Stanislaw Trzebinski moved to Cape Town in 2012 to apprentice in sculpture and bronze casting and now works out of his studio in Woodstock. The guiding thread of his work to date has been an exploration of the symbiotic relationship between humans and the natural world and draws on his intensive exposure to wildlife, cultural diversity and artistic engagement.
Born in Kenya, Stanislaw spent his childhood escaping the bustle of Nairobi to explore the wilderness of the Rift Valley and the East African coast. Immersed as much in its rich cultural heritage of Arabic, African and European influences as in the beauty of its biodiversity, he learnt to speak fluent Kiswahili, track and dive. His is a family of compulsive creatives and eccentrics whose home virtually demands an appreciation of art from anyone who enters, filled with paintings by his late father Tonio Trzebinksi, artworks by close friends such as neighbour Peter Beard, books on art, found art and original interiors created by his famous fashion designer mother Anna Trzebinski. His childhood home was a living and learning space that invited artistic contribution as a primary means of self-expression.
His talent was furthered by a high school art teacher who invited him to experiment with a wide range of mediums, from painting, collage and photography to welding and sculpting. He was gradually drawn most strongly to sculpture and on the strength of his portfolio, briefly attended Pratt in New York where he came to the realisation that his creativity was intimately connected to Africa, its nature and peoples.
As a young boy, apart from tending to his menagerie of 70 animals that included 35 different species of snakes, he spent summers diving off the tropical waters of Africa’s East coast famous for its mangroves, Coral reefs and marine life. His coral series gives expression to that intimate connection with nature, and in particular to his fascination with marine life.
A review by Danny Shorkend
"Powerful figures, torsos and heads bespeak a certain strength at once capturing a solidity and sense of movement. Trzebinski’s sculptures in bronze and copper plates that are showcased as the actual artworks rather than prints are phenomenal, even more so considering the artist, who hails from Kenya is largely self-taught. His understanding of human anatomy and his technical virtuosity at such a young age is remarkable and a must-see collection at Eclectica Gallery is now on offer.
I enjoyed the combination of muscularity with the additions of protruding shapes that emerge from these bodies. The artist speaks of the significance of nature as an inspiration for his works and it is thus as if the figures are both constructed by skeletal structure as well as an alchemical interweaving of the very substance that is at the heart of the earth or more mystically, of the cosmos itself. This is further justified considering the plates where the figures appear to emerge out of a kind of interaction of the basic chemistry that define matter. It appears that the artist, intellectually, intuitively and in terms of acute observation is concerned with the properties that coagulate to form the stuff of things – the very molecular, atomic and force fields that energise and vitalise natural phenomena.
Then beyond the configurations of matter, there is perhaps a more mystical component. There appears to be a surge of energy in Trzebinski’s work that bespeaks of the chakra points, vitiating energy points of the human body that reflect higher patterns of universal modalities of being from the rarefied level of the will, of pleasure and of thought down to the emotive spirit that in turn vitalises the nether regions – the gut, sexual organs and the limbs.
These forces are contained with the electro-chemical and magnetic resonance one finds in nature and particularly through the human form, a microcosm of the macrocosmic universal template. One might conjecture that such an interpretation finds an accord in the artist’s use of odd appendages that emerge from the head and incisions, like tectonic rock forms that are etched into the body. Such interventions thus bespeak the idea that man is from the dust of the earth, and at the same time such is not mere dust, having been incubated from the starry heavens and as physicists would have us believe, having emanated from a seminal point, known colloquially as the big bang. I sense in these works then the transformation of matter – sculptures that are far from inert and copper plates that vibrate with higher resonant patterns, the ebb and flow of the natural world itself.
What is perhaps most positive in this show is the general sense of health and vigour, a zestful, youthful spirit that enables the three-dimensional forms to, as it were breathe, and the plates to somewhat pulsate, notwithstanding his repetitive iconography.
There is one sculpture where the form is created out of minimal sinewy “lines”, the rest of the body being vacuous, emptied of solidity. Perhaps this invites contemplation on the idea that, like the atom, matter is primarily empty and the human body changes to a large degree year after year, just as the planetary system moves within the vast expanse of space and stars exchange tremendous amounts of hydrogen and helium, and like, the human body, follow a course of birth, growth, decay and death.
Trzebinski’s work is self-assured and confident. He is in command of the technical skill required and as I have argued this bespeaks a wealth of ideas that ought to invigorate a healthy respect for nature and indeed one another. This in turn should ignite interest, scientific, philosophical and artistic into the very origins of matter itself. At some point, however, an impasse may be reached. It is at that point that the strident quality of the human figure gives way to humility and a diminution of the ego and self-centeredness".