Big and small journeys from and to Poznan | Ryszard Kaja
Curator: Ewelina Muraszkiewicz
Gallery Nowa Scena UAP, Al. Marcinkowskiego 28
Opening: 2.08, 18:00
Thoughtful observer of everyday life
Which of us, driven by curiosity, has not once been tempted to peek at someone’s diary? Break off at least a piece of the innermost thoughts and observations of the other person? Of course, knowing that what we see or read, we don’t necessarily have to like it.
Ryszard Kaja kept a diary for almost his entire life. He meticulously supplemented day after day, providing ample material for posterity to analyze. Initially, Ryszard’s diaries were A6 notebooks in which he wrote down and painted everything he experienced on a daily basis. Over time, they evolved to A4 size and became small, very private, works of art that can be shown not only as an integral whole. Created in many techniques: drawing, painting, collage, accompanied by the author’s comments or simple notes, they give an insight into what was happening in the artist’s life. And he was an extremely thoughtful, sometimes even malicious, observer of everyday life. He put on paper everything that happened in his life. And so we can trace his creative process in the case of theatrical costume designs, set design, stays in Warnów, fatigue of constantly being on the run, moments of peace during numerous journeys with his beloved Leszek or regrets over hard times for smokers.
October 17, 2009 Ryszard stayed in Warnów. On a page from the diary, we see Ryszard, Berndt (a friend from Berlin) and Leszek’s mother, who are wandering through the forest with supplies packed in large baskets. The time spent in the sanctuary of peace on the island of Wolin was disturbed by problems with swelling, which we know thanks to the pasted fragment of the drug leaflet. A synthetic pen drawing in gray and brown colors perfectly reflects the atmosphere of the autumn scene.
June 22, 2009 Ryszard was busy with preparations for one of the scenography for the Grand Theater in Poznań. We see a meticulous list of what should be packed, what else is needed to fully realize the concept. The card in the form of a collage also bears a PKP ticket from Wrocław to Poznań, a fragment of Camel cigarette packaging, a clipping with a poster for “The Barber of Seville” and a large number of stamps that Ryszard loved.
October 29, 2023 Ryszard dedicated to his partner. Leszek sits down in their common apartment in Wrocław at a massive, antique, red table. We see his bust and bare feet in house slippers. He looks tired, which can be confirmed by Kai’s handwritten note at the top of the page that reads: “My Leszek in the evening”. In contrast to the figures and objects, the solid of the table has been trampled flat, without observing the principles of perspective.
June 3, 2009 is Leszek’s name day, but also the couple’s stay in Ukraine. A richly decorated card in the collage technique shows the Mother of God with the Child and one of the patriarchs in gilding. We also see sketches of architecture, a cigarette excise tax or a scrap with the inscription espresso. A shoal of schematically painted fish is provided by Kaja with a newspaper clipping: Sea Fleet of Russia 2009. In the upper left corner there is a woman wearing sunglasses, eating some dish that was not a very nice person because it was summed up very briefly: Dirty Ludochka.
This is just a micro piece of Ryszard Kaja’s world, which we can dive into without remorse caused by voyeurism or meddling. About 200 pages from the journal remain for further exploration, finding favorite passages and getting to know the artist better. And all this focused around the artist’s hometown – Poznań.