“What we are able to notice determines our actions. What we fail to notice is of huge importance for the quality of those actions. Through the quality of our actions, we expand our perception,which allows us to see what was previously unnoticeable to us.”
Marcin Berdyszak’s utterance applies to one of his works - the multimedia installation entitled Auto-Oblivion [Auto-Niebyt]. This work, also known as the "vanishing reality", was first shown in 2018 at the BWA Art Gallery in Olsztyn and will be reconstructed at the exhibition in Częstochowa.
The themes of this work are, indeed, reconstruction and deconstruction. By showing the damaged vehicle, the artist simultaneously reconstructs not so much an actual car, as the physical experience of driving it. He does so by projecting the images of the surroundings, visible through the car windows, that escape our attention when we drive fast. The work is also an artistic reference to the important issue of safety.
In his artistic works, Marcin Berdyszak deals with the issue of human actions, the result of which is different from the intended one. More and more often we have to struggle with the consequences of our prior decisions and actions; yet, undesirable changes happen with our permission. Even such a crucial matter as safety, can demonstrate a dark side, after all it limits us and forces us to act in a certain way.
This theme is taken up by the author in another interactive installation entitled Forcing Armours [Pancerze wymuszające] from 2017. These armours are meant to protect us while reading, resting, or praying, but in doing so, they enforce a specific, restrictive body position. Hence, safety becomes oppressive. The installation encourages reflection on the false appearances of safety, openness, and accessibility.
Although very recognizable and characteristic, the works of Marcin Berdyszak are either difficult to interpret or can be interpreted in many different ways. They certainly are an intellectual stimulus for the viewers, who follow the author's vision with curiosity and learn something about themselves and the surrounding world. This has also been the case with the installation realised between 2006 and 2008, titled The Culture of Appropriating the Unexpected [Kultura zawłaszczania nieoczekiwanego]. The installation is composed of nine male figures, gathered around a mound of earth. The figures, cast in polyester, pulsate with the flashing rates typical of police vehicles’ lights. The arrangement of the figures suggests some kind of a search, a need to discover the mysteries of nature, on the one hand; but the title of the installation can be read as a criticism of the unrestrained drive for discovery, on the other.
What distinguishes Marcin Berdyszak's art is the fact that he engages in dialogue with the works of other artists. He purposefully transforms well-known works and themes from the history of art, paving the way to the new possibilities of interpretation. The masterpieces of Tadeusz Kantor or Jacek Malczewski, among others, serve as a source of Berdyszak's creations.
"The Revitalisation of Jacek Malczewski's Vicious Cycle" shown below, currently in the MOCAK collection in Kraków, is a composition of a few isolated figures. They differ in clothing (a uniform, a cassock, a lab coat, a suit) and thereby in their social standing, role and profession. They are most likely strangers, yet they are huddled in a confined space, trapped in it somehow, immobilized in an unbroken circle. Their freedom is superficial, their life is determined by a series of variables and contexts.