Riparian Forest Reserve – Photography, Paintings, Workshop in a forest.
Since September 2012 I’ve been painting in the forest. Riparian Forest is situated in the area between the embankments by the Vistula river along Księcia Jóżefa street in Cracow, near the city center. This place is absolutely extraordinary and completely unknown. This is my reserve.
I decided to create an atelier in a forest. I bring empty canvases there and lean them on the willow and then I paint the bit that is the closest to me. Paintings together with a landscape create an installation. The whole expanse between two ponds and the mass of willows I consider as my workplace. Nature and paintings are in persisting process. For several months I haven’t been visited by any random person. After a month of work, I decided to show my friends the growing forest installation and I organised varnishing day in this wild place. Since September paintings are growing, flowers are shedding blossom, leaves are falling, grey herons are flying, I’m visited by woodpeckers and bullfinches. Everyday is different there. Riparian Forest in Przegorzały is one of the most valuable, natural places in Cracow, it’s a jungle, a dens and a wildlife reserve with an emphasis on water bird’s realm. People occur there hardly ever, the only exception are fishermen. Riparian forest is also colloquially called Salwator’s Ponds, by the naturalists it is called Riparian Forest in Przegorzały and by my dad it is called Cegielnia. My workshop is located directly opposite to Zakrzówek, but on the other bank of the Vistula river, right after the Zwierzynicki bridge. It is very important to remember, that Zakrzówek is a place for people, Riparian Forest on the other hand is a place for animals.
Cracow’s Riparian Forest is endangered. There are plans of building ringway which will run across this beautiful forest, destroying it irretrievably. Currently, public consultations regarding the spatial development plans in these areas are underway. Will the citizens sve the forest? What is the value for us, townspeople in 21st century? By portraying willows, I pay tribute to nature, which has no voice in our democracy, although it is necessary for our life.