Homage to Heiner Müller

2004, 200 x 100 cm, oil on canvas, price on request

Disenchanted nostalgia of the revolution.

It is a rather strong work in black, red and white, permuting death’s heads and Kalashnikovs as well as tragic and comic masks. The legend (quotation of Heiner Müller) “crowns” the whole: “Die Revolution ist die Maske des Todes, der Tod ist die Maske der Revolution” (“revolution is the mask of death, death is the mask of revolution”).

I conceived this painting without thinking about provocation but reflecting on the history of the countries affected by the revolution, like Poland, my fatherland. The quotation of Heiner Müller from the play “The Contract” had worked on me for years before I found a matching pictorial idea. The death’s heads, a constant in my work, refer to the Vanitas motive, prevailing in baroque art for example, and including the still life genre, common nowadays. The Kalashnikov could not be missing in a work intending a critical allusion to the revolution. The masks refer to the theatre and to its history (the original is a genuine Carthaginian mask).

This picture stirred up emotions during the exhibition in IDHEAP at the end of 2004, and provoked a strong reaction of rejection. A professor refused to teach in the same room with it. So a Solomonic decision was made and the picture was displaced to a less exposed place. I only regretted not to have been informed about it: to my surprise, I discovered the whole plot while visiting the exhibition with friends. Long live communication!