Formalistka – beauty and fragility

Nature is an endless source of beauty. Gorgeous colours, spectacular forms, unexpected combinations. It demonstrates the purity, simplicity and strength but also shows us a process of transience and rebirth. When I look at Joanna Jernajczyk flower compositions that’s exactly what comes to my mind. She has chosen to work with dried flowers which combine beauty and fragility.

It all started, as is often the case, as a coincidence. Joanna, an interior designer, was involved in preparing an exhibition for the Museum of Pan Tadeusz ( the most significant piece of literature from the romantic period ) in Wrocław. Her task was to create the garden of Zosia, the beloved of main character in this book. She created 50 compositions from dried flowers which were inspired by the herbarium of Eliza Orzeszkowa. It was a great learning process, she admits, but also a very exhausting experience.

“It took me two years to find my way of making compositions from dried flowers. I consciously stay as far as possible from the traditional herbarium. I’m not a botanist, I have a strictly aesthetic and graphic approach to dried flowers and plants. Through my compositions I give them new spirit so that they can exist in modern spaces. I escape the botanical side and focus on an image.”

Joanna explains that collecting flowers is mostly a spontaneous action. She wonders through the meadows, visits her parent’s garden or picks some from her balcony. Form is the main criterium of choosing a plant. The moment of picking up is crucial for the result. Equally, the season, time of the day and the weather. Also the drying process is a lottery. For example only 10% of gathered flowers will keep its colour.

“ Common flowers are my favourite. They have various and mostly unexpected forms as well as they preserve the pigmentation. If you gain one dried plant which is suitable for the composition from 20, you can call it a success.”

Obviously, beautiful dried flowers are not enough to create an interesting composition, admits Joanna, who works under the name of Formalistka since December 2017. Above nature, minimalistic and geometric forms are her source of inspiration.  Plants of distinctive shapes draw her attention.

“Making a composition is a complex process. I pour my mental state on paper. As you can see my soul strives for simplicity. Nature supplies me with plates which I collect and use for my graphic compositions.”

One would say, they are just dried flowers on paper, however, Joanna Jernajczyk brings these compositions to another level. She uses the most delicate material and through her graphic perspective they start telling a story, a story of beauty and fragility, presence and passing by.

All photos by Asia K.

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