A Lunatic in His Garden exposes the audience to anxiety. At his new exhibition, Piotr Kotlicki – a painter, a filmmaker and a graduate of the Academy of Art in Łódź – shares a special space with us. His experience in various fields of art allows him to perceive this space differently and use it in a variety of ways, thus making it more unusual, oneiric and hypnotizing.
Paintings, whose leitmotif is a garden, can be organised like scenes from one place, and the characters present in the garden become carriers of similar, common experiences. Often devoid of face and gaze, these figures are entangled in unreal contexts. Being in a state of sleepy numbness, they meet and interact without looking at each other. They are between movement and its negation, in a painful tear and also in a state of limited, sleepwalking consciousness.
If anything affects them, it is only the aforementioned space, the unfathomable garden. In some places, it is calm, illuminated with warm colour and almost soothing; in others, it suggests that something is lurking behind the trees. Although exposed to omnipresent light, the sleepy characters are in the shadow. Irony, laughter and the indulgent eyes of monsters and their preys are pulling instinctively towards them, almost groping.
'I have never been able to cross through those gates of ivory of horn which separate us from the invisible world without a sense of dread are the image of death. The first few instants of sleep are the image of death; a drowsy numbness steals over our thoughts, and it becomes impossible to determine the precise point at which the self, in some other form, continues to carry on the work of existence'.
G. de Nerval
The garden becomes a place between, balancing on the edge of madness. Happy is the one who manages to go through it without prejudice. Exit Through the Garden, the leading painting of the exhibition, becomes an invitation to enter the wild space immunised by the artist, but also to escape (exit) from the external and unrestrained wildness.
It seems impossible to go through Kotlicki’s garden without stumbling over roots, hurting oneself with bush thorns and becoming the prey of wild animals.
Is the garden dangerous then? Does entering the garden always lead to a loss of senses? Perhaps, it is not animals that are dangerous, it is us. Perhaps a madman feels safer in this primal context, in the midst of nature, in the forgotten garden for a reason. Perhaps it is easier for us to meet other faceless people, who are less susceptible to pain and suffering.