1963, oil on chipboard, 50 cm x 62 cm,
average looking time: 16,48 sec.

[…] art is something that grows beyond reality… It affects man so deeply.
It means that art involves more than there is. And influences our imagination more as well.

T. Dominik

Tadeusz Dominik was a highly appreciated painter, graphic artist and educator, both in Poland and worldwide. He was born in 1928 in Szymanów, died in 2014 in Warsaw. Graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Jan Cybis laboratory. He arrived there, as he put it himself, with “a rifle on his shoulder”, straight from the war, where he learnt to sketch and draw in pencil quickly at the trenches. Dominik obtained his art professor degree in 1988. His painting is associated mainly with intense colour which, in his famous gardens, serves simultaneously as a contour, perspective, and chiaroscuro. He was often referred to as a colourist or post-impressionist. Zbigniew Herbert observed the artist’s inspiration with folk art “in the sense of […] very deep understanding of the rudiments of that art, its simplicity, freshness and vitalism”. Definitely, Dominik’s art was also influenced by his numerous travels to the USA, France and West Africa.

“Composition” is a transitional work in Dominik’s art. It is an example of a painting where, despite the colour dominance, we can still find some contour and shape. It was created shortly before a very important trip to West Africa in 1964, during which the artist observed the “wonderful nature, full of expression, and the omnipresent sun”. It was probably that experience which made him use colour as the main means of expression. Dominik claimed that work of art has its own borders, it’s locked within the frame and should not step outside. “Composition” clearly shows the central rectangle area, surrounded with a wide border from four sides, inside which we can distinguish 10 parts. Almost identical compositions can be observed in his canvas from 1963, titled “Composition with children drawings” and “Composition in a stylish frame”.

In most cases, the participants focused their gaze on particular elements within the central rectangle fragment. However, it is difficult to say what the thick and visibly spread layers of white, black and orange represent. What seems interesting are the areas of fixation which can be found most often at the borders between strongly contrasting colours.
The chart of gaze directions is especially visible in the central part of the painting. It means that while looking at this fragment the viewers were changing their viewing directions most frequently. The general tendency turns out to be centrifugal – it means that the participants were moving their eyes between the centre and the outside 10-part frame.

As already noted, it is very difficult to recognise the hardly outlined shapes in the central part of the canvas. One can only guess what this fragment includes since the edges of the possible figures have been almost completely reduced to coloured spots. The figures located in the surrounding rectangular parts seem a little less transformed. If we look carefully at the shapes made of single brush strokes, we will see human figures of different sex and size. They are also characterised by limited colours. After a more detailed analysis, it will turn out that each square presents a different story.

Each of us looks at the picture in a different way!

the person looking: Joanna, an artist, 66 years old
the person looking: Krystyna, a teacher, 52 years old
the person looking: Krzysztof, a physician, 40 years old

Site map

content & graphic design: Łukasz Kędziora | art collection photographs: Krzysztof Deczyński | translation and proofreading by Martyna Kowalska