Confined space. The story told., ODA Centre for Artistic Practice, Piotrków Trybunalski
series of works on paper, watercolour, size 31 x 41 cm each
Paintings in the watercolour technique are usually associated with the delicacy of colours and subjects as well as decorative aesthetics. However, in this series, the artist passionately went beyond these conventions. She portrays the situation of oppression acutely intensified by the conditions of the epidemic. She had never painted watercolours before, but in oil painting she had already developed her immediately recognizable style of figurative, narrative imagining, saturated with emotions and intense colours. Her visual stories use the suggestiveness of film frames revealing their metaphorical potential. In The Virus of Loneliness, something else comes to the fore with all its power – an exploration of difficult, and sometimes even toxic, relationships between an adult daughter and an elderly mother, close to a psychoanalytical session. The narrative gradually shows how reality thickens with emotions and expressive deformations, moving from a matter-of-fact observation to a dramatic scream of a person surrounded by obligations and being locked in an existential trap.
The virus of loneliness has been attacking old people for a long time. They don’t need a pandemic to confine them to their homes. Too high stairs, illness, depression or lack of interest in the world are enough. They last tottering between the four walls, with the deafening roar of the TV, because hearing is no longer the same. Sometimes they water the flowers, sometimes they forget to eat something or take medicine. They cannot live, they cannot die. Someone takes care of them, cares for them, giving up on their own lives.
You can go on like this for many years. I know a person who quit life 40 years ago. She does not need or want to engage in anything, she is supported in every aspect of her everyday life. This was the reason why she gave birth to a child – “so that in old age someone would serve her tea.” Caring for old parents during the pandemic had to be doubled. The double fear of infecting them with anything, the growing emotions, the suffocating feeling of being trapped – sometimes slightly poisoned the tea.