Phantoms (1993)

(The text was published in exhibition catalogue: Jerzy Bereś, Grodzka Gallery, Lublin 1994)


In my whole activity, I treat as a dialog with a world surround, Phantoms were and they are a testimony of my “agreement” with a nature. When I have come in a contestation with a civilization, and this in edition of the totalitarian regime of Polish People’s Republic, measured its successes by numbers of smoky chimneys, nothing but a nature should be ally. But this case, on the turn of the years 1950 and 1960, was not so simple. Ecology today become an obvious argument, and ecological artists often fall into publicistic superficiality, and they transfer (displace) to the gallery, for example, a tree split by thunderbolt, various grasses, they maltreat various plants at lamplight, torture ants or other animalcules, claiming that they achieve their mission in defence of so-called natural surroundings.

The pathetic (dramatic) beauty of virgin forest depends on that nearby beautiful, live trees stand or lie dead, rotting woods. Transfer a dead wood from a forest to the gallery space is something like “botanical mortuary”. The ecological drama lies in invisible infect the all, that is alive or in unreasoning felling trees without taking care of seeing to plant new ones. The sentimental hipocrisy is after all in imperceptibly a fact, that from the beginning of mankind wood was, it is and it will be the splendid material used to produce instruments and various objects.

So, Thus the first settlements in this my dialog with a nature consist in this I will not practice “mortuary” or something like wood plasticity, outraged pure nature, or they will not be objects-products. It will be the aim for coming back to life stems and branches, as pieces of nature, in another form, in a form of artworks. The result of my full agreement with a nature or co-operation indeed was the last PhantomGreat Phantom, originated in Puławy in 1966. It represents a protest against arrogance of industrial civilization. However, before it had happened the other Phantoms, they were in a friendly dialog with unartistic man’s production at another more important stages of evolution of culture and civilization. It is signalled by the titles: Phantom Plough, Phantom Crane, Phantom Cart.

20 November, 1993

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