Ishka Michocka is a Polish photographer and visual artist currently working and living in Berlin. She studied art in Poland at Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland; and in the UK at Dartington College of Art, Devon, UK. She moved to Berlin in 2013 and since then has been experimenting with clashing materials and new techniques in her studio located in the former east Berlin.
Ishka considers herself a globe trotter and allows her travels to influence her work. She looks for images that go from portraits to open desert landscapes, and from city’s aerial photographs to experimental representation of forms. She mixes new printing techniques with vintage, generating distorted and abstract layers of shadows.
I met Ishka through Irina Ilieva, the Director of Aquabit Gallery in Berlin where Ishka has exhibited four times between 2013 and 2015. Ishka approached me to write something for her new website about her past exhibition called Drop, which was on view in 2014 at Aquabit Gallery. She considers Drop as an on-going project that she plans to exhibit again in the future, creating and adding new images in different contexts.
The poetic meaning of form distortion
Water has inspired artists, poets, writers, moviemakers, gurus, priests and those who are empathetic towards nature. The mystery of its indescribable and infinite possibilities of interpretation is denoted throughout human and art history.
Claude Monet, to give one of many examples, defied by the end of 19th Century, all kinds of limitations to express, through some of his paintings, the magic of deviation of forms and colors; and those of light and its effects through water. He powerfully confronted the waters of the ocean to create magnificent artworks that had transcended far beyond his epoch.
Despite their different times and contexts, there is a clear consonance between Ishka Michocka’s Drop photographs and Monet’s painted waters. On the one hand, Ishka is looking for an exploration of meaning throughout the distorted forms of underwater bodies in movement – emerging of her own lifetime of curiosity of the effect of refraction/reflection of light over water in contact to the human body. On the other hand, Monet looked for distortion of the opaque shadows reflecting on water’s surface.
If art has frequently correlated creative souls in different times and contexts, this is one of those cases. Both of these artists made their work to be allied not with the source of water, but with its magical effect as a visual experience.
Ishka Mischoka’s photographic approach creates an immediate presence of a faerie realm of color- just as critics of Monet’s paintings alleged in relation to his paintings. There is a conception of magical effects of light emerging as new compositions of de-constructed forms of the human body in contact with the translucent fluid.
In this body of work, Ishka Michocka’s subject matter is about the bond of the body and its interaction with nature’s most eminent medium to human beings even before their birth: water.
Here is where Ishka’s gaze undertakes the significant action of staging a new appearance of her model’s bodies; distorted by reflection/refraction of light over water, she gives them a sense of ghostly appearance by transforming anatomic structures into geometric and abstract shapes through the diverse angles of the lens of her camera.
This playful movement’s interaction between underwater structures and skin colors creates infinite new contexts. Here is where the fantasy, personal understanding, day dreams, history, mood and esthetic experience of Ischka Mischocka’s work, opens a space for the viewer to undergo the most profound, and at the same time, most familiar sense of connection to nature: a mother’s womb.
This may be the point of awareness that these photographs ask ‘Where and who are we? At the end, it depends on what surround us.