Powazki and other English landscape parks (2010/2011)
The pictures of this series were taken at three Warsaw cemeteries (Stare Powązki, Jewish Cemetery, Evangelical Cemetery of the Augsburg Confession) and three Warsaw parks (Łazienki, Park Skaryszewski, Pola Mokotowskie).
The cemeteries were chosen in view of their confessional diversity and the parks – because of a different character of each of them: elegant Łazienki, approachable Park Skaryszewski and definitely recreational Pola Mokotowskie.
Scenes cut out of these six places were mixed up as if they belonged to the same space. Then, they were joined together in order to form diptychs based on analogies between elements found in so different yet so similar places. Therefore a diptych can consist of two pictures coming from the same place, from two different cemeteries, from two different parks or one picture from a park and another one from a cemetery.
I have decided not to name the places in the pictures and not to follow a uniform rule in joining them (like: a park on the left and a cemetery on the right) in order to create a situation in which it’s hard to guess if an image comes from a park or a cemetery, which park, which cemetery. In doing so, I wanted to show the existence of some features common to these apparently different places.
Both parks and cemeteries are places of unceasing confrontation between man and nature, life and death. Man acts like an animal marking its territory. He tries to arrange nature and to dominate it. This is particularly evident in parks, and even in spite of their apparent wilderness, which turns out to be planned too.
In these places marked by human presence, nature, however, gets out of man’s control and, in a gesture of revenge, starts to destroy slowly his artifacts. Also nature expressed in the form of time, leaving its mark on man’s life and products of his activity. The struggle between man and nature becomes then a fight for immortality.
At first glance it could seem that while a cemetery is a place of triumph of nature over man, a park is the one of triumph of man over nature. But his victory is only temporary because at the end of the day, it is nature, with its immutable laws, that stands indifferent to vanishing of man and things he leaves behind.