Everything about the contemporary is panda
The panda has become a significant symbolic element in Martychowiec’s narrative since 2016. This project utilises various symbols with emphasis on the panda which functions on several levels and throughout many different areas of human activity: politics, culture, conservation, ecology and then again as a sort of idol.
The panda also symbolises the contemporary man, following Ortega y Gasset:
‘a satisfied little man’.
The panda is the most reappearing element, as it follows modes of existence of the spectator and most importantly pivotal moments of art history, whereas the other elements become interwoven comments on contemporary human conditions. This project is in a very direct discourse to two other bodies of work: The incredulity of St Thomas (where Thomas becomes a somewhat symbol of the spectator) and Josephine (where the rabbit Josephine becomes an existential symbol in opposition to the panda).
The mentioned actors of the projects represent these different modes of existence and they are meant to be understood as symbols. The two symbols operated with in this project are:
1. The panda. A degenerated creature (we want to keep the good times even though they are gone) – following Robert Lifton and Ortega y Gasset.
2. Marcel Duchamp. A 20th-century artist and professional chess player.
This project is about the interconnection between belief (faith) and freedom. The readymade, the choice of the frame made by the artist, and since recently also the spectator, are ideas (in a platonic structural sense) one can reflect upon.