Whether I had an unsettling premonition leading up to this interview with 1010, I still can't say, but in light of the massive global upheaval since, the series of works appear to be portals to someplace else, another dimension, time-travel, or just a new way to experience our collective reality. The artist, who works in abstraction, often in public spaces, has been developing a series that has taken on a new meaning. What does abstraction mean to us in a time when we are desperate for direct answers? How do we navigate a universe that is actively fighting back? What does democracy mean when laws are in limbo? As he was finishing a trip in Asia, 1010 spoke at length about these ideas, as well as the influence of Op art, referencing current events in his work, and how desire plays into his upcoming projects.
Evan Pricco: I know you are traveling in Asia at the moment. Is it a proper vacation or are you working as well?
1010: Nothing, I just try to switch off as far as possible and leave everything be for a while. Just let things happen without taking care. It feels healthy to me to just leave everything and disappear for a few weeks or a month.
How often do you get the chance to travel for pleasure outside of work? I ask this because there are so many opportunities to travel if you work in public art, but I know that can be a bit of a tough schedule because it’s back-to-back projects in different time zones.
This sounds a bit like a champagne problem to me. Most artists would consider themselves lucky if they get that many opportunities as you are describing them here. At the end, it’s simple: nobody says you have to say yes to every opportunity, especially when they lead to stress. You should decide most of what is happening to you or how you take it. You can get eaten up by a busy schedule, but you can also try and find your own pace and just do what you feel like doing. It might not come easy some days, but it’s sure doable. In my case, it really helped to skip most of the festivals.
Did you ever think, though, that you would have opportunities like this? When you were growing up in Poland, were you interested in public and outdoor art at all? We are around the same age, so I think you, like me, came up in a time where the proposition that you could make a living doing street art or graffiti was absurd.
Public art was not around in the rural areas of Masuria where I grew up in the 1980s. I remember some socialist mosaics, some reduced abstract paintings on Bauhaus-inspired architecture, and classic church interiors. Arts weren’t a big thing for me back then. I was more interested in Eastern European animation series like Pat & Mat, Bolek and Lolek, or The Fantastic Adventures of Family Mézga, and comics like Kajko and Kokosz or Romek Atomek.
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