a Lair

Tomasz Kawecki

2019 - Ongoing

Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Poland

The house in Witowice Dolne is my childhood home. There live my eyes and spirits collected so scrupulously in the first years of my life. The house stands next to a forest so green and virgin that it is impossible not to discover magical creatures there. Going back, I return to adventures and riddles never solved. I'm still searching for answers. A guide to this world was my grandma. She led me to the woods, called mushroom, stones and roots by their names. Some she anthropomorphised and took home with her. Through the years, the inside of the house has been filled to the brim with objects she collected. Grandma never threw anything out. Once she has brought something in, it remains with her forever. The house, together with her, grows old, everything there is subject to natural cycles.

When I was a child, we slept in the attic. Walls let in the wind carrying sounds of the outside. I had an impression I was sleeping in a tree house in the heart of a forest. The mountain wind sweeping through the room gave me shivers, but I wasn't afraid. We were safe, because protected by my grandma's charms. Enormous animal-resembling roots, bunches of plants and pebbles arranged on the stove kept their watch over us. They reconciled home space with dark woods.

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  • chochol / /

    After I gathered dried flowers from cottage house I impersonated them in the "chochoł"- a straw man. Flowers were collected for nearly 30 years by my grandmother. They belongs to the past as everything in that house.

  • untitled no.1

  • selfportrait no.1 / /

    This action is related to the old clothes of my grandmother and deceased grandfather. I made a performance in which I take their clothes out of the closet one by one and put on myself. Losing the ability to move, my character becomes bigger and wider. Each subsequent layer growing on my body is a heavy shell of the history and memories of their previous owners. With peace of mind, I put each of them, knowing that it will overcome me. Their tightness is too strong and will prevent me from any further movements.

  • a lair

  • dragon root / /

    House in Witowice Dolne is a veritable storehouse of grandma's artefacts.

  • portrait no.6 / /

    Portraying grandma is a collective work, mine and hers. While i am putting camera on tripod and chosing the fram she is telling me stories. Often the stories she told me started with the items she showed me. Thanks to them, she remembers situations around the object she collected.

  • untitled no.2

  • composition of three

  • swann / /

    One of many roots my grandma collect. She often see in them animals or creatures from fairy tales. She is giving them names and treats them as a old good friends.

  • grandma's shells

  • burning straw man / /

    After making a straw man out of the dried flowers I carried him through the whole village to
    the forest and there in the pond I ritually burned it according to
    the old rituals, like the melting of marzanna (Slavic god of winter
    and death) which heralds spring.