ABNORMAL RESULTS - exhibiton of Polish artist Maess Małgorzata Anand


Wednesday 16 September, 7:00 pm — Thursday 15 October 2015

1061 Budapest, Andrássy út. 32


Exhibition of Polish artist Maess Małgorzata Anand

Opening at September 16. 7pm

Opening speech by Zsikla Mónika art historian

The works of Maess Malgorzata Anand, the young Polish artist who has her debut exhibition in Hungary, appear -- not only for the first glance but also for the second -- as a collection of cosmic views from the realm of the invisible. Moreover this perception is also given a somewhat sinister forefeel with the title of the exhibition: Abnormal Result. However, in the beginning we may not even know what the signifiers „abnormal” and „results” might refer to.

When we, as beholders, approach the works we may take part in an exciting adventure in case we adopt the creating method of the artist when scanning the surfaces, namely proceeding from the macro to the micro scale. The macro dimension of Maess’s research is given by the written and visual database of current cancer research discourse on the world wide web which she has been intensely studying for long years, and has been using when creating her works. The forums of cancer research

First, macro, micro and nano analyses of hystopathological records are collected by the artist, analyses that are made of pathological mutations which can be found in the virtual space of those forums that present the current research results. Then, with the help of a computer programme, she uses those hystopathological records which are either visually or mentally crucial to her as the starting point or drawing map for her drawings.

If, as beholders, we approach from the point of macro scale, the first thing that captures our eyes through the huge shopwindow of the Polish Institute is the gestural character and the immense vibration of the red surfaces of the works. Entering the room, this vibration increases, however, while physically approaching the works the precise line system on the drawn surface allowes us to see that it has nothing to do with gestrues or gesture-like movements. On the contrary, the fine networks of lines shaped by different techniques are consciously built complexes. Observing these networks we may realise that, already unconsciously, we have switched the scale. Just like the artist who first manipulates the records collected from the internet as a part of her own microworld: sometimes she gives three-dimensional spaces to flat drawings, other times she leaves them as flat surfaces, and at times she completes them with words of hope, or supplies pathological tissue pictures with fictitious healing tissue piles.

Usually we may never see the pictures of this hidden cosmic world, however, when viewing the works a great number of familiar connotations pour on us: the red colour of blood is familiar, as is the whirling pulsation in spaces without horizon which is held together by some kind of an internal dynamics; the drawing which is regular and irregular at the same time; the ruffle of splashing and slamming: all these may evoke the association with the changed sensations of the human body. And we are not far from the truth, since, in fact, there are some among the drawings which give the picture of an unchanged metastatic hystopathology, without any kind of transformation... and with this, it also presents the drama of the human body.

However, to listen to the raison d’etre of hope in the drama as well, we should observe the picture on the opposing main wall, which is the last but also the most colourful piece of the motif which has been formed for years. The colours wedged in the drawing of the hystopathology signify the chemicals infused in the blood when treating the mutant cells, because the result may be „abnormal” but the „end” may be hopeful until the last moment...

So let us get closer or just contemplate it from a distance; I would like to encourage everyone to pose questions concerning the exhibited works to the artist, in case you might have any, since – much to our delight -- she is present at the opening.

Thank you very much for your kind attention!

Mónika Zsikla


Bright crimson explosions, reminiscent of blood, draw us in and make us nervous, reminding the viewer of the fear of pain, disease, and death. Nothing is literal, clear, or straightforward in the dozens and dozens of drawings that make up Maess’s “Abnormal Results” cycle. Yet, the artist provides the clues right in the titles of the works themselves: “Hemorrhage”, “Hemoptysis”, and “Drop in Red Blood Cells”. One of the drawings is titled “Beautiful Are Afoot” (Kroją mi się piękne sprawy), an allusion to the works of Polish sculptor Alina Szapocznikow, who survived the Holocaust to produce startling casts using her own body parts.  In 1968, Szapocznikow was diagnosed with  cancer and soon her creative output began to include themes of this disease. Today, images of cancerous cells and tissues photographed with the help of an electron microscope are easily available on the internet, but such images were not available to Szapocznikow nearly 50 years ago. She focused her attention on what was visible on the surface of a body, her body, racked with disease.

Thanks to advances in technology and  the Internet’s accessibility to information, Maess explores cancer’s mysterious, fascinating depths. For the past two years, Maess has been familiarizing herself with medical documentation and using this knowledge as part of her creative process. With the help of medical imaging, databases, 3D modeling software, aquarel paint, pens and markers, she manipulates the abstract idea of cancer and forces it to exist in the world of art and to comply with rules that she herself imposes.

Maess provides a key to her work, but these drawings give the viewer room for interpretation. The intricacy of the drawings keeps them fresh upon repeated viewings. The lines intertwine with each other and with blots of color to tell the story of the hostile, disturbing, hidden worlds that lurk inside our bodies, yet are forced into beauty by the artist.

Beauty of decay

 Polish Warsaw-based artist Maess Anand presents her newest series of drawings

„Abnormal results” in Platan Gallery in Budapest. We asked Maess to share her views on applied techniques, inspirations and experiences behind these works.


Patrycja Rup: Exhibition in Platan Gallery includes numerous drawings, some of them were already presented at “The Drawers” group exhibition in Warsaw, when did you start creating this series? What was the main goal of this project?

Maess Anand: Since 2012, I have been fascinated by the complexity of the technology implemented for data visualizations,  which inspired me to create drawings derived from data sets called "United Networks". The subject of cancer evolved slowly from these works. However, it was personal events, that triggered my reflection on the disease and re-invoked a curiosity in biology. I felt that the vast scientific data available from graphs and technical drawings, did little to express the fears of pain, disease and death.  In 2013, “Abnormal Results” emerged. Studying the research that has been made in attempts to cure cancer and developments in this field, I have become captivated by the interwoven processes of both normal and pathological growth and the perplexity of the unknown mechanisms behind them. The intention of this project is to capture all these thoughts, which are overwhelming from the informative point of view itself, and dwell into the emotional burden in a context of vulnerability of a human being. 

“Abnormal results” is based on the wide medical research, what sources you used in the project?

In all, three sources of data are combined to create the works. The least transformed source are pictures from histopathology reports with varied views of normal and cancer cells. The second type are spiderweb like clusters generated in data visualization software illustrating, for example, incidence of cancer or cancer related conversations on Twitter. Separately, simple two dimensional graphs, such cancer survival rates, are fed into 3D software as used in architectural visualizations , to which I then add my own dimensional parameter to render shapes and forms. The dimensional parameter that I manipulate is a metaphor for the “unknown” control mechanism within the realm of “known” factors behind the cancerous processes.

In your works you use different strategies and technics, from marker sketches to watercolour,  why do you find creating a drawing after generating high-tech digital picture important?

"Abnormal results" is about mortality, fragility, beauty of decay. To have only rendered an image digitally,  would have left the work with an impression of detachment and impersonality. It was essential to further engage with the works by drawing in order to retain the fragility of a human hand touch and with all imperfections.

“Abnormal results” attracts attention with its vivid red colors, what does it mean to you?

Red as a colour is hard to ignore. It is used for warning sign (red flag), a symbol of passion, and as well massacre and hemorrhage. For this reason, I use red to make topographical marks for the viewer to “navigate” across my works.

Lately you started widening the range of technics and applying other colors like purple and blue, how do you see the evolution of the presented works from the typographic „J’ai Tres Envie De Toi” to the latest drawings?

In my earlier works, "Excessive" , made in 2009, I used acronym JTEDT as a sort of wax seal that symbolized carnal desire. In "Abnormal Results", there are remnants of JTEDT, however the typography exists but as passion transformed into the Schopenhauerian "Will-to-live" , desire to survive, despite the circumstances. In the words of Kandinsky; "Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul." In my recent works I expand repertoire of colours which are consistent with my subjective reports of synesthetes. Synesthesia can manifest in many forms, in my case I see the words letters and sounds in a certain colour.

In your works (and in interviews) you refer often to Polish artist Alina Szapocznikow, how her sculptures influenced your works?

The works of Szapocznikow did not influence me in the process of creating the "Abnormal Results" cycle. Szapocznikow's sculptures and my works are the very dissimilar take on the same topic. Alina Szapocznikow focused her attention on what was visible on the surface of a body, her body, racked with disease. What I draw is cancer seen from a cellular level, using wide complex data sets and networks. My works are  very much influenced by latest technological breakthroughs. As a person living in XXI century I have a plethora of resources at my fingertips; reading all sorts of discussion boards, medical publications, blogs of patients, clinical trials promises, studying survival rate calculators, and hence a very different approach. Such images were not available to Szapocznikow nearly 50 years ago. Her works are very important to me because it provides a reflection on how our contemporaneity shapes the way an artist conceives and executes ideas and how an artist' life and work in an intertwined Zeitgeist.