The idea of this project came from a topic about race. So, I decided to do work about my origin. I'm from Poland. The work has a very nostalgic character - at the beginning it is associated with innocent memories of childhood, which are full of magic, colors, memories from under Grandma's table, where Grandma sewed all day for her clients. I was playing under constant working sewing machine. There where huge amounts of cut threads on the floor. Plenty of different fabrics with patterns.
It was my world. Colored threads, patterned materials. Only then, when you grow up, the magic suddenly disappears somewhere. As we grow up, we all notice that life is not as easy as we thought. We learn about different stories that make a great impression - suddenly we see the same reality or the same things in a completely different light. The same with the pattern, which is for me at the same time a representation of beauty, idyll and child innocence - as well as the negative side of some difficult moments in life - which for my great-grandmothers was, for example, the time of war and keeping her daughter hidden in the barn for all year from the Germans . But “Life is beautiful”. I remembered the movie in which the father played by Roberto Benigni hid the horrors of war throughout the entire film from his 4-year-old son. He made it fun because he knew that this experience was not for a small child. If everyone acted knowingly, knowing what we create around us, or how we have an impact on others and our surroundings - there would be no wars and a lot of joy.
Since then, I have consciously searched for magic in life and stopping in contemplation, I realized that we create our reality.
The process of working on the painting. First, I created a background on which I wanted to paint characters from an old photo. In this case of my family. What is race? It is a label, a frame that we like to hold on to ourselves - identify ourselves. I try to be out of it. I decided that the painting will be blurred– just like the picture - The past disappears, but it leaves traces and influences. I mean not only beliefs, but also ways of being – behaviors and reactions - that are passed down from generation to generation. Maybe tradition is beautiful at times when it comes to art, but sometimes it holds you in the narrow of thinking and lack of choice. No choice in what you believe, what you wear, or how you style your hair. If the whole world were arranged and invited in their own way, there would be no room for others - that's what Hitler did.
The only thing you can design is yourself. We are the creators of ourselves.
It is all included in the base of my image. A foundation made of patterns. Patterns symbolize - repetitiveness, the nature of the mind, which likes to entwine in ones thought and stubbornly sticks to one path, one solution, one view, one faith. The mind is afraid of new and changing trajectories, it is afraid of experience, and this is because its task is to keep us alive. I wonder if any life would be possible without a pattern? Patterns are everywhere - in music, in nature, in cycles …
I see conditioning in the patterns. Without a formula there would be no life - this is the recipe - formula - the track is to be repeated. It is necessary - it is the collection that does not roll - it is galaxy. We fall into various vortexes - especially the emotional ones - we fall, we fall - instead of being just observers - we fight in a storm of euphoria or anxiety.
Returning to the technique I used. I used acrylic paints to make the background. I imprinted the stencils on the image from a specially created mass - 1 tablespoon of flour, 1 tablespoon of PVA glue and 1 tablespoon acrylic paint. The stencils depict traditional old Polish laces, as well as the pattern of fabric for skirts that grandma had in the basement in a large basket with materials in which I rummaged every week looking for inspiration. digging up some memories - for grandma - to spend time with her. I loved it. Until now, I am such a hunter in the attics looking for memories, nostalgia and longing some strange for what has passed.
I believe that clothes have energy - sometimes I put on my old clothes - but this is the assumption of old energy. because there is a memory of the past in them. That is why my work included a skirt, from which the madness with patterns began.
Painting is a process – It is not only technical problems, but also the whole thought process that accompanies it. I wanted to paint this picture from an old photo to be a filter and a link to what has already passed with the present. Through indistinctness - I wanted to express the instability of the material world, and even the nullity. I wanted to show how everything is in some sense an illusion. That's why I like paintings by Norvegian Artist Tor- Arne Moen, Gulia Andreani and Gerard Richter. In their paintings it's not important who is in the picture, the characters are blurred, disappear in the past in the streak of light. Where in Gerard Richter’s paintings – blurriness serves as a perfect general metaphor for memory, its degradation. It raises reflection on the fact that everything passes, that we should focus our attention on the world of sensations and emotions, which we still need to learn a lot about, and not in the material world.
When the painting was finished, I sow in it a tiny almost invisible cotton threads to the canvas. They reminds connection with old and new and at the same time fragility of life.
I painted after taking pictures with my sister. Doing this work with her was a very important element, because she is a family. She grew up in the same house, we share memories. But each environment you grow up in has a different impact on different people. Therefore, in the pictures we are in different colours.
By repeating the sitting position like in my great-grandmother's wedding picture - I wanted to reflect how the past of our ancestors influence us. Also, nostalgic influences from Polish folklore – laces stamped on our bodies - they are like an imprint on our lives that we carried - through invisible. I wanted to tell the history of humanity of the last century. This project was a journey from personal to universal discoveries. My Great – grandmother was born in 1900. This project tells a story which begins with tradition and leads to globalization. From innocence to guilt or distraction, from natural to artificial. I like what Tor- Arne Moen said: “This subject also refers to the fact that there has been an unbelievable development in the world through the last generations. Everyone can remember that very much of the world as we know it now was different. Relatively young people remember the time before the internet and the mobile phones, and the grandparent generation may tell you about the time when it was rare to see a plane in the sky.”
In next few paragraphs I will be writing why my thoughts sank into what folk art is and what craft is. Then after technological and global mass production of various household goods, after which we lost ground and connection with nature. We no longer needed to make our own clothes, grow food, make furniture and jugs, because everything was at our fingertips in the supermarket. Further following the self-fulfilling science fiction, I was reflecting on the hidden spirituality in the movie Avatar. What it brings and what our generation tells us or warns us about, what mistakes we have committed through ignorance. What art can make and change in the consciousness of recipients, what role it plays - I want to write about modern shamanism in art. At the end I would like to think about what the information does and what power it has – based on text by Slavoj Zizek, who writes about recent events in the world and how it relates to the part of my work in which I am buried with wires - information that is like a virus - like patterns on my body - because we don't know what the truth is any more, confusion remains. Art is to restore balance and return to our nature, inside, to silence or stillness, to be calm in the face of disaster. Like the heroine of the movie Melancholia by Lars von Trier, who, knowing that something bad is about to happen and all the earth is to disappear as a result of the collision of two planets - discovers the meaning of life in being here and now, she did not deal with nonsense such as stress, fear, escape that didn't make sense. she accepted, surrendered to what is.
If we decide that the universe is neither friendly nor unfriendly and that god is playing dice with the universe, then we are simply victims to the toss of the dice and our lives have no real purpose or meaning. But if we decide that the universe is a friendly place then we will use our technology, our scientific discoveries and our natural resources to create tools and models for understanding that universe. Because power and safety will come through understanding. Its workings and its motives. God does not play dice with the universe”. Albert Einstein. Natives of Pandora are able to listen to nature and surrender to divine will. The film provides us with lessons on how we can restore life on earth to a natural way of being through the proper use of prayer, ceremony and understanding that we are all connected through our thoughts and feelings. Humans are incredibly destructive. We must change our behavior. Economic imperialism is a disaster and exploitive and it's time to collectively find a better way to express that desire to create and expand in a harmony with all of life...
While working on this project, we were in an atmosphere of anxiety - I am thinking of recent events related to the prevailing virus on earth.
At the beginning I compared bad thinking habits, behaviour to patterns like viruses or epidemics. And we have many of them. I would like to quote the last text titled “Coronavirus is "Kill Bill"... by Slavoj Zizek:
“The ongoing spread of the coronavirus epidemic has also triggered vast epidemics of ideological viruses which were lying dormant in our societies: fake news, paranoiac conspiracy theories, explosions of racism. “ But on the other hand while we are reading it comes something positive – that the positive “epidemic is also possible. It is like a second look on other side of the same medal. “But maybe another – and much more beneficial – ideological virus will spread and hopefully infect us: the virus of thinking about an alternate society, a society beyond nation-state, a society that actualizes itself in the forms of global solidarity and cooperation. “
Also, he reflects that it is sad that we need a catastrophe to make us able to rethink the very basic features of the society in which we live.
So, it’s not only the state and other agencies that will control us, we should also learn to control and discipline ourselves. Maybe only virtual reality will be considered safe and moving freely in an open space will be restricted to the islands owned by the ultra-rich.
“But even here, at the level of virtual reality and internet, we should remind ourselves that, in the last decades, the terms “virus” and“viral” were mostly used to designate digital viruses which were infecting our web-space and of which we were not aware, at least not until their destructive power (say, of destroying our data or our hard-drive) was unleashed.
What we see now is a massive return to the original literal meaning of the term: viral infections work hand-in-hand in both dimensions, real and virtual.”
Thanks to this project, I discovered a narrative of connections - personal experiences with the universality of experience for all. We are united by emotions and feelings. We all experience them. Experiences make their mark and I want to tell the story about it and to free from it and not identify with it, because we are different from moment to moment.