Katarzyna Żelaska, UBIK, 2016


“UBIK” by Philip Dick used to be an absolute bestseller. It talks about the near future, in which life after death has become possible due to scientific developments. Possible, yet very dangerous as at some point everything spins out of control and reality starts to intertwine with virtual creation. No one no longer knows in which world they exist.

Katarzyna Żelaska read this book during her studies at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts. Already back then she was fascinated not only by art but by programming and its potential uses as well. Today, the past has caught up with the present and even though the artist paints her works by means she has been taught, their hidden meanings can only be found in the electronic world.  

Ubik in Dick’s book is a universal solution used for everything. The paintings at our exhibition are depictions of QR codes, painted by brush on primed canvas. In the artists version our smartphone with a QR code reader becomes the ubik. Only through a contemporary device we are allowed to enter into the authors memories, interact with her other works, learn everything she wanted to rely to us. And the paintings themselves? Even though we could describe and analyse them as any other abstract work, themselves they only carry a half-importance, and seem fake. Their core is in being a door, a way in to the true reality.