What if series

The “What If….” series is my attempt to re-examine the canonical image of our culture once again. My deliberate use of original titles directly points to the debatable work of art. All of the contended paintings are of the special importance for me personally, and at the same time have influenced our human collective consciousness and formed our culture. These special works of art I show in a completely different way, possibly the way I wish they would look and shape my conscious. My paintings create an alternative for the world we live in, which is extremely oppressive, particularly for my sex, but also for all weaker creatures on this planet. In my work I do not seek a simple revenge of women over men and I am not trying to contest reality. I want to rewrite it. I wonder in my works, if there can be a world with different pattern of existence, and what the consequences would be.

For example, replacing the figure of female by man in the Ecstasy of Saint Theresa, I tried to neutralise extremely offensive way of how this mystical experiences were shown. That kind of performance can only exist in a culture that exploits the female, showing even spiritual ecstasy as an orgasm. This way of art expression, sculptured by Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini, would have never existed with this form with a man like main subject. Great example of that is Saint Ignatius painting by Peter Paul Rubens. This both reality I had urge to reshape.

As a little girl, albums and art books belonging to my mother, were a great joy and the source of knowledge about the world. There I have found an enormous number of worlds and symbols, I met pantheon of gods, saints, and ordinary people, wars and the birth. Among them, deeply disturbing images of naked women, surrounded by fully-dressed men. It triggered deep objection and discomfort, and only direct confrontation with this topic, work on my “the breakfast on the grass” allowed me to find peace and showed me possibilities of existence I was not expecting to find.

Yet, there is another point, which I find worth to mention.

Living in our pure, lush and beautiful world of Western Europe, I wonder how we should change ourselves, our thinking, to make world better place not only in material and aesthetic way. To make my picture adequate to contemporary way of life, base them in reality the way I see and feel it, I use sweet bright colours, not necessarily in the context of pleasant topics. Frequent work with pink colour helps me show our glazed society. Pink is also usually nowadays associated with my sex, what helps me balance between associations and customs, allowing for a fresh look at the world around me. Creation of this fiction, and at first glance idyllic space allows me to take closer look at reality.

The entire series of six paintings presents in my opinion the most important forces ruling the world:
Religion - Ecstasy of Saint Teresa,Saint Ignatius of Loyola,
Sex - Breakfast on the grass,The Naked Maya,
War -Venus and Cupid, Pietà

© Weronika Haber