Elżbieta Boniecka-Milowicz

ELŻBIETA BONIECKA MILOWICZ graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk in 1982. She studied at the Faculty of Interior and Industrial Design. She practised painting under the tutelage of a great master Prof. Kiejstut Bereźnicki. Since graduation she has mainly occupied herself with easel and oil painting, employing a range of techniques: multiple layering, combing watercolours with dry pastels and pencil drawing. She designs and arranges interiors. The artist’s paintings and drawings can be found in national and private collections, both in Poland and abroad. Elżbieta Boniecka Milowicz has taken part in many domestic and foreign exhibitions. She has been a member of an artist group "Try'kot" since 2003, “Areszt Sztuki” (The Jail of Art) foundation and EU Art Museum.

Album 2008

Album issued in 2008. 



Catalogue 2000

Catalogue issued in 2000


Hens are pretty

Contributed by Alicja Bykowska-Salczyńska   

środa, 16 kwiecień 2008

On Elżbieta Boniecka-Milowicz's paintings from the 'KURtura' cycle

(translated by Weronika Milowicz)

'I posses about fifty birds, they do live outside, but in the morning they all sit in front of my window waiting for my daily bread. May anyone dare to say a word against them, they are the highest people, they live between air and God, we live between the Earth and grave'i- as Else Lasker-Schüler once wrote. It is a well-known fact that artists love birds and that countless poems, paintings, drawings and graphics abound with ornithological motifs, in their wealth and diversity. Yet, it is a rather rare occasion that the familiar domestic hen becomes an inspiration for artists, let alone a heroine of a whole cycle. However, already in the 17th century hens perched on the canvases of a Dutch painter, Melchior d'Hondecoeter, or the Gdań„sk-born, Daniel Schulz the Younger. Later they were flying in Marc Chagall's oneiric and surreal visions. In our times they have been remarkably upgraded, alighting for instance on Now Gallery, in New York City itself (as a part of Jacek Tylicki's project 'Chicken and Art')

 Still, it does require courage and distance towards oneself to make the hen, a starting point for an artistic reflection on the condition of the contemporary woman, as Elżbieta Boniecka-Milowicz did in her latest works. She was born in Gdań„sk, where she studied painting under the tutelage of Prof. Kiejstut Bereźnicki, at the Faculty of Interior and Industrial Design. Elżbieta Boniecka- Milowicz, who has been related to Olsztyn for over twenty years, is a painter, a graphic artist and an interior designer.

 The very title of the exhibition - 'KURtura', proposed by the artist, already amazes and provokes. An amusing neologism in Polish. (It is a combination of 'KURa' - hen and 'KULtura' – CULture, tura – a group) ii So, 'KURtura' takes on the meaning 'hen cultivation', 'hen supply' and also 'a batch of hens'. Could it really be about 'hens' culture', the world as seen from hen's point of view? Do you compare a woman to a domestic hen? Well, there you go: I am her – 

the artist seems to be telling us from the cycle of her oil paintings on canvas and board, in which she employed a mixed technique, combining pencil drawing and dry pastel, paying special attention to detail and metaphorical message.

 The paintings form a teasing, jocular tale, even satirical at times, about the inner world of the contemporary woman, aware of her needs and desires and not caring about the deep-rooted stereotype of docile, meek and 'domesticated' femininity. Elżbieta Boniecka-Milowicz invites viewers into the world of her imagination by means of her artistic fantasies, in which the human and bird forms bewitch us with the elegance of their discreet line, or sometimes violent, sweeping, fluent and ecstatic.

 Motion and fickleness are the main features of this teasing and suggestive feminine anthropology. The hybrid figures of nude women-birds suddenly burst out from discreet sepia-toned background, which reminds us of the mood of old photographs.

 In her imagination the artist shapes original and mysterious creatures, smoothly combining elements of different bird species and varieties that range from hens' fleshiness to herons’ beaks, swans’ necks, pelicans' stomachs and thighs. The creatures are imbued with erotic symbols and put together from elements of biological corporeality, whirling hair, feathers, wings, beaks and claws. At times, they are blunt, erotic and lecherous in their expression, at other times they are dreamy, fabulous and mythical. These phantasms, having a peculiar unreal nature, are all full of vigour, passion and vital forces.

 Some of the hens in Elżbieta Boniecka-Milowicz's paintings evoke a smile, like the one depicted in 'The Bird with Eggs', which is standing over her nest, clearly confused, perhaps displeased. She is not laying eggs, as she should be. Her essence comes down to being a torso, a trunk with a head and atrophied wings. Another example is 'The Pecking Birds' - in which the hens and the chicks are leaning over scattered grain, as if they were peering into the depths of the universe strewn with stars. The hens often raise cordial laughter, just like the one in 

'The Hunting Bird' , which is so avid for the food of love, that her exposed breasts with sharp nipples are swooping down, in defiance of the laws of gravity. 

 The distance, the humorous inverted commas, the satirical allusion, which at times evolves towards the grotesque, the ironical glance and the courage of self-mockery make the presented cycle compelling. It draws attention not merely with the abundance of colour, but with the inherent, jocular and at the same time caring way of thinking about the condition of the contemporary man, 'without' , as Mił‚osz said, 'exposing the viewer to sublime agonies'.

 Watching Elżbieta's works from the 'KURtura' cycle, we are witnessing the evolution of her animalistic-feminine portrayals, ranging from works in which hens are simply beautifully painted birds, to metamorphoses that help them become creatures form dreams, fairy tales, mythology ('Ikar' – the only painting presenting a man) or turn into mystical beings – angels. The angles - often controversial, with provocatively marked attributes of feminine corporeality and sexuality, are lyrical in other paintings, carrying on their back a swirling burden of sensations and life experience. They are rooted in the Earth and in heaven at the same time, in reality and in dream: „feeling and thinking flesh”.

  The 'KURtura' cycle is an expression of Elżbieta Boniecka-Milowicz's new artistic pursuits. Since 2003 she has been related to an artistic group 'Try'kot' and the European Art Museum. The artist has been presenting her works at many domestic and foreign exhibitions (among others in Germany, France, Italy and Canada) for many years. Earlier she did oil paintings depicting gloomy moods and imagination full of figures of fear and mysterious anxiety: ghostly paintings of the Wigry monastery, castle ruins, crumbling mountains, dreamlike visions, inner landscapes made of tissue, blood cells, neurons, winding paths leading into the void, tangled and narrow. 

 This time we experience an artistic proposition of a different kind. Unlike the woman-hen, in the poem by a contemporary poet Agnieszka Dahlke, who is loaded with shopping bags stuffed with products from sale and „returning from a hunt” by bus, the woman-hen-angel presented in Elżbieta Boniecka-Milowicz's works, embarks on a hunt, armed with the burden of victories and defeats, aware of needs and determined in pursuing her desires. 

 A woman-hen-angel? Why not? After all, stone statues of hens, dating back to Roman times, are still housed in the Vatican Museum and elites in China and Japan are said to be fascinated by raising decorative breeds. Thus, following the words of the painter Leon Tarasewicz - 'Today I would like to persuade you to keep a hen”. Hens are pretty.

Alicja Bykowska-Salczyńska

How come a hen?!

Contributed by Iwona Pavlović 

czwartek, 17 kwiecień 2008

(translated by Weronika Milowicz)

Elżbieta Boniecka-Milowicz has stirred me with her latest exhibition entitled 'KURtura'.

How come a hen?!Well, it is!

The wisest men in this world have been pondering for ages on what came first - the egg or
the hen ...

Ela Milowicz also managed to force me into deeper reflection. The common hen, trivial subjects, simple things, processed by the artist's imagination provide inspiration for colourful painting, with an abundance of beads and lace, for a predatory, pert drawing. How many ways are there to serve such a common hen?

Ela Milowicz portraits her as a careless, coquettish flibbertigibbet, a sedate mother and carer. This very hen turns into a noble, royal bird with elements of a female body, floating, flying off and finally taking the form of an Angel. This angel is not solely occupied with its angelic nature. The Angel is fighting for something, for someone, spinnig expressively in
a dance … , and, after all, that is what I like best.

Iwona Pavlović

On a turquoise leather sofa

Contributed by Iwona Bogdan   

piątek, 28 październik 1994

(translated by Weronika Milowicz)

When Elżbieta Boniecka Milowicz is sitting in front of me on a turquoise leather sofa, a black cat sleeping on her lap and a warm flame glowing under the famous Milowicz teapot, it seems that I can define her as an intriguing woman of refined beauty and a soul fitting perfectly this incredible interior in which we have found ourselves.

However, one would be mistaken to make such a straightforward judgment. Taking a good look at her works should be enough to realize that. Her excellently composed paintings often shock us with the visions of catastrophe, death, transition and decay. The combination of subject-matter with the lightness of stroke and the gentleness of matter results in a deliberate dissonance. Colours and a perspective of limitless space complement this peculiar, inner landscape. Imagination knows no limits here, and the colour and light become our guides. Sometimes we even get the impression that we have reached the goal, that now we finally know ….. And yet, nature which is coming into being and dying at the same time, remains a great secret in Elżbieta Boniecka Milowicz's paintings. There is also an air of mystery over the women from her portraits. They can be angelic and wicked, innocent and mercenary, delicate and wild, ice-cold and fire-hot. They are staring at us searchingly and it seems as though they were saying: "It's me. Don't you remember me?" And we reply in our thoughts: "Oh, yes, I do remember you. One never forgets a woman like you." And indeed, strangely enough, when looking at the portraits, women are brought to thinking about the romantic premonitions of love, the wonderful scenery of the first dates, that Cupid's wing caress, that anticipation of happiness. Back came the emotional images of rosy-pearly uplifting acts of love, celestial anxiety of first love.From the recesses of our memories there emerges a procession of delicate, affectionate, warm, understanding, elegant men, giving women the feeling of safety and moments of solace in their strong arms. Whereas men, looking at Elżbieta Boniecka Milowicz's paintings, return to passions, which have never died down completely; their diversity, ardour, intensity, spontaneity and passion, the mad, untamed and wild love impulses. The memory of the wonderful softness of a lover's hair, the scent of her body, the delicacy of her skin, all return. Men are as if attracted anew to the distinctness of women, both to the demure ones who smell of summer and green apples, and to those dangerous, fascinating, erotic that make the object of desire. Watching the development of the artist over the years, it is clear, that she is discovering the closer and closer relationships between nature and Man. The merging of background and a model, that peculiar unity is further emphasized by a technically excellent stroke, the contrasts of black and white, the gradations of grey shades and the uniquely logical composition of the works. 

These are the merits of the technically mature, yet still developing artist. The artistic work of Elżbieta Boniecka Milowicz has always contained that element of drama of the present, past or maybe future moment... . It is both menacing and delicate, but most of all mesmerising. Uniquely mesmerising. Just like the artist herself.

Iwona Bogdan


About the Artist


  1. -Interior design

  2. -Painting

  3. -Drawing

  4. -Industrial design