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Preferowany język: English polski
Ewa Latkowska-Żychska
Time, what is it?
Text from the catalogue of the 8th International Book Art Festival "TIME" 2006-2008.
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Time, what is it?

When I'm uttering the word future
the first syllable is already going away into the past

 
Wisława Szymborska, Three Strangest Words 

TIME, what is it? What image is the measure of time? Light years – this term guided my imaginations into infinite space. We are lucky to live in times when one can see pictures from these spaces – this has moved me deeply, always.

A few days before I was honoured to chair the jury of the 8th edition of Book Art Festival titled “Time” I had seen a Japanese exhibition titled “Discovering the Time”. The overwhelming variety of presented aspects of time impressed me the most. Among the presented items there was an electronic clock that will not be late in a thousand years and can measure the time even when nobody probably will be interested in it, because the time measured by people is but an episode for other times when mountain ranges grow and are replaced by oceans, when Atlantises vanish and new continents appear. There are past and future times and their exchangeability. This is what a starry sky shows us, which is supposed to be but a projection of what had once been and now is seen by us. And how about dinosaurs' bones? And spiral shells sleeping in marble? And how about future times? “When I'm uttering the word future, the first syllable is already going away into the past” - where are the syllables of uttered words, poems, songs, bell's tolling and the hubbub of our life going away to? Just in the very beginning the lady who guided us through the show presented to the visitors a vision of future when our sun would explode and begin to shrink devouring everything around it. What can we, humans, do with such knowledge?! I think we can easily come back to a normal clock measuring our minutes, hours, days, months, years, seasons, young and old ages.

We can also tell everything we know about time that passes and about this passing that we simply feel in a human way. Time has always inspired artists and the evidences are numerous.

“Time” exhibition is one artistic commentary more to this issue. The present edition of Book Art Festival is a logic consequence of the former one titled “Wandering”. Time and wandering are very closely related.

The artists interpret the concept of time in many ways. Reflections and considerations are most often caused by the past and directly to the past refer Wiktor Chadżynow and Karoline Varin-Jarkowski. To this group belongs also the book made by Grażyna Brylewska, an austere form with strong message, a commentary to poems by Edgar Lee Masters from the “Spoon River” anthology; because we perceive art with all our senses I still remember the piercing rustle of ashen pages of this book-epitaph. Maciej Jabłoński wrote in his statement: “I would like to penetrate the nature of time, get to know the answer why it keeps on passing or at least ask such a question”. His works refer to subjectiveness of time feeling. They have human face – metaphorically and literally. To this group could also belong the book made by Anna Schmidt with the epigraph taken from Marcel Proust: “Time is the essence of consciousness inseparably connected with memory”; she entered some nostalgic images into her book using photography just at once assuming they would be “gone with the time”. A clock, merciless time counter, was not the main hero of submitted works. The artists' interpretations go further, looking for media that could depict both present and future. Time in its abstract form is convincingly depicted in the book made by Andrea Pezman as well as in a long flea jump in the very witty work by Małgorzata Gurowska. An interesting form of recording the time are the portraits of burnt matches in “Match Book” by Manya Donaque, as well as “A Tale Told by the Tree” by Urszula Jędrzejczyk.

Time can appear in unusual forms in many book tales. I think the visitors themselves will add to these considerations their own interpretations. Although we will not answer here clearly and explicitly the question: what is time? we will at least “ask such a question”.

Ewa Latkowska-Żychska


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