In no case should one seek a solution to his drawings in his verbal statements. When many artists cite fashionable philosophers, mystics, theologises, writers or the Old Masters of paintings as witnesses or inspirers of their undertakings, Czesnik says with touching sincerity that he is inspired by nature. This is both true and false. Henryk Czesnik lives within the horizon of his personal experience. In creating his aesthetic ego, he fought a battle with the Absolute of Beauty, evidenced by his paintings and „sheets" of unfinished images. In his work on them, he also sought to answer ethical questions of immediate concern to him. Coming to the subtle limit of perversion, in his outrage he clashed with the Absolute of Good. Yet he does not believe in truth as the possible goal of rational knowledge. The encounter of absolutes and fight with them is most clearly visible in Czesnik drawings. The real nature of thing may reach the mind only when it is in the process of change. The artist perceives nature at the moment of its fading and dying out. Something equally evasive and rooted in time is the case of releasing a sequence of an associations, the amanuensis of an event many years ago, something that happened in his childhood. Czesnik discovers the profundity of the present thanks to its foundation in the past and thanks to space through which he reaches the past. His method of perceiving reality is reminiscent of transcendental reduction used in phenomenology. The artist begins his creative process from direct contact with the object of interest. Coming „face to face" with the given object, he has access to the area of unquestionable knowledge by putting in parentheses what transcends consciousness without being guaranteed by its process, and what is immanent in it. Drawing, recently enriched with colour and collage elements is an exteriorisation on the object of the artist's perception. Enclosing space within strokes on a sheet of paper is a semiotically clear, theatrical sign of the artist's openness to the viewer. Czesnik's drawings are filled with hospital beds, people attached to extension apparatuses, childlike creatures in cages, pigs spread under beds and on cube pedestal, perambulators. These elements recur obsessively. The cage motif recurs in a manic way. This rather grim world is sometimes broken up by horse's impetus or an element of religious architecture. People-mannequins on hospital beds are caught in equivocal positions. Czesnik insists that he has seen them during visits to hospital wards, which has brought him to the conclusions that a pig might show more compassion to the sick than the closest relatives. So he draws the pigs pink, enormous and triumphant... All would be simple and clear if Czesnik's drawings were realistic after the pattern of 19th century Academicism or if they referred to journalism caricature or photography. If the artist had engaged in a post-modernist game with the past. There is nothing of the kind in Czesnik's oeuvre. There is not a single thread connecting the pig of Czesnik drawings with that of Breughel or Bosch, or the herd of swine into which the unclean spirits went in the country of the Gadarene, according to the Evangelists Mathew, Mark and Luke. Czesnik has created a world of his own. A hospital ward becomes the universal space of the world's stage on which Eros and Thanatos pull the strings of a marionette as in Craig's dream theatre in which a marionette was to substitute for a live actor, limited by nature. The heroes of the theatre vanish in the dance of lines, merge with the colourful background of the horizon, and come one upon another, as if reducing one another. They pass. What about the rocking horse carrying away a figure sitting with its back to the direction of movement? Again one must ask Czesnik who will say that during riding lessons one also to sit back to front, yet the figure on horseback does not lend itself to straight interpretation. The steed of Czesnik's drawing may equally well be the magic Clavileno that was to carry Don Quixote, and the Wooden Mare, the instrument of pervert torture used in some armies. Czesnik's horses drawn with thin strokes are reminiscent of images of horses engraved on the walls of catacombs, symbolising the brevity of human life. What about the pram, so frequent in his drawings? The artist says that it was an obsessive motif of his childhood dreams. According to the Egyptian dream-book, it symbolises happy marriage. That would be too straightforward, however. Kirkegaard wrote that despair for earthly things or an earthly thing, came first, followed by despair at oneself and eternity. Next comes rebellion, despair aided by eternity, a desperate abuse of eternity enclosed within personality, reaching as far as the desperate wish to be oneself. Czesnik a sensitive artist may reach the same quite banal truths by simply watching oneself, others, things, birds, our fin de siecle.
Andrzej Matynia / Mariusz Malec