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Texts - Indi / Izabella Pajonk

1995 – „Traces, Shadows, Reflections“

2003 – „Identity of Abandoned Places“
2003 – „Desert“
2003 – „Trip to the Far East – Little Buddha“
2003 – „Trip to the Far East - Faces“
2004 – „Friend always comes from afar“


"Independent faith tells me about some faint traces that nothing shall erase them,

in every sphere they unfailingly shall revolve'' (Stachura)

A trace is something that remains. A sign which tells us about the presence.

I am interested in the most delicate and transitory traces. Those that remain just for a moment longer. Sometimes it is even hard to catch or notice them. They are often invisible.

... the shadows of people passing one another, reflections in the water, in the sky, in the clouds.

The whirl of figures in a dance. A street in the rain. A silhouette seen against the sun through the half-closed lids. The window pane of the running train which shows not only the landscape passing by, but also the faces of our fellow travellers. The shadow of a man submerged in the landscape.
There is a painting by Caspar David Friedrich entitled "Two People at the Sea at Moonrise".

Against a horizontal seascape there are two mysterious figures standing, intently looking far into the sea.

An unnamed longing spreads around. I always imagine that over there, on the other side, on the other coast there are people as well. And although they face those two, so much separates them.
I have been always intrigued by a man in a landscape. His otherness from everything that surrounds him conjures up the following questions: 'Where does he come from?' 'Who is he?' 'Where is he going?'

'What is the magic of the spaces that are calling him towards them?' Vastness, infinity, sky, air, wind.

"The sky - enormous, full of lofty existence; reserve of space and surplus of various worlds.

And we, too distant to measure ourselves by form, and standing too close to turn round” (Rilke)

I adore plunging in landscapes which attract me with purity and harmony. I want to take over their strength, freshness and beauty, to achieve absolute tranquillity, to go across the wind, to look, to listen, to be silent.

" I know some people who get off at a station or just jump off a train to enter a landscape which suddenly dazzled them. To be in it. To merge into it. To be one verse. One verse in this poem” (Stachura)

The admiration for the landscape is one of the components of my pictorial art.
Through the profile of the figure which is distinguished from the vibrant space I wished to suggest that eventually we are not the same as what surrounds us, that in us there is something which probably cannot be found in any other form. We do feel sometimes that through a spiritual experience and through art we approach a different existence. We long for something which we merely presuppose.
The transient traces which we leave on the way - our shadows, reflections, glances, smiles - maybe they are that which actually will not disappear. Maybe they will remain in all those places where we existed, in the vast, infinite spaces. Outside all the influences which could annihilate them. Beyond time.

“There will remain, remain forever a reflection in the cloud or in the sky, and by falling the clouds will return, and by rising the sky will fall - at least with the rain, and each drop will retain a tiny image” (Baczynski)

What fascinates me most in painting is an opportunity of decompressing silence.

This silence which hides a whole tangle of confused thoughts and incomprehensible feelings.

And is there a word with which one can express silence?


Kazimierz, 1997.

Ruined houses. Black windows. Doors nailed up. Thrown away furniture, rusted objects, peeling off walls.

Pale colours, cracks, weeping on walls, washed away inscriptions. Abandoned places.

In the past soaked with smells, sounds and energy of passing life.

“Houses in the suburbs with black-ringed windows
houses coughing quietly
trembling of plaster
houses with thin hair
and sick complexion. (…)
I would like to give you names
fill you with the smell of India
fire of Bosporus
noise of waterfalls” (Z. Herbert, Houses In the Suburbs)

Hanging around Kazimierz I felt a strange identity with slowly but irrevocably disappearing atmosphere of that place. Photographs were made being records or mutual interaction, the image of matter, shapes and objects.
Self-portraits in Singer – an indistinct figure with blurred contours, passing away.
Portraits of Jerzy Panek.
The master’s study was situated at Szeroka Street. Meetings with Mr. Jurek and Asia Gałecka were something exceptional and magic. Stories, watching paintings, classical music. Unique sense of humour of “Mister Colleague”, his characteristic sayings, words repeated many times in order to emphasize the depth of feelings…
The taste of olives, cabbage cakes, Capuchins’ balm. The atmosphere of warmth, sincerity, simplicity. Jerzy Panek used to say:

“Seeing is most important. Seeing and not wondering how to compose a painting.
Seeing, because when somebody sees, the whole rest composes by itself.”

How to release perception in such a way as to really see?
Where is the border between looking and seeing?
Mr. Jurek was looking into a mirror for a long time before he drew the first lines of the self-portrait made for me.

I remember his penetrating gaze as if he saw himself for the very first time.

But he drew self-portraits many times…

“You know, I am completely different each time, completely different, completely different,” he said.

Remained Mr. Jurek’s self-portraits, paintings, graphics. Remained memories and photographs.

What are these photographs? Records of the past or the eternal presence? Preserved fraction of a second? Whatever they are, it’s worth remembering that there is even more to them than what can be seen.


“They tell me: when you get to know yourself, you will learn about all people.

And I say: only when I get to know others, will I learn about myself.”
(Kahlil Gibran)

I set off to Egypt to stand at the foot of mysterious pyramids and feel their power, go back to the times of myths and gods, feel a shrill of delight with stone statues and… find the famous hidden treasure.

But, although all wonders of Egypt constituted a profound artistic feeling for me, I found the hidden treasure not in monumental temples. It waited for me somewhere else, far from temples and cities, in a wild and severe space, among sand and stony mountains…

A desert.

Unimaginable silence and infinity.
Soothing of my mind hampered with thoughts.
Emptiness which is completeness.
Place of purification.
A source.

Plunged into quiet contemplation of the desert landscape I noticed far in the horizon a figure of a lonely Bedouin approaching. He was heading slowly and with dignity towards stones arranged on sand.

He sat in their magic circle and surrendered to meditation and bowing. I was moved by the simplicity of his temple – just a few stones. He was sunk in his prayer for a long time not realising that he was observed by someone. I didn’t have any doubts that I witnessed a true contact between a man and sacrum.

The energy of his prayer emanated to me as well. I felt that I was felling into that special condition of blissfulness experienced by people approaching the absolute – the feeling of unity with the whole time and universe.
Each culture refers differently to that special condition just as every religion calls God a different name. However, in a desert, far from civilisation, our deep-down feeling is confirmed that such differences are meaningless, that “everything is one”, that every human in his natural essence goes towards fulfilment,

that everybody longs for sacrum and “words are the source of conflicts.”
The moment of the joint prayer was eternal. Afterwards, we met face to face going to a nearby Bedouins’ settlement. Greeting was recognition. We looked at each other without any restraints and smiled. Communication without words. Co-existence.
Would such a meeting be possible in conspicuous temples decorated with gold and colourful mosaics,

where established laws and principles of holy scriptures and institutions are observed?

Where noise of the city plunged into chaos can be heard? Where otherness is strangeness?
I felt co-existence with the Bedouin I met throughout my staying in the settlement.

At the end, together with other “strangers” I was invited to participate in night singing of Bedouins around the fire. Stupefied by group loud wailing and strong rhythms made by hands, they fell into a real trance.

And they were floating with music into boundless realms of the night. Only one of them looked at me from time to time and smiled gently. I felt that in the place where the stars come so low something very precious was given to me.


“A perfect man is like a child, his feelings are complete and the mind is balanced. By experiencing harmony we learn permanence and experiencing permanence is enlightenment” (Lao Tzu)

Through the mad and surrealistic India, in noise and dust of the hectic city we come from Babu

to an oasis of silence and relaxation, which is a Buddhist monastery on the Kopan hill in Nepal.
The monastery overviews the whole Kathmandu Valley with its cities, temples, villages,

rice fields and on the horizon behind the fog there are Himalayas.
The air vibrates with sounds of recited mantras…

OM MANI PADME HUNG – a jewel is hidden in a lotus…
I look up high to gaze at flags with prayers waving in the wind…

my dream has come true… I am here… I smile and breathe…

He is distinguished in a deep-red and orange crowd of meditating monks.

He is small and frail, with a disarming smile and strange drawings on his thin arms.
He is running with passion there and back, filled with happiness out of this world…

he sits down from time to time… he runs again… disappears somewhere… appears suddenly…

unlimited element… a small thing to whom belongs the whole world.
With a spark-like look absorbing everything… Bright, light, radiant…
The little Buddha, a blooming flower…
Wherever he is, he brightens up the whole area around him… smiles appear on focused faces of the monks… some of them moved by the boy’s spontaneity embrace him with pleasure…

they know what power he, who is the smallest of the smallest, has inside.
I look at the small monk with delight and remember:

“when a child was a child
he had free hands
he wanted a spring to become a stream,
and the stream a river; a paddle was a sea
when a child was a child
he didn’t know that he was a child
everything had a soul for him,
and all souls were in unity
when a child was a child
he didn’t have his own opinions
or any habits,
he liked to sit Turkish fashion
he set off from any place running
when he posed for a photograph he didn’t make faces
when a child was a child
he asked many questions
why am I myself and not you?
why am I here and I am not there?
when did time start and where does space finish?
is not life here under the sun not only a dream?
is this what I can see, hear and feel the world
or only the mask of the world?
does the evil really exist?
are there any really bad people?
how come that I who am
was not before I appeared and that
there will be a day when I stop to exist?” (Peter Handke)


“The face is a trace,

but the trace is washed away.
One does not know who has just passed.
Was it God who passed?
In which direction?
We know only one thing, that these are traces
that lead us to other people.
A meeting is an absolutely direct experience,
it takes place not in a perspective of cognition,
but in a perspective of goodness.
In the situation of the world devastated by the experience
of abandoning, loneliness, suffering, passing –
the answer is: following others’ paths” (Tadeusz Gadacz)

What I have most remembered from my trip to the Far East was a MEETING with another person –

pictures of faces. A meeting being a natural flow of energy, a free look, a special smile.

I think about people I have met, most frequently far from big cities, about people living in quiet and remote places, surrounded by high mountains, close to nature.

“Those materially poor people are rich in their hearts. Most of them have nothing and that fact frees them from a concern of possessing something and fear of losing it.
They live a moment and are happy with moments that nobody will ever take away from them”

When observing their everyday life and rituals, taking photos and talking, I never felt that they treated me as someone strange and unknown.
There were no anxious gazes at me or questions like: “hey you, who are you?” or any willingness to acquire some information: “what are you doing here? where do you come from? what do you do in life?” – such typical questions for our way of thinking when we meet someone.
They reacted to me in such a way as if we had known each other for 1000 years, as if they knew everything about me. There was no need to call things, value or judge. Yet, they asked me about my feelings:

“are you happy? do you like it here? would you like to see something beautiful?”
But, in fact, our communication was non-verbal. This was co-participation and co-feeling.
What I liked most in them was an everlasting warm-hearted smile on their faces.
Radiation of warmth and kindness.
A special smile. Different from the one we often see during sociable meetings or on newspaper covers.

A smile emanating with internal light, calm and harmony.

Soothing. Giving the feeling of proximity and belonging together.
Transitory moment of joint happiness, meetings on the way, in streets, in temples, in monasteries.
Radiating faces and hands in a gesture of welcome – NAMASTE – “God in me bows to God in you”

these are just the most beautiful feelings I was offered in the Far East.

“While wandering we learn about the world, people, and first of all about us. Every event, meeting of every person changes us, disclosing one more fragment of our mystery.
Wandering is permanent readiness to discover and search – perpetual youth.
In order to wander you don’t have to become rich or poor. This is a condition of mind being free from any attachment, when a reward or loss are accepted with equal satisfaction” (Mal Sunjandar)


“It’s a big thing to be on one’s way again” (Nansen)

To make an effort to get to unknown places, where we discover a new fraction of truth about ourselves. Wherever we are, we discover not only a new way of seeing beyond us, but also inside us.
The path is searching, discovering, pursuing perfection.
The path does not lead to any goal

“The path is the goal” (Lao Tzu)

We wander, since we feel the lack of something, longing for something unspecified.
Longing for ourselves, for fulfilment.
We look for answers to such questions as:
Who am I? Whom I want to be? Can I read signs?
The most important happens at crossroads.


Touching of something different. A conversation.
Feeling bonds. Beginning of friendship. Happiness with somebody’s existence.
At crossroads paths converge and diverge.
A meeting last only and as long as a moment.
We have to say “goodbye”, since each of us takes his/her own lonely path.
Perhaps we will never see each other again.
Perhaps we will meet again some time in the future by accident.
But friends from afar will come back a number of times.
Like stars continuously coming back at night.
They will come in moments of despair and weakness.
They will come back resurrecting fire in us and a desire to go on in our struggle.
Why do they always come from afar?
Maybe because they set off on a long trip.
And they have seen a lot on their way, they have gone through a lot in order to learn how rare and beautiful phenomenon a real meeting is. A moment of fulfilment for which you sometimes wait for many years.
Friends are a precious gift, since they want to be each other’s

“Window into the extended universe of existence... not a mirror” (Rilke)

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