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Paweł Żak
Untitled. 2010
Untitled. 2010
Untitled. 2010
One day the Man realised he was dreaming. This was strange because he had never dreamt before. He would fall asleep and wake up a few hours later as if nothing had happened. This time, however, it was different. The Man realised he was in a place that he had never seen before. He looked around and listened out, but nothing seemed familiar to him, nothing even resembled the familiar in the slightest way.


He was in a big empty space. Bright light spilled like milk, a gentle breeze blew, and the air smelled... of something nice. The space was filled with a delicate mist, so lightweight as if it did not exist at all. But it did exist – moved by his breath, raked up by his fingers, it whirled gently, enveloping his body. It was there, here and now. The Man stretched out his hands and realised that everything was of the same colour as his own skin. ‘This is my world, I’m at home’, he told himself blissfully.


On another night the Man stood in front of the mirror.

‘Why won’t you look at me?’ he asked. ‘Don’t you really want to talk to me?’

The mirror said nothing. Always cool, stubbornly one-sided in relationships, unmoved, it concealed its emotions from the world. The Man waited. Then he also turned away.


‘It’s incredible! Meeting here?! That’s fantastic!’ they shouted over each other. Dice, all the same and yet each one different.
‘Incredible! Fantastic!’ the noisy bunch just could not contain their joy. Disoriented, the Man looked around.
‘Do we know each other?’ he asked hesitantly.
‘Of course!’ they replied enthusiastically.
‘We’ve met many times before, but never at your place. That’s incredible!’


‘Don’t do it!’ the Man shouted. The glass stopped at the last moment. It shook inside, quivering, sobbing.
‘Wait a moment, talk to me. What’s happened?’ the Man asked calmly.
‘There used to be someone in my life and now he’s gone’, it replied, weeping. ‘I wanted to share myself and that which is best in me. But now he’s disappeared, he’s gone!’
‘Don’t make rash decisions’, the Man asked. ‘It sometimes happens so that people who are important to us go away, disappear, turn away from us. That is a lesson and a treasure for the future – you can now be even fuller for the Single Most Important Person whom you are yet to meet’.
The glass hesitated, sighed deeply, and eventually its agitation passed off. Filled with calm, it moved and stood next to the Man.


‘Just one more step, one more stair...’ the Man kept telling himself. He clambered upwards, licking his fingers from time to time as he grabbed hold of the sweet-and-sharp edges. ‘Why am I tormenting myself like that, where am I climbing to, what’s all this wandering about?’ he muttered under his breath. A sweet smell hung in the air, not as sweet, however, as the delicious flavour of the stairs. The sweetness made him feel stronger and lifted his spirits. Alas, the summit remained far away, the distance virtually not changing at all despite his long climb. The Man sighed. ‘Sweet torture...’


‘Ouch!’ the Man cried, trying to catch his balance.
‘Rascal!’ a perfect red-hot Ball shot towards him. Imperceptibly, it rolled under his feet and he barely avoided a disaster. Two other balls kept a safe distance from the agitated pair.
‘Breath’, whispered an equally perfect White Ball, withdrawing in embarrassment, encouraging the Red one to withdraw too.
‘Together’, said the Blue Ball warmly, looking the Man straight into the eye.


The Man came upon a Red Pencil which proudly displayed its sharp figure.
‘I stand out from the crowd, I have clearly defined goals, I look boldly into the future’, the Red Pencil enumerated with satisfaction. ‘Look, I’m a model to follow for everyone around! And you?’


The Man realised clearly that he was facing something that surpassed all his experiences to date. Before him, plain as a pikestaff, was the Big Dipper.
‘What I see is not always what it appears to me. Something very mundane can suddenly turn out to be not of this earth’.


Ever since I encountered Paweł Żak’s fabulous photographic still lifes (for that is how I think of this – always as of encounters) in 2008, they have spoken to me at important moments. They accompany me, give me cues, explain things to me, we talk. Sometimes they speak clearly, but sometimes I wrestle with them in my mind and it is a long before we reach an agreement. I do not give up, however, and my efforts are rewarded. I wish myself many more such encounters yet.
Karolina Harazim, September 2012
Untitled. 2009
Untitled. 2010
Untitled. 2010
Untitled. 2008
Still life without seven baskets. 2008
The Big Dipper. 2008
Sunday walk. 2010
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