I’ve Come to Create

I’ve Come to Create
Mirosław Rydzak

Among the so called “learned professions”, the profession of an artist is regarded as the most important one. I had thought so until the time that I decided to become an artist and began to create. However, in my case a surprising thing happened. Being a free artist I became the slave of art. I do not know when or what gift art may demand from me. There are times when, in order to serve art, I turn to calmness, silence and solitude, but there are also times when I fight for art against the established order, destroy the calm and the established laws, and then I return humble to the real world in order to derive my energy from the shapes and colours of nature, only to become immersed in fanciful and abstract forms a moment later. I especially enjoy when my “empress” (the art) becomes favourable to me and allows me to return to nature. At such times I often decide to attend plein-air symposiums of sculptors.
The locations where they are held are unusual and attract people who, just like me, are determined by their creative needs. The energy accumulated at such symposiums is the sum of the individual energies of every and each participant of the meeting. This energy causes that new works of art are created there, whereas in normal conditions such works would take much more time to be accomplished.
This year I participated in two artistic meetings devoted to stone sculptures.
Władysław Żukowski and I represented the Institute of Artistic Education affiliated with the Maria Curie Skłodowska University in Lublin.
The first meeting in which I participated was the 1st International Symposium of Documentary Sculpture that was held in Comblain – au – Point in Belgium from July 3 to July 20, 1995. Among 18 participants there were representatives of Belgium, France, Italy, England, Holland, Sweden and Poland. Sculptors from the Kercal group were in charge of the organisation of the meeting. Their goal was to present to the spectators a sculpting process in effect of which monumental stone compositions would be created. The works of the participating artists could be seen by tourists coming here from every corner of Europe. It turned out that the sculpting process possessed something mysterious and magnetic in it because it aroused great interest.
Each of the sculptors participating in the plein-air meeting had a block of dolomite stone at his disposal but my friend and I chose a completely different method of accomplishing our artistic program. Complying with the organisers’ wish we stayed with the stone – however we did not use the stone that is mined at the quarry but we chose the one that came from the river flowing around the square with sculptures.
I sculptured a three-dimensional composition made of these naturally shaped stones that were washed and rolled by the river currents for thousands of years. I arranged the stones in a pyramid form so that they acquired the meaning of a figural composition portraying a figure of almost a relic character, growing up or arising from the ground.
I sculptured this figure with the intention of incorporating my own artistic vision into the multitude of things created by nature, without interfering in the harmonious and coherent smoothness of the block.
I continued my artistic vision (outside the meeting’s program) in the form of many small sculptures made from a very carefully selected material. I sifted hundreds of stones only to select the ones that had a unique shape and brought to my mind the legends of enchanted and petrified figures.
My work consisted in emphasising natural cavities and rounded shapes, polishing and arranging into one entity that which time and unknown forces seem to have broken up and scattered around.

My artistic ideas were born intuitively and were very much in compliance with the lectures on the genesis, structure and properties of stone, especially the volcanic stones in which Belgium deposits abound.
The International Symposium of Stone Sculpture held in Truskawiec (Ukraine) in August was yet another step in my education of the secrets of stones. Among the 16 participants I met many sculptors who took part in the symposium in Caraix in France last year.
Yet again, Władysław Żukowski, I and other sculptors participating in this artistic struggle faced up the enormous stone blocks in order to create monumental sculptures.
At our disposal we had blocks of limestone and sandstone weighing up to 12 tons. Because of these huge dimensions each sculptor had to demonstrate a perfect technique and craftsmanship in stone processing, and present an interesting artistic idea. Consequently, sculptures of very different forms were created: ranging from stylistic – folklore forms through compositions of symbolic and abstract forms. Wł. Żukowski sculptured a four meter high composition called “The Family” and I created a sculpture called “Three Women”, inspired by beauty and erotica joined with the internal fight between good and evil, love and promiscuity.
For this composition I used limestone because the shape of the stone I chose corresponded with my artistic vision even before I began my work. However, I had to apply the technique that was in complete contrast to the method I used in Belgium. This particular stone was torn from the ground in a mechanical way and apart from a few shells, it did not bear any elements developed by nature which I value so much, especially in wooden forms. The stone needed decisive and intensive processing by means of electric tools.
The sculpture I created required from the spectators their commitment, careful observation, their own judgement and interpretation, and a close look at the correspondence between the form and the content that was implied in the title. The sculpture aroused controversies, disbelief and made the spectators consult their opinions with the artist regarding his intentions. Maybe the sculpture surpassed the expectations of the spectators who, in their majority, were from the countries belonging to the C.I.S. and were brought up in the epoch in which the art of socialist realism was predominant. I saw people who approached the sculpture, walked away and returned after a moment to have a look at a close distance and then again at a greater distance, asking me about the meaning of each detail, and discovering that with regard to its meaning the form of the sculpture is understated and open.
The sculpture was located in the park of this wonderful, maintained at European standards, health resort in Truskawiec. Not far away there stands a bust of Adam Mickiewicz who once enjoyed the beauty of this remarkable spa.

Mirosław Rydzak