NEW YORK, NY.- New York-based painter Carmen Einfinger has won an international competition to transform Dolna Square in Gdansk, Poland, into a vibrant outdoor gallery. The only U.S.-based artist selected to participate in the competition, now in its third year, Einfingers proposal ranked above those of seven architects and designers from several European countries. Einfingers designthe Scent of Colorwill revitalize the green space, a terminus for one of the citys public buses in the neglected Lower City District, making it a bright, welcoming, gathering point. The project is slated for completion in 2011.
There will be a feeling of harmony beauty and playfulness, which is central to my desire to create art. At first glance, the park may evoke graffiti, but upon closer inspection it will reveal a more orderly and primal way of scribbling and coloring to create a fanciful dream-like world, an imaginary city where diversity is a cause for hope and creative expression, said Einfinger.
Einfinger will redesign of the Dolna Square as a festive oasis, incorporating a bus stop, kiosk, a garden, benches, lampposts and trees be-decked with birdhouses, a fountain, and a serpentine walkway in lively colors and undulating, organic patterns. Inspired by the exuberance of Gdansks Kameralna Restaurant and of pop and youth culture, her design reflects the citys potential for rebirth as an aesthetically sophisticated environment. Einfingers transformation of public space through sensuous color and form recalls the work of Gaudi in Barcelona, Hundertwasser in Vienna, and Nikki de Saint Phalle in Paris.
In the artists statement she submitted for the competition, Einfinger points out that Gdansk was a lynchpin in the fall of communist leader Wladyslaw Gomulka and the wellspring of the peaceful solidarity movement that led to the end of communism throughout the world. Her project, she said, will transform the currently neglected and defunct Lower Town into a spatial experience of a crossroada moment of possibility that we can universally access through the unusual color combinations and the archetypal forms. I wanted to change this park into a creative force, turning loneliness and idleness into community action. Birdhouses in the trees, she said, signify the park as a doorway to the world, as their inhabitants bring joyful sounds to the urban environment, while vivid colors and free, whimsical shapes will brighten the spirit. The space will have an inclusive nature, drawing people of all ages and ethnicities, she noted.
Born in Nottingham, England, an expatriate in Brazil for 17 years, and a resident of New York for the past 18 years, Carmen Einfinger earned her BA in painting at the State University of New York, Buffalo, and did graduate studies in painting at the Rhode Island School of Design and Brown University, where she held an Andrew Mellon Fellowship. The recipient of numerous grant awards, she has been the focus of solo exhibitions in galleries and museums in Albania, China, Czechoslovakia, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Taiwan, Turkey, and U.S. cities, including Washington, D.C., Dallas, Los Angeles, and New York. Her work is represented in many private collections.
British art critic Judy Walshe notes, that Einfinger used a large variety of material and objects to paint on from the very beginning. Recently she produced outdoor pieces (installations, sculptures and performances) in New York, Beijing, Taiwan and Italy involving the communities in the production process. Einfinger's work has manifested a singular personal vision, drawing on a diverse cross-section of cultures and styles to realize her wide range of visual and conceptual ideas. Einfinger is an intuitive artist who has developed a new and unique contribution to the art and culture of her times. Her extensive travels in Europe and Asia have been a major influence, releasing her from the usual conventions of art making. Her method is contemplative, meditative, and sanguine. She maintains a fantastical, exotic vision, even when dealing with the commonplace. The paradoxes in her work lie within the blurring of boundaries between interior and exterior, self and others, the physical and psychical, sustaining an extraordinary view into the ordinary.