The Observers

Although there are many thoughts and ideas accompanying “The Observers” cycle, the very first feeling which pushed me to start thinking of it was some kind of aesthetic delight which I felt looking on street lamps seen against the sky. They were so clearly cut off from the blue giant in the background, what highlighted the extreme diversity of the material. I also felt their silent companionship to me while walking alone in my district. And thoughts had begun to flow.

Most of street lights I have chosen to paint are wasted and date back from times when in Poland the communist regime had dominated. I view street lamps as tacit witnesses of those times, relicts of the difficult past.

Unobtrusive, static presence of street lamps and other such elements in the surrounding space, with the years started to cause in me a kind of feeling of stability, peaceful companionship of slowly passing co para-lives, which I constantly had by my side. I had seen them when I got up, and when I went to bed. Painting them simply became a natural reflex. The more that they seemed beautiful to me. Their rough aesthetics, colours of rust, dirty steel and mossy concrete are interesting and harmonious, pleasantly contrasting with the sweet sensuality of human imagination.

Street lights found on my works, these superficially raw elements of the industrial landscape became an impulse to take the discussion about our place in the surrounding reality. Invariably, this humanoid shape of street lamps creates the illusion of some beings leaning over us, watching us, standing motionless in some tense waiting. This extrapolation, personifying watched elements induces reflections on our presence in the social tissue and our way of communication with the world.

Are not we similar to them?
How do we communicate?
Do we have enough strength to take at least a step closer to each other?
Can we raise our heads and for a moment look somewhere else than on our piece of place?
Are not we only… the observers?

It is the sad truth about how people differ from each other and how much they are lonely. Though formed from the same formula of dust and spirit, each of us sees the world very differently. We seem, apart from the obvious differences in the genotype, education and the empirical sphere, even in the spectrum of concepts used to describe the outside world so different that, in practice, simply lonely.

Are humans able to get close to someone so that for a brief moment of life interchange something more than food, money or body services?
Who are we in relation to the majority, community, society, humanity?
Are we like the lonely street lights along which energy flows only to light miserable bulb for a moment?
Is it not so that, wired with a rusty web of meanings, we are to stand alone on a concrete pole in one position through our lives, numbed and to be replaced?

I view painting of all my works as very emotional, intimate and sometimes overwhelming process but at the same time giving some kind of unexplained calm due to conviction of doing something which, as my inner imperative urged, had to be done. In fact non-painting would be harder to bear.

As to “The Observers” series, while working on it, especially on lampshades  I felt brushstrokes like… touching those lamps. It was organically pleasurable. Only after few pieces done I recalled something from my childhood. When I was little girl, my grandfather bought one such a big street lamp and kept it in the garage. I loved those moments when I, led by curiosity, sat by it and stroked with my hand that big glass with childish pride of having something so unique. That memory came to me not till I started to create “The Observers”. That is why I think that my fascination and sentiment to street lights has it’s origin somewhere deeper in my mind that I previously thought.