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EssayMagdalena Sawicka

By Dariusz Vasina

Porcelain doll

As a student of the Academy, I was once helping with my two friends to empty an old apartment at Biskupi Square of belongings of the deceased owner. Everything was to go to the garbage. It was an old apartment in Krakow, with dark brown, heavy, coffin-like furniture. Some of the things were piled up in the central part of the room, like sawdust pulled out of an old doll.

Magdalena Sawicka Magdalena Sawicka

We dived into heaps of trinkets, dresses and laces, abandoned items that once performed a long-forgotten function, filled with suppressed disgust with a tone of sick fascination, accompanying the discovery of secrets that were never ment to be revealed by us. Hats, peacock feathers, silk stockings, buckles and clasps, dull plastic bags with underwear, lacy bras and worn coats. Thick and sweet smell of perfume from Odessa, traces of greasy lipstick. Sophisticated tooth-combs and combs full of hair. Beauty, precision of making, quality of materials and shapes, so typical for the age long gone contrasted strongly with the sweet smell of dust and recent death.

We were careless like children, searching the cabinets when the parents are away. We opened the old boxes and cases with blushed cheeks, smiling raffishly. We looked through old love letters and postcards from boarding house vacations, bringing them back to life. Three young men, penetrating the forbidden world of a mature woman. All this among the thick, cadaverous, molassy smell of decay. The window, covered with greasy dust, gave us a sense of being safely hidden inside. We left the apartment dirty, tired, imbued with the sweet-dirty smell, full of painful and unwanted knowledge, with smiles that were a bit dreadful, not looking each other in the eyes. Like boys that went through their initiation too early. Instead of getting payment, we were allowed to pick something in reward. A. took an astonishingly beautiful chromed lamp and a dynamo from Prague. O. took a small metal box with a semi-pornographic moving scene. I chose a small porcelain doll, missing the upper part of her head, which I immediately gave away, winning a momentary favor of the recipient. Why am I telling you this on the occasion of this great exhibit?...


Professor Dariusz Vasina - A fragment of the introduction to the exhibit of Magdalena Sawicka.