“Burning,” an exhibition of paper cuts by Monika Krajewska, is now being shown in Radom, following an exhibit at the POLIN museum in Warsaw. We were privileged to host an online exhibition of some of her works in 2020.
The exhibit consists of 31 works in which the artist, using traditional Jewish paper-cutting technique, refers to objects related to the synagogue, painstakingly recreating the symbolism and ornamentation of Jewish art from East-Central Europe—stylised floral decoration, symbolic representations of animals, a repertoire of traditional sacred Jewish symbols (a menorah, Torah and the Tablets of Law, the Temple) and calligraphic quotations from religious texts and prayers.
In order to introduce reflection on loss and destruction, Krajewska subjects her painstaking work to destruction: she tears apart sections of the works after cutting them out and burns the ends of the sheets. She uses tinted paper as a background for the cut-outs, incorporating the motif of fire, ashes and ruins. And she incorporates quotations from religious texts or classics of modern Jewish literature, in which there are references to flames and destruction, as well as to the hope of salvation.