Jan Berdyszak referred to the icon in 'Reserved Places' and 'Facies', two series from the 1970s. The first was based on the motif of a flaming rhomb, characteristic especially for the 'Saviour in Majesty' icon, while the second recalls the imprint of the face of Christ on fabric, produced, according to tradition, in a mysterious, divine manner. In both series Berdyszak resigned from a presentation of figures for the sake of a shape indicating the (non) presence of Christ or, to put it differently, an evocation of the places from which God has vanished - an oval of a head without a face, and a rhomb, frequently combined with a circle (mandorla) and a square. The empty space delineated by Berdyszak by means of gaps, fissures and openings becomes 'space proper', a place for contemplating the invisible, an epiphanic space. The material elements of the composition are reduced to a 'casing', concealing that which remains invisible to the eyes or, to use the name of another series by the same artist, they produce a 'passe-partout' of sorts and, simultaneously, a transition to an entity (passe-par-tout). This approach contradicts the profound humanism of Eastern-rite painting, based on the dogma of the incarnation. The veraicon in particular depicts humanity in a highly expressive and poignant manner within the perspective of suffering and death. This is also the reason why the fact that Jan Berdyszak applied 'the true icon of Christ', or actually its damaged form, to demonstrate the experiencing of God in a void and nothingness, so close to mysticism, could be interpreted as a symptom of radical (provocative?) iconoclasm. The character and message of both series is excellently rendered in Paul Celan's well-known Mandorla: 'In der Mandel - was steht in der Mandel/ Das Nichts./ Es steht das Nichts in der Mandel./ Da steht es und steht'.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.