“The Bomb”, 2021
soft PVC, soil, oil paints, pigments
The history of Leszek Jasiński’s work, The Bomb, is rather complex. It was created as part of the artist’s involvement with the Walka Młodych Gallery, established by Jan Rylke in the 1980s to bypass soviet censorship. The gallery was situated in a private apartment, providing artists with a platform to display their works independently. Today, the gallery continues to operate with a flexible approach, which Leszek Jasiński characterizes as ”Everyone brings what they want and hangs it on the walls“.
Jasiński’s bomb holds significant military history – paradoxically, harking back to the days when battles were fought “with fire and sword“. During one of Walka Młodych Gallery’s initiatives, the artist impersonated Konrad Mazowiecki, a medieval ruler of Polish lands. The bomb displayed at the exhibition symbolized the history of the Duke’s rule and specifically his collaboration with the Teutonic Order. Konrad sought assistance from the Teutonic Knights to defend border territories against the Prussians. However, this alliance led to the loss of control and the eventual occupation of Chełmno lands by the Order.
The artist likened Konrad Mazowiecki’s invitation of the Teutonic Knights to bringing an old bomb into one’s home. In this context, Jasiński’s sculpture aligns with his overarching artistic approach – an ironic, occasionally caricatured portrayal of religious motifs. The artist’s perspective does not intend to ridicule the faith itself, but rather to cast light on the hazardous mechanisms of its power.
The bomb incites concern only when placed in a public space, bringing to mind an armed conflict. Yet, the unmarked bomb leaves its origin uncertain, prompting a myriad of potential scenarios. This vagueness amplifies anxiety as it highlights the numerous ongoing conflicts in today’s world. The bomb signifies that the “hot spots” may be closer than we realize. Nonetheless, the metaphorical bombs, which Jasiński refers to, encompass not just military threats, but also ecological, epidemiological, migrational, and other dangers.
Text: Anna Bykova