Wiesław Bielak

Wiesław Bielak. RzeĽba
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Stone has no clear-cut expressive direction, as line has, nor has it an equally obvious colour, as is present in paint. Stone is a formless or rather variform mass, leaving toan artist full freedom in the choisce of shape - but only seemingly.

The fact is that stone has weight and texture. It has this hardly perceptible, as it were optimal gravity akin to the critical mass of fissionable element. It is exactly this massthat an artist working in this grateful but at the same time difficult material must strive to attain. Once he achieves it removing all unneeded fragments, stone is brought to life. If he fails to attain the desired mass, ideal in its gravitation and in the values of forces acting within a solid, the stone will remain just what it was: a soulles and shapelles mass.

The stone sculptures of Wiesław Bielak live, one would say, a biological life, and his bronzes follow in their wake, but not by being given organic forms with antropolological or zoomorphic associations. In his works the artist seeks an answer to much more vitalquestion: what is life? Rather than attemps to show its cocrete appearance. Thus he aspires to a synthesis of an idea and not to an easy illustration. What, however, is life? It is movement, growth, and capability for changes. It is therefore in contradiction to the stillness of death. This statement seems to express the very essence of Bielak's art. All the remainingattributes will only be its logical consequence.

The artist attains his forms in a most individual way of rather infrequent occurence. The ordinary, one would like to say, creative course leads from analysis to generalization, from the youthful extravagance of form and content to a synthesis of ideas and of forms used for expressing them, charakteristic of maturity. Bielak has chosen the opposite direction: from synthesis to what is the most important, what is minute. It can hardly be denied that he is right. Should one not first live in order to be able to speak when oce has something important to say. Bielak's sculptures develop as though from an embryo throbbing with life. Only now and then does he place in or to them a geometrical solid figure as sign of the eaxistence and functioning of cool logic setting everything in order, and as a contrast emphasizing the organic life of chief elements of a composition and perhaps also their monumental character. For the artist's sculptures are monumental, irrespective of their objective dimensions. They are so thanks to their compactstructure and its definite rhythms. It is in this purely artistic idiom that they speak to us. The rest is a supplement, an explanation added for the purpose of locating the obvious meaning of, for instance, the Katyn Cross, or linking a sculpture with an actual event, as in the Protest of 1980.

However, no commentary is needed for the scupture Matamophosis of 1996, a biological form bringing to mind obvious associations, from which there emerges a smaller but finer form. Can it be hint at the beginning of a new stage in the sculptor's art.? Maybe.

Bielak's works give the impression of being spontaneous creations of nature rather than objects given shape by human hands. These are only appearances though. Their final form is preceded by numerous sketches and models. It is carefully conposed and checked in all views and at all stages of creation, just as the texture of the surface, smooth or rough, and shiny or matt, in accordance with the artist's intention.

Francesco de Hollanda was right when he wrote as early as the sixteenth century: with the utmost exertion and toil should one strive to make one's works look, contrary to the truth, as if what has cost a great deal of effort had been done quickly, effortlessly, with the greatest facility...".

Jerzy Madeyski

© Grabi 2007