From her surreal landscapes to her images of sculptural assemblages, Sylwana Zybura’s art blurs the boundaries of reality
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Before becoming a visual artist, Sylwana Zybura dreamt of being a hologram, and later a cyborg. Growing up in a fairly conservative area of Southern Poland and preferring literature and nature to people, Sylwana sought to escape her reality by “perpetually drifting away into (her) own imagined hyper-spaces.” Fast forward to today and Sylwana is in Berlin, creating immersive installations and unique visceral experiences that bring these hyper-spaces from her childhood to life.
As part of a recent series, First Date, which she has just turned into a book, Sylwana created a collection of images depicting sexual encounters and objects of desire including dildos, and balloons fashioned into breasts. The photos are shot in a beautifully muted colour palette, which seemingly offsets the perceived crudity of the photo’s subjects. “I find it electrifying to infuse reality with new perspectives and invent possibilities for desire to flourish.”
Also working under the collective CROSSLUCID with friend Tomas C. Toth, in another series of work, Landscapes Between Eternities, Sylwana presents surreal images of sculptural assemblages – strange bodies and otherworldly faces – which push the boundaries of the known and unknown. Hoping to “represent a prototype for a new subversive, fluid and mesmerising reality”, the series “focuses on the enhancement of fragmentation, the bizarre match and the ‘synthetic self’, transgressing gender, race, canons of beauty and the sublime.”
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a visual artist and creative director working with photography and recently also in a medium of installation, performance art and video.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
That is a tricky question! From an early age, an idea of an explorer into faraway lands lingered around. This might have resulted from my nerdy inclinations towards science fiction.
What is it you do now and why do you do it?
Currently, I am working as a part of a collective under the name of CROSSLUCID together with my dear friend and symbiotic collaborator Tomas C. Toth. Recently, we conducted an immersive five-day experiment with artist and a latex designer HYDRA. It resulted not only in a strong visual output, but also in a collective almost synergic tactile experience of what sartorial latex is, or could become.
What’s been your career highlight?
Finding remarkably talented and humble people I could share my vision with and converse with telepathically on the same wavelengths, but also enjoying unexpected intrusions and philosophical standpoints.
If not your body then, is there anything you would want to leave behind? An artwork you haven't done yet, a book, a bloodline?
If, on the way, I manage to change perspectives and glitch the system… it is already a win.
It's the year 2080 and the two sexes have become obsolete in favour of one single type of human. Describe your perfect evening in.
Osmosis of minds and bodies when the world ceases to exist or metamorphoses to something new.
You have to replace your body with that of an animal or a mythological creature. What do you go for and why?
I would definitely be some sort of a hybrid, so my abilities and powers are enhanced.
You encounter a hostile alien race with an inability to see colour, while sound is their only mechanism for communication. What would you play to them to inspire them to spare you and the rest of the human race?
It would be an intermixture of classical and techno sounds with some infusion of Kablam, Aisha Devi and Cicciolina. Hypnotic and undeniably alluring.
It is the sixth day and you are creating humans. They can look however you want them to. What do they look like and why?
Not sure they will be too humanoid-looking, but definitely hyper-intelligent and sensual. They could change the colour of their skin and face projections, transform into objects and even become a data flow if they feel like it. Each of them will have a built-in glitch that at least once in their lifespan they can experience true collective bliss.