The following text is an excerpt of ‘The Meeting’ essay that I wrote in 2014.
Stone as hard as granite and like no other material reminds one of personality since it
seems to have a will of its own. I want and must allow some space for this will of matter with which I collaborate. I have my own version of a block that I want to implement into life by removing the superfluous material. Stone strives for synthesis. If you allowed it, it would unavoidably stay nestled in the slope of its maternal mountain. If it could, it would remain in the form of a non-uniform block. If it could, it would still exist closed and timeless – closed out of time, and it would not be abstracted. Hence, we meet each other.
Our two worlds meet. Twenty three years after my birth and almost three hundred million years after the Strzegom massif had been created in the area of the Sudetes in Poland. Two hundred and ninety million years! You have witnessed how the Earth was created. Did you see the hand of God that separated the light from the dark? Did you see how He separated the waters under the firmament from the ones above? Did you see the origin of plants and living things? Did you witness the first human Godlike acts? Did you see the origin of culture? Tool in hand I stand before you in order to lead you through this evolution of culture. Did you hear when Adam called out the creatures by name from the void? Today I call you by name and define your fate anew... .
Man can only explain the origin of forms in culture to a certain extent. Can he
evaluate them? He has defined beauty since the dawn of time according to various criteria. Can he be objective and state that a certain epoch was closer to beauty than any other one? If I had asked an ancient Greek sculptor of the classical age what he would have associated with beauty, he would have answered with one word: harmony. If I could have asked the builders of Reims Cathedral the same question, they would have certainly indicated the immense spread of stained glass that decorate the temple and I would have understood that they saw beauty in God embodied in the light. If I had asked such a question walking through a Parisian square during the French Revolution, I would have provoked an argument between a Classicist and a Romanticist whether beauty lies in the genial human mind or if it is more like subliminal human feelings.
Any epoch can puzzle you with its variety of great forms and I do not dare state which one is closer to the ideal. However, man still strives for the ultimate answer, the proper one. You should seek it out of time, ask those who are not entangled in history. You should ask those who stand in front of history’s gateway handling the origin of history and the chain of culture.
Thus I will ask the “eternal man” – Prometheus Adam after the poet: “What do you know of beauty? – It is the shape of love.” So I would seek the answer in Plato’s combination of right, truth and beauty. As there is some truth in the combination of right and beauty. However, I do not know how it relates to my sculpture work. Blind in the darkness I look for answers to those eternal questions, seeing myself merely at the bottom of the Sisyphean mountain conscious that every time I find the answer at the top of the mountain, those questions will roll down like stones and wait at the bottom of the slope to be asked again.
In my eyes history consists of passing as well as replacing the old with the new.
People pass, new human beings come, civilisations disappear and are substituted by new and stronger ones, gods pass together with their religions. Time flows like water, the perishable is turned to dust while relics of the past and traces of past cultures
remain – objects and words are more durable than stone. I look with respect at the column of rock – this symbol of my ‘wrestling’. It has seen so many epochs before me, will it see any more? Will any man in the future decode this trace of human thought which cast a spell on the stone and will he transmit to the future the values that are more durable than the future itself?
(Translated from Polish by Katarzyna Chodorowska-Zdebiak)