Imagine the place big enough you can squeeze all your dreams in and still have plenty of space left, place large like a galaxy and yet small like an embrace of a loving woman. And while you are there, try to see it through the eyes of an artist who is your travelling companion. Come aboard of his boat, which is driven by the most powerful force of them all: the longing...
Just look around: you can see birds heading to the sunset, some faraway island, the castle below and the girl flying high above and looking for the distant land. See the empty boat with the mermaid carved in its bow, the symbol of safe voyage. Symbolism? Yes, but isn't it the stuff the dreams are made of?
Look into the window, where everything is upside down yet brighter than all the real world which surrounds it. And you suddenly have to wonder: maybe that our dreams are the snapshots of the genuine, actual existence, while all that what we call "life" is just one bad dream? Isn't all what is around us rather upside down, reversed, distorted? After all, ours is the small world, like the one we can see in the the center of night sunflower. No wonder we long for something different, something better. We yearn to set a sail and take-off with the first tide. Where to? How about that faraway island, full of atolls, the confederacy of lagoons, those little seas surrounded by one big coral sea? After all, they say that every man is an island, don't they?
Or maybe you want to go to the never-never land, the midnight kingdom, with the sun like a glowing balloon, the world of several levels when one can reincarnate into another being, the better one? Is there such place, the land of ultimate happiness? Probably not. We know it and the artist knows it too. Still, the joy of dreaming, the joy of travelling is sometimes greater than the joy of getting there. Well, as far as somebody keeps the watchful eye on us, as far as we know we are never alone. But then again, where is our God - it he also dreamt - of?
Yes, our dreams. Why is always something preventing us to live them through? Like the armored knight on the picture who is barring the girl from giving the flowers - her beauty - to her loved one. But wait, look at the girl's face! See her determination - no, she is not going to throw it all away. She is not afraid of the knight - after all, his armor may be as hollow as the one of the knight of autumn on another picture - who is just a fistful of dry leaves, dancing in the wind. And again, notice the ship waiting in the harbor, the promise of magnificent escape, of the infinite journey.
Maybe what's stopping us is just our bad fate, the whims of our Miss Fortune. She is no generous Lady Luck, no Sir, she is more like a spinster and when she rolls her dice, the odds are always against you. There is no smile in her face either - she looks more like Miss Misfortune. You want to know your future? Ask the fortuneteller, but believe me, she is lying, too. No, the truth is somewhere else - maybe in the mirror, where the world always looks nice, sunny and beautiful. But beware: see the shade crossing your path. It does not look real - it's more like a shadow of something which does not exist, which simply isn't. Maybe our life is just a mirage, after all.
Torn between those two worlds, which are drifting apart like the walls of some canyon with bottomless depth beneath, we are hopelessly trying to find some balance. Then comes the redemption: man, the weight lifter, just have to carry his whole world alone, like immortal Atlas, who was punished by Greek gods for his revolt against them. Still, if I remember correctly, Atlas carries on his shoulder both the Earth and Heavens, the land where we live and the land of our dreams...
© Jan B. Hurych
© 1999 Jindrich Pilecek, ArtForum / ICZ a.s.