Teodor Durski   »

Teodor Durski is certainly not keen on the poetic of excess. His work is not the manifestation of picturesque 'happening' either. On the contrary, the figures in Durski's works are depicted in the petrified monumentalised form. We can easily notice, however, that there is a kind of 'active passiveness' caught, like in the journalist approach, in the dramatic moment of 'entrance' and 'exit', ups-and-downs, triumph (even if an apparent one) or failure, the sublime or degradation. A clear pose or gesture of silhouettes evokes the feeling of emotionally dynamic inertness.

Durski seems to be interested in what defines human existence - even if its only traces are clothes the man was taken out of - and the way in which the man (and presumably the Author himself) manifests his existence, his uniqueness in some situations, frequently extreme, independent of him and due to be estimated by others. Thus in the background of the works there are mythological, religious plots and the interest in eschatological motives. The figures are thrown into the specially constructed, marked by the determinants of perspective, atmosphere of austere architecture, into the schedule of cubist forms and space of gloomy tombs.

The artist is aware of the fact that the presence of man is fully manifested only in the contact with other humans, in the communion of gestures of both love and hatred. However the characters of these graphic works are literally and metaphorically alone, they are stuck in an absolute void, the external world does not sympathise with their drama, merely registers the results frigidly. The human presence is only symbolically marked in the visual layer.

The omnipresent palms (arms) accompanying the images of figures, often presented like in the futurist relation of overlapped gestures, following the interpretation of what they symbolise, become embracing, blessing or supporting, or ordering and punishing, and they are both able to raise you up or to thrust you down. Both in the past and today human fate is spread between the vision of fall and resuscitation. In this way of recognition of the world there are certainly some echoes of the existential tradition in which a character, put into the reality and struck by external forces, gradually becomes the subject of cruel vivisection.

The presented cycle of works allows a variety of interpretations. We are also convinced about it considering the form of works Durski has chosen - cohesive, determined, close to the means of expression of an intervening poster and in spite of this, far from gathering the elements imposing literality and univocality.

Owing to the prevailing use of contour technique and surface application of colour (though there are also forms modelled by light-and-shade technique) Man - the main subject of the Artist's interest, becomes almost a symbol which is the figure deprived of its realistic environmental context and shown without any traits of specificity and individualism.

It is stressed by a specially selected form of the main motives - sculptural, as if cut out of a stone block, endowed with the features of nearly archaic or antique hew. The sophisticated drawing going away both from a pop art line and from an academic study makes the form clear and convincing.

Colour is the undeniable advantage of Teodor Durski's graphic works. Colour surfaces are arranged with great sensitivity. The Author, developing his skills, studies all possibilities created by a varied colour composition. He works out a variety of colour versions of one work, from those based on the contrast of blue and yellow-orange values, up to the ones dominated by reds, more homogenous yet different in tones and temperature. The outstanding effects are - especially at the stage of recognition of the material in the early works - the result of experiments with colour, format, weight and texture of papers, trying various drafts of a motif, picturesque washes of paints on the matrix, spraying, making iridescent prints. Therefore in one work there are surfaces which are brilliant and mat, smooth and textured, drawing- and painting-like in their character. All the graphics are characterised by a skilful workshop, perfection and anticipation of still new opportunities.

If we consider the work of the young artist, what is worth admiring here is his ambition to develop his workshop and his means of expression, to choose and reduce in order to obtain a value of noble simplicity which is frequently louder than the seemingly attractive excessive expression. Thus the works are deprived of any immoderate exaltation and at this stage of creation they keep balance between the emotional and intellectual factor.

Dariusz Le.nikowski

Translated by Elżbieta Rodzeń-Leśnikowska