Interview by Małgorzata Czyńska
Paintings comfort me in a quiet way. I paint so I do not have to talk. Besides, what is there to say? Each one of them is like a copy of my own skin. I hide behind paintings. I hide in my paintings in my entirety. The only thing is that, to the painting, this does not matter.
My sketch portfolio looks like a pile of messy documents of some employees at a corporation – sheets covered by sketches done automatically. Rarely do I use an entire sketch to create a painting – usually it is only an outline. But I do write down all of my ideas and sometimes I come back to them. On the back of the canvas, I always write the date the work was started and its number at the top of the painting. I do not like titles – they are unnecessary. In a separate notebook, I note every painting and its number. Full and official documentation.
(no. 96) I did not even realize that Christmas had arrived. I was simply painting. It was a star – but only a star, a form, a figure without any connotations. The title, “Oh Star of Bethlehem”, I added later.
I never start to paint because of some event taking place or something that I am going through and I feel like I turning it into a painting. Only later, when I look at the finished work, does everything come back to me. It is a fact that these paintings are a record of my days, however, I will say nothing more of what was happening on that Christmas Eve when I painted the star. I do not want to.
(no. 100) It seems like everything started with a square – that is how I started. The circle came later. I painted four or five squares – this one here was the last. I suddenly felt this was senseless and punctured it through to the other side!
(no. 121) I am not interested in landscapes. Perhaps it is the fault of the city where I live? I have always had apartment blocks outside my window – first in Lublin, now in Ożarów. Emptiness all around as everyone rushes off to work in the morning to Warsaw. The noise of trucks can be heard from the road. Why paint something like this? I do not understand it. I cannot feel it. I do not want to. This is the work of an accident. I painted something. I did not like it. I wiped it off and destroyed it. The paint smeared and spilled. And so a poor grey picture just laid there. I recently stood in the window of my balcony, I looked at the sky, and I saw beautiful sunshine. Right away, in one second, I painted a white circle – my sun in the sky over Ożarów.
(no. 124) I am fascinated by transitions – from day to night, from positive to negative – a thin line, a boundary between zones of light and darkness. A painting sometimes fades away, closes itself, enters darkness, and sometimes it brightens and lights up. Covering and uncovering. Just like playing with shutters in a camera. Light rescues us. Darkness consumes us.
(no. 130) I was painting a white picture with several accents of strong color. This is how I meant it. This is how I felt. But this turned out to be horribly boring. White space escaped me – just disappeared. I started to add colors and became confused altogether.
It is a strange picture. It can lead to insanity. I do not know who bought it but I sometimes wonder how he or she feels when looking at it. This work really strains the eyes. At one point, I had had enough, and I turned it around to face the wall.
(no. 136) The clang of chains and the jarring of cogwheels. A terrifying image, right? I think it must be my accumulated aggression because when I looked at it, I began to feel a growing anger. I think it is difficult to believe that everyone likes it. If I had to describe it, I would say: “quite dramatic but not depressing”.
(no. 143 and no. 144) Do you know that the height of hopelessness is vertical stripes? Just like a barcode on a product past its date of expiration. A dark period in one’s life does not have to mean paintings splashed with black paint. Silver, blue, white, and stripes growing ever thinner, growing ever closer together – that is the end of the world for me.
(no. 146) Sometimes I feel like taking some sweeping action – like daubing something. The process of painting is very slow in my case – almost snail-like. I really had no idea what to do with myself. Complete powerlessness – at least I scribbled on a painting.
(no. 151) I never assumed that I would become a painter. I have done a lot of things in my life – I do not feel like going back to them to recount them. I have been doing nothing but painting for the last two years. For me, it is a matter of life and death, for what else can I do? I go for a walk with my dog across an untamed field behind my apartment complex. It is neither lovely nor ugly here. Just grey.
When I am not pressed for time, I begin work during the late afternoon. I do not need natural light. I like to paint at night. I even painted by candlelight once when my electricity was turned off. Light does not matter.
When I look at this painting, I see that this stage of my career is already behind me, that I am at a crossroads. I paint for now. I do not know what I will be doing in a year.
(no. 159 and no. 160) These paintings wore me out. They seem to be heavy and repressive. Given an excess of circles big and small, a saturation of circles, I began to paint triangles. I finally had to break away from the central point in a painting. The center on and on and on. However, when I have an empty canvas in front of me and I know that, at any moment, I will paint a circle, I begin to manically peer at its center, as if I were aiming for a shooting target. One can go insane.
(no. 164) I have an awful love for triangles. They are like detox after vibrant color forms. I feel the need to paint such simple, clean pictures. At the same time, I am always tempted to add a little color, a little line, and another and another – that will be better.
When I hear that my paintings are orderly, surgically precise, my eyes open wide and I want to laugh. The truth is that I paint with not rigid plan in mind, very chaotically, without end, and the only barrier is the edge of the canvas itself.
(no. 167) I have a feeling that no one likes an arrow because its message seems to be too obvious – it simply symbolizes motions and signals a direction. But look: this is a very nice painting. A super form, and in reality, a great promise and a great unknown, for I do not know what will happen if we go in that direction.
(no. 169 and no. 170) I recently bought a book about the aesthetics of Chinese art and culture: painting, music, poetry. I have not even begun to read it yet. I just leafed through it and happened to come across the question of emptiness. It intrigued me. I began to think right away of the emptiness within a painting: how to capture it, show it, how to not say too much?