The general pandemic changed our lives forever and also made it possible to look at ourselves in a completely different way, from the other side.
Being in total isolation, fearful of financial instability and lacking food and funds, I had to reconsider my everyday habits and seriously think about the scale of resources I consumed. Every trip to the grocery store was like a big event. And all modest purchases were recorded, down to even a box of matches.
I had neither the physical opportunity nor the material means to travel to art stores in search of paper or paint. During the peak of the pandemic and the sociopolitical instability in the country, reflection was almost the only way to get through this unknown, more primitive stage of human development.
What emerged was the idea of creating artwork using packaging from food and other household items, which ordinarily would somehow go to landfills. Disassembling packages, boxes and labels, I seemed to enter into a dialogue with objects that a couple of days ago were on my dinner table. Looking at my finished works, pieces of plastic and cardboard inside them, I returned to that point of realization that a happy life does not require so much. Often, you can find the most valuable things at your fingertips. Often, the simplest things can lead you far beyond the properties and capabilities attributed to them.
Though quarantine restrictions in the city eased after several months, I clearly understood how difficult it would for me be to return to the offline space again. I had got used to being in my small apartment, but at the same time was craving to meet friends, for forays into the city and nature. I wanted to be in the thick of things, yet was terrified of being in the spotlight for a long period of time, and even a month after vaccination, I still have mixed feelings towards real people in physical space.
However, I was very happy to have the opportunity to share my experiences with other people through the workshop, as even after the pandemic stabilized, the number of events in the city has noticeably decreased. I managed to gather a small group of seven people, consisting of people of various professions (doctors, lawyers, designers, social workers) who were all, in one way or another, engaged in socially oriented activities, from educational and charitable projects to volunteering and humanitarian or legal assistance for vulnerable groups of the population and so on.
Together we created works that reflect the spirit of our time, voice the urgent problems of society – inequality, mental health, discrimination – and also speak to us about the culture of consumption and respect for natural resources.
And I am also very glad that my artistic practice has ceased to be just a subject of visual aesthetics, but has evolved smoothly into a platform for discussions, exchange of ideas and experiences. A process in which you do not need to be a “true” artist to create, where any kind of background is valuable and unique. Where every story can find its voice and be heard . . .
In conclusion, I would like to thank everything that helped me overcome months of isolation and the things that radically changed my attitude to life . . .
I want to thank the cornflakes for making me happy in the moments after a long day of work. I want to say “thank you” to the mineral water, which always refreshed me on hot summer days in the kitchen. Thanks also to the matches, which helped me learn new recipes. Thanks to every piece of curd cheese, which, albeit only a little, protected me from stress and a general fear of an unknown future, pleasing the eye every time I looked into the fridge . . .
And thanks to 2020 for the opportunity to rethink my life, to find new landmarks. For the opportunity to stop and look at myself from the outside, dropping everything unnecessary in this incredibly complex and contradictory world.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you . . .