While working on „Krzyżowieniec. Nikt na nim psów nie powiesi” I was painting an ordinary individual – everyman, a character whose traits each of us carries. And then I thought about priests. With their overwhelmingly distinct way of life they embody this type of extremely disconnected people, whom it is difficult to identify with.
It is impossible to perceive the clergy only as the enemies of freedom and modernity in Poland, although they are usually approached with almost divine solemnity, or ignored. One does not enter into a deep relationship with clerics (my friends don’t go out for a beer with a friend priest), as I think… that is how it usually happens … rather without looking at the real work they actually do (I think that Polish society is doing something similar with artists, only associating them with different stereotypes). This idea drove me to extend the reach of the meaning in this painting with the people from the clergy.
In „At the gate of Thebes” I showed a clear space – unspoiled, divine and I have moved a human form onto it. Oedipus at the gate of Thebes has already committed a patricide, his mother lives in the city, towards which he is aiming. Once, when he will learn the truth, he will blind himself and he will go into voluntary exile. I’d like to leave it like that, completely apart from the painting.
“White Flag” tells a story about different ways of practicing chauvinism. I have applied onto canvas, flags and other emblems of being ”saturated” with discrimination, and actively participating in Evil, that man is causing to another man: younger learns from the older, someone wants to be a leader and knows how to do it, someone imitates him, someone gives a safe-conduct to his authority and power.
“Oblivion” is a work about two inseparable things. About passing and constancy. During the process of painting I have lived with what belongs to the past, accepting it as much as I could afford to, with sweet passion for what was best in the past life and with love, with pretensions that scandalized me, and, last but not least, with the old beliefs… each was different as I was gradually becoming mature. And suddenly it hit me, at some point during my work on the painting, a pure, poignant vision of a car accident flashed in me. It wasn’t any particular memory or connection, shocking and determining the future life of this painting, suspended over it with the face of a judgment and casting a new light. I didn’t ignore it, I continued to work. So I inscribed the accident into the painting’s order, and I made it the motif of “Oblivion”.
- Krzysztof Mężyk, Żółty opad, 2012