Stanislaw Kors


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Depth, compassion � Kors' harsh life reflected

There is a strong flavour of mysticism in Stanislaw Kors' large canvases. Kors seems to do the impossible by taking mental images of the most fantastic kind, and somehow presenting them with photographic clarity as "known" and visible mind dominions.

How many of us, for all our talk of dreams, ever truly capture a dream in its entirety, on awakening? Because of this, it is futile classing Kors' now eerie, now weirdly symbolic, now other-earthly paintings as mere dream imagery.

And just as there's no word to truly describe his strange and beautiful paintings (surrealistic, fantasy, psychological and spiritualistic don't really apply � though a blend of all of them just might), there's no art work, past or present, with which to liken them.

"People do somehow wish to compare or contrast their work with what some other artist has done," Kors said ruefully. "It seems one's own individuality somehow becomes suspect if this can't be done. Whatever I paint is entirely my own particular vision."

He speculates about current art trends with precision though his views, like those of many more enlightened talents, might arouse ire and scorn in art "establishment" circles.

Of his own utterly unique painting he brusquely said "infrarealism" would be the term he'd use to describe it.

"I don't so much try and unlock the door of the mind to enter the halls of the subconscious as I strive to transcend actual time barriers and involve myself with another, purer dimension, where colours are more dramatically distinct and shapes are of a different atom tempo than those in our immediate environment."

His paintings are a type of contact with what might be known to those on some other plane, but not readily known to many of us. In no way does he imagine himself an art muse or mystic � merely an investigator of and into, the "unknown" mind and thought and philosophical areas.

Physically, he is smallish and thickset but, from an art point of view, he is something of a giant, even some kind of an innovatory art genius.

Richard Cheales
The Citizen
Stanislaw Kors exhibition
Karen McKerron Gallery, Johannesburg
April 1986


Art Revue

Stanislaw Kors possesses the rare ability to open new dimensions within the levels of the sub-conscious mind. His imagery serves as a catalyst in liberating the viewer's perceptions of time, space and reality.

On moving from picture to picture at this exhibition, the observer is drawn in and transported to mysterious dimensions via the elaborate use of personal and archetypal symbols.

Spheres feature in the majority of his works evoking thoughts of C.G. Jung's study of the 'Mandala' as the linking force throughout the collective unconscious of humanity.

Remotely reminiscent of the images of the French surrealist painter Yves Tanguy in terms of colour combinations and a clinical approach to paint application, Kors arrives at a deeply personal visual language. A skillful use of grey and orange variations dominates this collection of untitled paintings. Titles are understandably irrelevant in Kors' work; the strong 'leitmotiv' and consistency of approach requires no verbal interpretation.

Kors' virtual clinical sense of alienation from physical reality is heightened by his scientific style of art with its polished and refined surfaces divorced from the mundane world. The work succeeds in arriving at a level of formal impurity although clearly underwritten by formal skills.

Paint application compounded by the employment of circles, flowing curves and diagonals is strongly evocative of the artist's point of departure namely, music. Composers like Penderecki, Stravinsky, Tartini, Liszt and Bach enable Stanislaw Kors to create his visions of timelessness and dreamworlds. The mysterious depths and dimensions inherent in serious music is clearly apparent in the canvases.

Although Stanislaw Kors originates from Poland having settled in Johannesburg, his art is imbued with universality and belongs to all liberated souls in this world.

Gavin du Plessis
Die Burger
Stanislaw Kors exhibition
Sanlam Art Gallery, Cape Town
August 1993


Sense of sound

Viewers could be forgiven for breaking into song at this exhibition. The 38 Kors oils in the Sanlam Gallery do not assault the senses visually � but they convey a sense of sound, of singing, activating subconscious triggers.

Close up, the meticulous detail becomes apparent. One could be forgiven for suspecting airbrush application in places, but those immaculate effects are achieved simply with oil, a brush and a lot of patience over a long time (these works have kept the Polish painter busy over the past two years).

All of the pictures are untitled, revealing the artist's reluctance to expose the mechanics of his creative mind. Kors seems to imply that the works should speak directly to the viewer. The pictures are so many keys to each individual's conscious entry into the personal dream world.

Images are rich and varied, yet draw on only a few central symbols: the perfect circle, the sun (or any star?), the eye, the womb, the sphere, the shell, the foetus. Then, mostly musical images evolve: the violin mainly, and organ with pipes dominating (as if these were huge lungs).

The sometimes convoluted imagery seems to refer back to the music of Kors' countrymen, Penderecki and Lutoslawski; these artists share a common national angst (and deliverance).

The most striking works are the "stripped" ones, describing either a huge space or built around a single, obtrusive cypher poised as if to attack, to extend beyond the frame. They transfer energy from one form to another, releasing or accumulating: this driving mechanism motivates or animates all Kors' work.

Viewers seeking scifi imagery will find a lot here, but the work does not deal with outer space, time travel, space vortices or red giants imploding.

The images, like those of Miro or Yves Tanguy, merely point: from one secret source (artist's mind) to another secret source (viewer's mind).

Johan Cloete
The Argus
Stanislaw Kors exhibition
Sanlam Art Gallery, Cape Town
August 1993


People can use his paintings to build their imagination on

Polish-born South African artist Stanislaw Kors uses the term "infra-realism" to describe his works because he likens them to infrastructures with which people can build their imagination on.

"And the word, realism, is there because I believe all imagination, dreams and even fantasies exist and they are also very real," explains the 59-year-old oil painter, who coined the new art term for himself.

He started drawing at the age of 14, and under communist rule in Poland, worked in various jobs including a stint as a factory worker before he studied art formally at the Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw. He graduated with a master's degree in 1967.

"I used to paint nudes every day, five days a week in the academy," he says, as he recalls his six years there. But still he prefers his dream world of the universe, clouds and planets to the real world of human beings.

He says: "Perhaps I've seen too much of this world, having witnessed World War II as a child. "There's just too much mess around and most of the sufferings were caused by man."

He admits that his paintings, which bring him to a "place of eternal calm and peace", are a form of escape from the real world, but maintains that he is not doing so out of cowardice. "In my works I express my hopes for the future and I'm always optimistic," he explains.

A full-time painter for the past seven years, Kors says he is happy that he can paint what he likes and in a style he is proud to call his own.

"People have asked me to paint the wildlife in Africa like elephants and I told them that as an artist, I don't need to create them because the elephants can do so themselves."

Leong Weng Kam
The Straits Times
Stanislaw Kors exhibition
SweeGuan Art Gallery, Singapore
November 1994


Dreamscapes on canvas

Caught in the magic of 'the rainbow nation' of South Africa, artist Stanislaw Kors brings with him a new dimension of creativity in his artworks currently on display at Galeri Petronas, Dayabumi.

It is no wonder that most of his paintings are untitled but when asked why this was so the artist explained that he did not wish to limit the viewer's imagination and capability of discovering his or her own world and what his paintings say to a particular viewer.

High Commissioner of the Republic of South Africa Maite Emily Mohale, who officiated the exhibition with visiting Premier of Northwest Province of South Africa Popo Molefe, agreed wholeheartedly. "Someone who has Stan's art in their home will never be lonely because his paintings bring new meaning everyday," Mohale said.

Joanne de Rozario
The New Straits Times
Stanislaw Kors exhibition
Galeri Petronas, Kuala Lumpur
July 1995


Artist's in a class of his own

Reader's letter to The Star

As a realist artist I am not often carried away with the many abstract art styles that sprung up in the art world but as an inventor I am always impressed with their ingenuity and the creative genius behind it. I, therefore, continue to search only for that trait, visiting many exhibitions and pouring through books and magazines. I had studied the likes of Pablo Picasso and Salvadore Dali and thought that none could ever reach their style or surpass their superiority again in their abstract art form and medium.

Then along came artist Stanislaw Kors of South Africa to shatter that myth. His painting heralds neither in the world of "Abstract" nor "Pop Art" nor "Cubism" nor "Realism" but the embodiment and merging of all these styles. In my own assessment, analysis, personal perception and definition, Kors' art style is a kind of "Futuristic Dreamstate."

I love it and did not hesitate to tell him so. His painting shows the in-depth interaction of Colours, Light, Shape and Tonal Quality. Abstract paintings had never been my personal choice being a realist artist but Mr. Kors' works involved all that "Super Realism" and yet remains "Abstract."

Mr. Kors, of course, would not describe his work as such but named his new Art Style "Infra-Realism," that is, below, or underlying, as opposed to going beyond what is generally accepted as being realistic.

He describes his paintings as abstract non-representational creations of great amorphous shapes suspended and exploding in space. He names his art style only to describe it as he has no interest to start a new art movement. On the second day of the exhibition, I was there, and I was impressed, stood transfixed and learnt there was going to be a talk entitled "My Way of Painting" by Stanislaw Kors.

During the talk, there was an altercation between Kors and a man who claimed to be an American professor of fine arts, who teaches locally. The man told Kors that he was not impressed, that he had seen it elsewhere and that it was not new. He described the same sky, colour and certain shape but did not know where he had seen it before.

He told Kors off by saying he should just let his art do the talking and need not hold a talk to explain his work because artwork must communicate to the public by itself. So, Kors can't just call it "Infra-Realism" or any "Realism" because it had been done before. Kors should not claim to have invented the name. I for one did not agree and entered the discussion eagerly.

Communication for graphic artworks, yes! Painting, no. It needs only be aesthetic. That's the reason for abstract work. In the far reaches of art, all it needs is the backing of a gallery owner or an art dealer, the media and finally someone who is willing to buy the painting for whatever reason. He may only need it to hide the crack in the wall. For any artist to exist for long he needs more than that, he needs a kind of style, identity and the will to survive. There are many who don't.

I liken the man to someone who enters Kors' house at the birth of Kors' child and said, "Look, I have seen somebody's baby with that feature before, the same coloured hair, the same eyes, so, you can't name the baby, "Infra-Realism," or any "Realism" because somebody has done it before. He might as well have gone to Picasso's launching party on 'Cubism' or 'Dali's 'Surrealism' group meet and said the same thing.

Certainly, there may be some similarity in the choice of subject one chooses to paint but the style of the artist cannot be ignored. The brush stroke, paint mix and the volume and similarity in all the art pieces each artist paints carry the uncanny signatures, personal style and unique techniques. Even Rembrandt was found out at the end. The man obviously mixed up art piece and art style. Definitely, it's Mr. Kors' right to describe and name his art style if it does not fall within any of the existing categories. If the art piece in question is a copy of someone else's work, it is between the artist and the court to decide. As Mr. Kors relates, his art is so unique that copying is not that easy.

Thank you so much. There is currently no other artist yet who paints in this style or claims to be an "Infra-Realist" except Kors. I have searched the books high and low for the meaning and found none. I had thought it meant the higher spectrum of the colour band but Mr. Kors meant Infrastructure.

This letter is not about that altercation but to entice readers to see what art geniuses like Dali and Picasso are all about, both of whom are inaccessible to Malaysians. Not so, Stanislaw Kors is currently in Malaysia until July 30.

There is something you just can't get from books. As Mr. Kors puts it, "If I can get just one or two persons interested in my art, I'll be happy and contented." I hope my letter can serve in that capacity.

Many thanks to Galeri Petronas which showcases Stanislaw Kors' art pieces and for organising the informal talk.

It is not often an artist gets fans and followers but to get one fervent enough to buy the exhibits, or one that would speak up for him, that takes style not to mention the money.

Woon Ah Bah
Artist and Inventor
Stanislaw Kors exhibition
Galeri Petronas, Kuala Lumpur
July 1995

© 2003 Pawel Kors
Text © authors, Images © Stanislaw Kors Estate