Andrzej Roszczak, Covent Garden Gallery, Solo exhibition, paintings 2007-2009. Subject; Crazy years of 1960s - Atomic Era.


This time Roszczak is taking us through his paintings to 1960s and 1970s – the Cold War period, which is also known as the Atomic Era because Europe has been divided by Iron Curtain into 2 blocks as a result of unjust international treaties.

The societies living in the Eastern Block were under the influence of Soviet Union and predominant control from Moscow, which meant lack of any freedom and even terror. Despite of a great number of ideological constraints and no freedom of movement (no migration), the makeshift of freedom was smuggled through the Iron curtain to provide people living here with some fresh wave of liberated ideas and concepts.

Censorship was not always capable of picking and cutting out the ideologically forbidden thoughts from the content of pop art messages. Gradually the East European societies started to be absorbed with new needs. Roszczak in his paintings refers to the crazy times of 60s and 70s, when all these things that even in 80s and 90s (during his adolescence), were not available for people living in the Eastern block. He is inspired by the dialogue with the past times and his paintings seem to be the attempt of analyzing different attitudes and ideas of the past epoch. 




Exotic places were in the dreams of an ‘’ordinary citizen’’ during communism. Beaches and sea views are likely to be afterimages from movies, where the action takes place in ‘’mystic hot countries’’ while influencing the brains like advertising spots about perfect holidays. Big format of his paintings as well as tuned colors and shades that are in a clash with former Polish – Soviet reality, bring new form of calmness, relaxation and peace of mind.

Swimming costumes, this is the painting based on the concept of unavailability for every one ‘’luxurious goods’’ – a calendar by Pirelli. The calendar itself was associated with the silver spoon in the mouth of dignitaries whereas the rest of the society was living on the poverty line. The painting entitled Swimming costumes is not only in clash with those times, but it also has double meaning and a unique narrative character because it is connected with the sea views, exotic and carelessness (everything that was only available for well established communists), while on the other hand these commodities were not within the reach of ordinary people. Indigenous stripe design of the swimming costumes has always been associated with 1970s.





Le Mepris with Brigitte Bradot (after the photos of Le Mepris by Jean-Luc Godard, 1963) covers the subject of rejection and abandonment. The plot of the movie on the basis of which the paintings were made, takes part in Capri island, where nostalgic landscapes reminds about the fulfillment. In the meantime the figure of a young woman on the roof of a big villa is constantly intriguing. Calm, pastel color of the paintings is just a shallow cover for the excitement of this person. Worrying state of her mind seems to be strengthened by Roszczak through the spilled paint on canvas – like confused thoughts.




The series Dancing Girls is associated with the social changes of people during the times of Atomic Era and is based on the part of the video entitled „La société du spectacle” by the French writer, poet and political thinker – Guy Debord.

Debord creates video by combining different contrast situations, social attitudes, political manifests and advertising spots. The latter served as the inspiration for Roszczak to create the painting series about dancing girls.

The advertising spot shows a group of young women wearing elegant dresses and furs, who are moving slowly in the rhythm of solo dance while naturally starting to dress themselves off and finally they are also taking off their bras. The women are having a good time, and they do not care about each other, they seem to be absent, while the movie effect of the slower pace the tape gives somehow oneiric mood. The purpose of this advertising spot was to create free lifestyle, which was concluded in topless. The 70s resulted in numerous changes including social revolutions and the desire for freedom as a consequence of moral restrictions, which were no longer fully accepted by people. The series Dancing Girls is painted in black and white colors and it has the style of a document, which is reduced, but at the same time it is enhanced with various inter-media adjustments i.e.; file compression and effect of deformation, which is the consequence of taking photos from a broadcasted video.





The airports are the specific places, which are abundant with the special design and atmosphere. In line with the development of the aviation, there was a rapid expansion of airports, which tend to resemble the museums of modern art by their architecture. People who are waiting for the travel are in specific mood and waiting time, where you can easily notice some sort of tension – for this reason they are so much specific. In the opinion of Roszczak the airports are considered to be modern sanctuaries for the contemplative transit.

The fear of possible air crash forces us to self reflection. The plane of a popular Pan – Am airline from the 70s is taking us on long distance trip, perhaps to remote exotic places with relaxing sea views, where you can meet young women in the beach, sunbathing topless.

Roszczak has a good command of the painting workshop, where he accurately adjusts his style to the subject and the nature of the used source materials. Through the expression of his paintings, Roszczak is faithful to the emotional message covered in the sought inspirations and the contemplative nature of his paintings makes us more reflective.