This year, after four years of absolute freedom, participants of Satyrykon competition had the chance to compete within the scope given topic. This is a well appreciated by artists and audience formula which is applied in majority of the competitions in the world. Therefore, acting in a bit contradictory way, after 8 years of following it, we decided to drop it in Legnica (2002-2010). However, with the pass of time it turned out that we did it to regret of the majority of those interested.
“Enthusiasm” somehow stood out of the flow of satirical tasks appointed to the artists. It was not commercial, that is – not chosen due to the pursuit of sponsoring possibilities, it wasn’t so obvious either – it didn’t just point at any common problem of the contemporary world such as war, environment protection, lack of water. And, what’s most unusual, it was strangely positive.
What’s more – it rose the jurors’ enthusiasm as well. Following that wave of enthusiasm, the three great and completely different cartoonists (Jiri Sliva, Bernard Bouton and Segey Sichenko), the two directors (of European Cartoon Center in Belgium and of Museum of Caricature in Warsaw), a young generation representative – Monika Hanulak, an illustrator and an assistant tutor if illustration workshop at Fine Arts Academy, and Elżbieta Pietraszko, Satyrykon organiser, all chaired by a well-known poster creator, professor Eugeniusz Skorwider, happened to work quickly and in exceptional agreement. Comparing to the “sensational” previous year’s female jury, this year’s one was rather balanced – male, female, foreign, home, creators and observers representation. They made their distinction in the number of works nominated to awards – according to them almost half of the works qualified for the exhibition deserved their awards. Whether it is due to their matching and, as jury chairman Eugeniusz Skorwider recons, exceptionally high level of works – you can only judge by watching the exhibition yourself.
For the start, we can say that in spite of the rush of enthusiastic mails and “likes” in first reaction, the topic itself turned not to be so easy. Most of the artists approached it perversely. There are scarce funny blows of pure joy, although such happen, putting the viewers in an astonishingly joyful mood as for the typically satirical exhibition. The black humour has taken a big share – the works referring to funeral, death, war or prison are numerous…
Are we still ready nowadays for real joy, passion or enthusiasm? Isn’t the so called positive thinking just a kind of unbearable obligation, a kind of mask put on for different social circumstances? Can we still recall these states in ourselves only with help of more and more sophisticated stimulants? Should we worry about it at all? After all, we perfectly well know how often uncritical enthusiasm can become individually, historically and politically dangerous being at service of different “isms”. Enthusiasm for death, enthusiasm for wars which are being fought right now, enthusiasm for terrorism…enthusiasm after Charlie Hebdo… And finally, are we, Poles, still the most enthusiasm prone romantics in Europe?
Artists whose works have been shown at the exhibition answer all these and other crucial questions with genuine passion. That’s the way it is – every why has a wherefore. Apparently the least up-to-date, separated from reality, one could say ‘philosophical’ topic somehow, by the way, without any obligation triggers the most accurate, interesting satirical diagnosis of this reality. And that’s why, apart from charging your positive battery, the exhibition is well worth seeing.
There is a TRACK from Poznań to Legnica although I prefer to get there by car.
Still I am atTRACKted to Legnica with humour and jokes which have been the city’s symbols for many years. So I’m heading there with enthusiasm. On the spot my enthusiasm is meeting “ENTHUSIASM” being one of the competition categories. The other one is “JOKE AND SATIRE”. Here comes the fear that my own enthusiasm will be weaken by this contest one. The fears have turned out to be completely unjustified. Therefore I am not losing my enthusiasm in Legnica! On the contrary, it is growing!
I assume that the other members of the jury, the people related with satire or entangled with joke and humour, are arriving at Legnica with certain amount of enthusiasm as well, and just like me, they are not losing it at all, they are accumulating it instead.
This growing enthusiasm is caused by delectable hosts, with Elżbieta Pietraszko, a person highly experienced in humour and joke, in the first place. Our enthusiasm has not been diminished by the weather – it is lovely, especially when the “awkward” season (February) is concerned. Even my poor condition – I have a fever caused by a cold – cannot beat it. Enthusiasm is carrying the day! The works that entered the competition have neither deprived me of enthusiasm.
A similar case is with the jury proceedings who are standing or walking more than sitting actually. The debate is not stormy, it rather matches the weather. I know that people have become strongly impressed by a very short time the proceedings have taken. It is thanks to the hosts and the perfect organisation.
I am convinced that all these “suspicious” circumstances have not affected our substantive and careful estimation of the works in any way.
The justness of the decision concerning Grand Prix has been sort of confirmed, as only a few later, the winning work has become a source of “inspiration” for a certain poster awarded with the first prize at a certain competition for a poster advirtising a festival of contemporary plays. In a peculiar way this situation matches the category “Joke and Satire” more accurately than “Enthusiasm”.
The verdict about the awarded works resulted in a democratic selection. The members of the jury are people of various sensitivities, tastes and artistic preferences. They also have different from each other senses of humour. It has been reflected in the selection of drawings. I’m taking style, aesthetics, type of humour as well as form and contents into consideration. Therefore we’ve had the variety of awarded works. They differ in art issues, they possess varied expression. They represent the whole wide range of applied graphics. There are also more graphic or painterly illustrations, posters and more traditional cartoons. It is good enough that this is not their only advantage. Their asset is a clear message, something that disqualifies babble. What has been left there is humour embodied in irony, surprise, absurd, etc.
Hereby I state seriously that the level of the competition has been really high. I congratulate the laureates. It is also worth making a bow before human faults, mainly stupidity and its consequences in the broadest sense. They are the ones which provoke and inspire artists to act.
It’s time to leave Legnica. I’m not atTRACKted to Poznań. I’ll take a car. With no enthusiasm.