Wojciech Ireneusz Sobczyk - On the Emptiness of Fame and the Fleeting Taste of Wild Strawberries

1 Oct 2020 – 28 Nov 2020

Regular hours

12:00 – 19:00
12:00 – 19:00
12:00 – 16:00
12:00 – 19:00
12:00 – 19:00

Save Event: Wojciech Ireneusz Sobczyk - On the Emptiness of Fame and the Fleeting Taste of Wild Strawberries

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mazowieckie, Poland

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The title of the exhibition hails back to one of the descriptive names of the painting by Hieronymus Bosch widely known by its common title — The Garden of Earthly Delights. The famous triptych was described as a “picture of a strawberry” by José de Sigüenza in 1605 in the annals of his monastery.


Part One: The Tree

And what if we were able to achieve ecstasy solely through the experience of good and evil? Have you ever wondered whether Adam and Eve felt any desire for each another before the fall? If they did not know any shame, suffering or pain, could they still feel passion, desire or exuberance? Perhaps the forbidden fruit of knowing good and evil might be also the fruit of passion. This could be the very reason we lost the eternal life that was promised to us by the Tree of Life.

Perhaps, we had not lost eternity after all, but merely altered its form. From a straight line of existence with no end and into a recurring cycle of death and rebirth. Into an existence marked by a beginning and an end, in which our birth and life are set in blood and pain – and come again as we approach death. Just like the Tree , whose pure whiteness and fragile innocence, its roots reach down into the pool of red as its trunk rises up out of it. Its spiky fruits inherit the stigma of sanguinity, sensuality and suffering.


In the desire to possess another body, I reveal myself with my instincts fully exposed, nothing more or less than a beast. There is something primal and so proximal to nature. In the greedy act of coupling, our exchange becomes a pagan ritual offered in tribute to
the senses. Perhaps the only reason I feel such strikes of passion is because I hold this defect and this broken thing within myself. The body reacts avidly to even the gentlest touch and the taste of a kiss tells me a story that you have been afraid to share. A passionate touch makes me tremble because there is betrayal stirring in my guts. A tender word whispered in the ear makes the skin on my neck crawls only because I can hear the lies rebound in its echo.

As we look upon one another, we end up peering straight through, shoving the blinds aside, reaching all the way in, to the very centre. A heated look is keenly captivating because my eyes can also radiate contempt. An intoxicating proximity warms every inch of my skin because I can injure and hurt. The scent hits me and I breathe it in lustily, ingesting the air that is inscribed with your presence. I rise to the heights of ecstasy because of the agony that winds itself through my abyss.

Part Two: The Garden of Delights

How thin is the line between heaven and hell, have you any idea? When there are no inhibitions holding you back and you are surrounded but nothing but total freedom? You have access to everything you desire. The only bounds are set by your own  imagination. Free will can be a wonderful gift, but it can twist into a terrible curse. Have you ever had your deepest desires come true and within a matter of seconds, you are suddenly facing the greatest of nightmares?

Tempt me into the furthest corners of the Garden of Delights . Let’s imbibe the blossoms, taste the fruits of all the trees along our path. Some of their thorns draw blood, others have poison that infiltrates the marrow to its very core. We wish to taste each and every one of them, even if they cause us pain and brand us with the mark of fire. Cover my qualms with a mystifying thistle, let its seductive charm have no end. Up past the very end of the horizon, the garden of lovely torments stretches on, whose atlas of ecstatic flora I endow with its own specific classification, bit by bit.


Another hand pierces my skin with its touch, every brush of the lips runs all the way through my body. The next wave of inebriation creates a subtly ornamental detail of ferocity on the surface of my flesh. As it fills out its baroque form, it feasts on what remains of me. I beg you, burn just one more scar of desire onto my flesh. 

The flames of euphoria merge together with the cruelty of intricate acts of torture, while the trembling of savage pleasures becomes tantamount to a series of spasmatic torments. There are moments when I can no longer distinguish whether I am experiencing the highs of passion or if I have been plunged into the pit of violence. My senses have been battered and drained by the shadows. I wrap myself in drapes of indifference, I pull them up over my eyes. I can only muster up a mechanical reaction, full of false gusts of feeling in response to the metallic chill of a touch that never listens, only cuts me into quarters. I am a desert of splinters, which knows no solace.

Part III: The Mask of Shame and The Heretic’s Fork

Is there an executioner hidden in every one of us? Equipped with the tools of torture for the purpose of inflicting pain on ourselves or others. We don the fragile Mask of Shame , with its finely embellished morality as we bombastically humiliate those who cannot figure out how to thrive in its shackles. But even when this mask has been perfectly constructed to fit your face, the day comes when it starts to rob you of your breath from the inside. You dry up from unfulfilled desire.

I showcase, in my own home, set upon a fitting podium, none other than the most lovely of ornaments, the Pear of Anguish , whose composition of cobalt is poisonous to the flesh, ripping me up from within and stifling my voice. The Heretic’s Forks are endowed with the form of an artful piece of jewellery, whose sharp edges elicit confessions as they pierce the skin. I can tell any number of beautiful lies to assuage your distressed conscience. I’ll even renounce my being, so that, at least, I can move without suffering.


The most dangerous of my heresies is to succumb. Here, I offer you the weakest part of myself. I expose my neck, I give you my throat. Choke me, suffocate me, cut off my air. Take me from my consciousness, so that for a moment I may appreciate the particular
flavour of a simple breath. Drown my vision in a blinding shade of blue, split me in half and let thorns burst forth from the gashes. Sculpted in ambiguity and lingering in an unfeeling existence, only the convulsive gestures of blasphemy bringing back misty remembrances of a rapture that has long departed.

text: Sebastian Gawłowski
translation: Agnes Monod-Gayraud

Exhibiting artistsToggle

Wojciech Ireneusz Sobczyk


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