Photo: Penny Klepuszewska in Leeds, Yorkshire

Penny Klepuszewska

Artist, Writer, Researcher

Klepuszewska was once an actor and this comes as no surprise when you consider the methodology behind her work. Originally trained at the Lee Strasberg Institute and the Oxford School of Drama, she also toured small European festivals with a Polish theatre company, often performing to people who had not seen theatre before. These experiences inform her artistic practice. Quietly, she studies and observes. Gestures and routines are carefully noted, their nuances annotated, understood and then enigmatically revealed. Precious items, which to others are merely horded human detritus, are re-arranged into exquisite tableaux. Kernels of dialogue and information are lyrically interwoven as text and sound. Although her work has a documentary imperative, she plays on subtle, almost imperceptible truths rather than creating a strictly factual account.

In a bittersweet memory from childhood, she remembers scratching the surface of a family photograph, after imagining that another picture, another world, might exist underneath. 'A few scratches, a small innocently destructive gesture, and the familiar faces disappeared into non-existence. What a huge disappointment to discover that there was nothing under the surface, just whiteness. Photography, it seems to me, is a small, empty, rectangular space waiting to be filled. From this space, a world comes into existence.'

Intrinsic to her work are the details and scenes, the small fragilities and brutalities of contemporary human existence. The underlying themes of separation, solitude, isolation and exclusion persist concurrently with an exploration of the spaces we inhabit and the objects with which we surround ourselves. From an intimate, engaged and often playful process of collection and collaboration, she creates both accounts of the real world and self-contained fictions, developing work that incorporates installation, photography, text, and sound.

She has gained recognition for producing well-researched, high quality and thought-provoking work that reflects upon issues concerning contemporary life, our social environment and conditions of living. Her particular interest is in people, their circumstances, their situations and how these personal fragments can be explored and connected to a more universal experience of life.

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Location Leeds, Yorkshire
Activities Practice-based research, Residencies, Participatory projects, Private commissions, Creative writing, Curating, Photographic documentation
Artforms / type of project Installation, Mixed Media, Photography, Research, Sound, Text

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