Oskar Dawicki’s latest work depicts a group of men suffering the consequences of an unknown gravitational crisis. This is usually caused by too abrupt an ascent from the depths or too violent a descent from the heaves into the atmosphere. In pop culture, especially in cinema, such faces of men usually accompany some heroic deed of theirs, involving a reckless dismissal of their own lives and emotion in the name of superhuman, toxic ideals. Oskar Dawicki is one of the men depicted – he too partakes in this tense and fraught return of men from the abyss of patriarchy back to earth, to ordinary life.
“Men” joins a number of previous works by the artist in referring to masculinity. For Dawicki has in his works repeatedly done everything that men are not supposed to do: he cried, apologised, acknowledged his weaknesses and shortcomings, admitted helplessness, impotence, a sense of meaninglessness and emptiness, spoke about emotional and psychological crises, about depression. He testified to giving up in the face of exacting standards established by his patriarchal predecessors in the field of art. He talked about, on the one hand, rejecting the violent father figure and, on the other hand, longing to create a more tender and empathetic relationship with him.
“Men” is another self-portrait in Dawicki’s oeuvre. This time it is a portrait of the artist in the context of cultural gender. It is an allegorical story of an entire entourage with which the artist identifies. That is, a generation of men, mainly over 40, from creative and progressive backgrounds, who in their childhood and adolescence were socialised to adopt traditional models of masculinity. Models that they later, influenced by the views and attitudes of their partners, attempted to reject. “Men” is a portrait of men living in times of a permanent crisis of masculinity. Men who, despite the tensions and turbulence to which they are subjected, try to look us, the viewers, straight in the eye, imploring for a moment of attentiveness and empathy, for a little bit of warmth.