is shadowed and haunted by what it means.
On Dreaming and Travelling Through the Unconscious (2018)
That buildings can be witness to history is not only a narrative device but, as the investigations of the interdisciplinary collective Forensic Architecture demonstrate, an important source of information, as they act as sensors that bear traces of changes in the surrounding environment (...) Beyond the potential for the forensic and historical reconstructions, however, edifices also disclose another kind of trace that is akin to the murmur of the pas, to faded signs of inhabitance, to untold stories of lives lived.
The Murmur of Walls (2020)
Łobzowska 12 is one in a series of artworks in which the artist investigates personal and collective histories of dispersal, loss, war and aftermath in Poland. Polish histories of WWII have suffered from having been buried and incorporated into the ruins of contested memory of the Holocaust and further repressed by Soviet ideology. Sława Harasymowicz's project takes on the difficult but much needed task of revealing histories that were hidden from view.
Łobzowska 12, Kraków. Generation to generation (2020)
The laborious, yet, at the same time playful artistic work of Sława Harasymowicz exposes too many paradoxes of "the past of the 'there was'". How to approach it, how to address them, the people who were there and are no more, whose very existence becomes clear by the fact of their inexistence? (...) You obtain lists, documents of compulsive archiving, last and first names, professions. So try and imagine an archive full of life and not death. Silkscreen images prove more provoking than photography would; the latter seems too reliant, almost too (much) telling. Imagine this.
Anarchival connections (2016)
The story begins with an absence of an image. This (lack of) image belongs to a young man, from a distant yet present past, who perished in a catastrophic event, one that has been largely forgotten - perhaps even purposefully repressed - in history. But this narrative is not simply about recreating or evoking historical facts (...) The story has only just begun. Just like Bakhtin's universe of 'permanent dialogue' and his reading of Dostoyevsky's work as containing many different voices, unmerged into a single perspective, there are still narratives to be explored and perspectives to be taken.
Harasymowicz’s style is highly unusual for the medium. Where conventional comic book art is first pencilled and then inked for maximum clarity and impact, she draws most of the image in pencil, carving out her formally clothed figures, often lost in thought, with an emphatic line and vigorous shading. Her drawings are passionate, emotional and fiercely committed to the subject matter. There is an energetic looseness and a dream-like lack of finish in details that need only be implied that give her images great expression and vitality. She shows an effortlessly fluid and varied command of page structure, which more experienced graphic novel artists might envy.
The woman who took on the Wolf Man (2012)