Studying Art – Diary (4) – ‘Enfer’

This video introduces a new term of the second year of my study. The first term has been quite an emotionally and mentally challenging period. Suddenly, all confidence I naturally possessed had vanished almost without a trace. And all due to simple questions I was expected to answer: ‘what’s the meaning?’, ‘what are you trying to convey?’. And my immediate, the most honest answer-question: ‘Do I have to communicate anything?’, ‘Is that communication really that important at all?’. Obviously, I’ve been ensured that, in order to ‘survive’ as an artist one has to have a strong, attractive idea-concept and should be able to put it eloquently in words… Just like a soldier on a mission – know your password and be ready to recite it each time of day and night to everyone asking for it.

And I’ve been grumpy consequently denying the ‘revelation’ of what I’m exactly having on my mind; sensing that I have the right to do this. I don’t want and need to be led by any concept, any cluster of words or -isms. I need freedom of balancing between different possibilities, different semiotic universes. In this very reality, being stuffed like a Christmas turkey with self-assuring, cocky and terribly empty messages I have my right to reject being communicative at all. In a fact, I can make my art an art of anti-communication playing only with popular, culturally fertile imaginary and symbols – just as I’m doing here, in this video.

“Enfer” was much easier to make than to explain, the same can be said of most of my work to date. There is a rich metaphorical layer behind it, but I haven’t invented it, I just keep on projecting my cultural/educational background which I’ve been, quite naturally, immersed in. You can read some of the clues yourself, another may be a sort of a riddle:

– the title – is meant to be ‘too big’ (Tuymans’s tutorial…); ‘Enfer’ – ‘Hell’, I’m not going to clarify what it means to you… It’s quite personal…

– the soundtrack by Z. Preisner to K. Kieslowski’s ‘La double vie de Veronique’ – abstracting from the Polish, my native-land references, the movie is a powerful elegy that can be interpreted on many ways, one possible is that of a role of an artist/creator as a puppeteer manipulating, deceiving and playing ‘god’, the shaky montage of images I’ve employed here may be read as ‘pulling the strings’ activity.

– the canary in the cage is called ‘Birdy”- a meaningful name for readers of W. Wharton’s book (actually, I named the bird having that book – ‘Birdy’ – on mind), in itself is a loud representation of a state of not-being-free, and not being truly conscious of that

– the dancing girl called Miriam – my four-years-old daughter; she is perfectly free – and again, not truly being aware of that; she looks almost the same as I used to being her age; she is an embodied innocence enjoying her dance which I’ve turned into a marionette’s performance (or – did I manage? isn’t it innocent enough to go beyond all sort of manipulation?); she’s dancing among pictures and there is a blank board by a wall – without going too esoteric – the presence of paintings in that performance is a self-ironic detail – they look dead comparing to the actual life going on, the blank space is- for me- the most perfect image

– deliberately blurred imaginary, being in some points almost completely ‘washed out’ or reduced to a negation of itself can be read as the symbol of a vanishing meaning, also as a visualization of feeling of isolation/detachment from the portrayed dilemma, from the reality in general; it can be also a mental, dreamy image being recored from the memory/imagination

– there’s a long black gap at the very end of the video; it continues for about two minutes; while I haven’t meant it it suits the overall message perfectly as ‘Enfer’ functions as a sort of a void, where there is nothing or almost nothing and life is being reduced to a caricature of itself


About kasia

Born in Poland. Lives in Ireland, Cork. Visual artist. View all posts by kasia

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