A LAMP WITH A TIN SHADE. ON PAINTINGS BY JACEK WALTOS (Lampa z blaszanym abazurem. O obrazach Jacka Waltosia)
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The topic of this article are three oil canvases by Jacek Waltos featuring the motif of the home: Great Improvisation - Small Stabilisation (1975), Awaiting, Ecstasy, Resignation (1977) and Threefold Pieta and the Fourth (1980). As a member of the 'Wprost' group the artist declared the realisation of painting involved in social issues, commenting on contemporary reality with the assistance of figurative depictions endowed with unambiguous contents. The works by Waltos are, against the backdrop of the 'Wprost' oeuvre, distinguished by their distance towards speaking unambiguously and a direct portrayal of the world. Their characteristic features include a sui generis lyrical approach and a sublimation of the form and contents. The originality of these depictions consists of a presentation of interpersonal relations transpiring in the scenery of the home. Each of the discussed canvases displays a lamp with a tin shade; by possessing a concealed meaning it constitutes a symbol of the space of the Sacrum. The lamp and the portrayed figures share different relations. In Great Improvisation - Small Stabilisation the soaring male figure consistently realises his wish to come closer to the lamp, despite the fact that the bulb is not shining. Awaiting, Ecstasy, Resignation features a contrary situation, since it is the rendered figure of a person, or more precisely, a woman sitting in an armchair, which assumes a passive attitude, while the glowing lamp, hanging from the ceiling, is located in the direct proximity of the sitter. Both motifs are focused in Threefold Pieta and the Fourth, in which kneeling figures assume an active stance and the lamp, once against suspended from the ceiling, draws them forth from the semi-shade. This, in turn, suggests a reference to so-called vertical relations, which connect the figures with empirically inaccessible space that corresponds to the idea of the home conceived as axis mundi and identified with a site that renders possible a link with God.
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