ViennaMarcin Maciejowski: We are Awesome
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My shows are for me a summation of hours spent in my studio. Their narration is rarely planned from the very beginning, it rather forms from individual events, messages, conversations, thoughts, films – all these individual impulses are potential paintings for me.
During the pandemic, my world was limited to my studio, garden, and online life. However, this was not a big change in my daily routine. I didn’t feel isolated but I felt that the pandemic was blocking me somehow, even though it also gave me a lot of creative impulses. Just sometimes it was difficult to use them in the painting process itself. I wondered what paintings should be painted in times of the global situation with COVID-19. First, when further cultural events were canceled, I thought that maybe none of them. But after a while, it seemed to me that they should be special, important, universal, and meaningful works. It seemed to me that instead of creative fantasies, the situation called for a practical approach to reality. I was very tormented by these thoughts and assumptions. And this did not help me much in painting.
But drawing during that time was easy, almost every day during the lockdown, I was sketching something, I made some diary entries, on pages – intimate, tiny, sometimes funny, I saved the current moment, something that made my day. What was that? The neighbors’ cat broke into the studio regularly and we laughed that he didn’t respect the quarantine rules. Instead of visits, friends were sending selfies with their pets that saved them from loneliness and stress. The adventures of animals have replaced the adventures of people, a bit like in the classic Aesop’s Fables. These little joys and emotional relationships with animals were great material for sketches. Better than media panic. The virtual world assured us that it is very difficult, and we, in social media, assured the world that we could do it and we are awesome.
Everyone wants to be awesome. To keep fit while the lockdown was in progress, I regularly ran on my own treadmill watching documentaries. One of them was “Christian Dior: The Refinement of a Lost Paradise”. I like watching the same movies many times and I liked this one. For a moment, the great tailor became my artistic alter ego, a hardworking perfectionist, completely absorbed in sketching his own fantasies about the perfect look of women. Not practical, but as it soon turned out, at the same time desirable in a modest, post-war reality. I found loose analogies to the present time in this film – the creative energy of Dior was truly inspirational. His way of drawing fascinated me – he drew his own visions all the time. He made dozens of sketches before he put something into practice. And it was close to me, because I drew a lot myself, and at the same time, more and more sketches were waiting in the studio.
For some reason, I expected more from paintings than drawings and sketches, until I returned to my own world without being sure that it fits in global current affairs. I started painting. I found myself in a quiet place where the most important decisions are about what to eat for dinner and which of the sketches await me to start painting today. It’s the best place for the artist and an awesome feeling.
Photo: Marcel Koehler