The topos of sacrificing the home (conceived not as a dwelling but as a 'community of love') on the altar of art dates back to antiquity, although its strongest resonance took place in the nineteenth century. It is present in, i. a, the reflections of Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, in which man's greatness, symbolised by the saint and the genius, is closely connected with solitude. Homelessness/solitude is, therefore, not only hopelessness and abandonment but also, according to Levinas, courage, pride and sovereignty. It assists the artist in attaining inner autonomy, sets free the power to understand, and favours raising oneself above human measure. Only (absolute!) solitude reveals that which is most important: it is the condition for discovering the truth. The shape of a tower assumed by the studios of Hubert von Herkomer or Carl Gustav Jung, ostentatiously inaccessible to others, should be recognised as a spectacular manifestation of the artist's inner exile. The category of homelessness is also associated with a train station waiting room, which for Simone Weil comprised a sui generis niche for reflection, or the hotel room, in which Albert Camus wrote. It is by no means an accident that the formal and ideological model for images of the atelier, universal in painting, was the depiction of St. Jerome or St. Augustine in their workshops. After all, they comprise a representation of the supreme form of a free and beautiful life - bios theoretical, or the Latin vita contemplative - a life consisting of contemplating that which is beautiful because it is invariable, eternal and divine, and thus of studying the truth and philosophising. The exhibition entitled 'The home - the path of being' shows that solitude, alienation and escapism are still part of quite a few programmes of the artist's studio, with considerable space taken up by paintings featuring the motif of the atelier. The Vast Studio by Jerzy Mierzejewski, suffused with light and silence, seems to indicate the supernatural source of creative inspiration. Only such conditions can give rise to a vision and then witness the miracle of its embodiment into a work. After all, it was believed that the creative act consists of a transcendence, a transition from the sphere of the profanum to that of the sacrum, an opinion of a different perspective, a change in the manner of perception. This is a great mystery. Although today such an approach is rare, upon certain occasions the studio is still treated as an exceptional and magical site, marked with sanctity. 'We lived in a house that resembled a Buddhist or Hindu monastery' - the painter Jerzy Cwiertnia recently spoke about the home-studio shared with his daughter, also a painter. 'When Nowosielski came to visit' - recalled Jerzy Tchórzewski - 'I received him in the flat. At a certain moment Jurek said: 'It's very pleasant here, but let's move to the studio. You know, there is always something holy in a studio'. True - I thought, since one enters the studio just as any other place that offers contact with another sphere, in a normal fashion, but leaves it in a special manner - via the paintings'.
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