Tamara Luuk

Final word

How could the Song of Songs not touch the bright side of beinghuman? After all, it is one of the most beautiful biblical texts about love? It couldn’t, indeed – despite the fact that our time adds its unpredictable alternation of hot and cold to our tender feelings, and the melodies of our songs cannot escape darkness. The artist too cannot escape the darkness, living in a world where the horsemen of the Apocalypse accompanying crises do not gallop but stand like pillars of salt, their gaze searching for green pastures to refresh their steeds. Blooming meadows, peace and contentment, clear affirmation and denial have always been attributed to the past – and this too seems human.

Although the works of younger artists in the exhibition – Krzysztof Piętka’s paintings and Shortparis’ music videos – may not exhibit the same decisiveness of indicative evaluation as one might expect from Raul Meel’s interpretations of Solomon’s Song of Songs or Henryk Górecki’s beautiful and mournful symphony, things are not that simple. A great artist can create a strong artistic image even when it contains the relativity of all kinds of inevitabilities. And both Meel and Górecki display plenty of awareness of relativity. ‘Many of my family died in concentration camps. /…/ You know how it is between Poles and Germans. But Bach was a German too — and Schubert, and Strauss. Everyone has his place on this little earth. That’s all behind me. So the Third Symphony is not about war; it’s not a Dies Irae; it’s a normal Symphony of Sorrowful Songs’, Górecki has said.

In the headers of his Gulag series, which crown the names of cities and settlements turned into crime scenes, Meel has placed a quote from the prologue of Goethe’s Faust, praising the wonder of creation. The title of the series itself is meaningful: They are ours. Prayers. There is no opposition in it, rather, an inevitability of belonging. A self-taught artist, Meel listens to his own heartbeats and steps from series to series, from picture to picture, providing relief to those who experience his prayers, so that they may notice the barely perceptible changes in eternal repetitions.

The message painted by the confident hand of the officially trained artist Krzysztof Piętka is personal and powerful, yet also tinged with anxiety, essentially saying the same thing as his older companions: The place where I live remembers horrors and cruelty, but it is still my home.