In the middle of Temple Bar, two Polish artists invite us to contemplate the complicated and complex relationship between humans and nature.
Landscape of the Soul, a new exhibition now open to the public at The Culture Box in Temple Bar, features works by Adam Kos and Andrzej Mazur. Entering the building on Essex Street is like stepping into another world – street sounds seem distant, dim white light allows you to relax and concentrate.
However, once you carefully examine the oil on canvas paintings, relaxed is not exactly the word to describe your sensations. As the exhibition’s title suggests, the themes touched by the painters are far from being easy; strong emotions, feelings, nature both beautiful and dangerous – you’ll find all these in those small, dark works of art.
Bright colours are used scarcely, as if not to distract the viewer from finding the meaning behind faceless people, longing stares, or watches measuring the ever-escaping time.
All paintings are accompanied by their titles – and nothing else. No author’s interpretation, no commentary, no explanation. To appreciate the exhibition you have to truly slow down and think.
Who is the man in Contemplation of Nature trying to silence? Is it us, the audience? Is it somebody behind our back? Is he inviting us to be quiet, stop and contemplate the beauty of slowly turning Earth with him, or does he simply want the peace for himself?
What might the person in Breast cancer be feeling? Is it a woman? An angel? A saint? Is she brave or just resigned? Bold, or just bald? None of it, or maybe all?
Whose time is running out in Fading Love? Those lovers’, whose feelings dissolve as the watch goes tick-tock, tick-tock? Or maybe – just maybe – our own?
There are no correct answers here – apart from the answers you come up with yourself.
The Culture Box is open daily from 11am to 4pm. The exhibition runs until the 27th of March, and admission is free. Art lovers will be delighted to find that some of the exhibited paintings can be purchased in the gallery (works of Andrzej Mazur are priced €1,800 per piece).
The Culture Box
12, East Essex Street
Tel: 01 677 2255
All images via Andrzej Mazur Facebook page, © Pawel Babenca