The Bird Who Spoke

A year ago, in January 2022, Andrzej Dudziński took part in a meeting about the poster exhibition entitled “The Bull and Dudi” at Leonarda Art gallery in Centrum Praskie Koneser in Warsaw. The exhibition displayed works by Franciszek Starowiejski and Andrzej Dudziński. Photo: PAP/Pawel Supernak

– I don’t form a single whole for people – Andrzej once told me. – The audience puts me in two different spheres: applied art and so-called pure art. Some encounter my illustrations; others perceive me as an independent artist, painter, photographer, and creator of showcase collages. Maybe I should part ways with drawing and limit myself to paintings. But it’s mentally impossible for me. Every undertaking, even the most attractive, but performed constantly, turns into torment. Monotony kills.

Andrzej Dudziński (1945 – 2023)

He was 77 years old – and as you know, this is the age when they say it’s all downhill from there. Because two sevens are two axes. Superstitions sometimes come true – the blades of the double seven-axe cut down Andrzej Dudziński on January 17.

But he certainly wouldn’t have wanted to hit a tearful note on this occasion. It’s better to be comforted and gladdened by remembering his wonderful life, rich in experiences, full of fascinating friendships, and above all, fulfilled love for a woman. The same one.

Perhaps it’s precisely the relationship with Magda Dygat, the daughter of a popular writer, later herself a writer, that should be considered Andrzej’s greatest life success (according to Czesław Niemen’s hit declaration “My love, my success, is you”)?

He and Magda met in Sopot as teenagers in 1960. How did she see him then? “He was a carbon copy of an American teenager. He had a crew cut, wore jeans, an oversized red sweater, and moccasins. In addition, he could casually toss around American words, which made him incredibly cool for a fifteen-year-old – she would recall. Magda and Andrzej passed the test of time, from that holiday crush to seriously dating each other; they moved in together in 1965 and married two years later. And although they changed addresses dozens of times, nothing went wrong between them. Hardly no one maintains unchanging feelings for more than six decades!

Please note the magical meaning of sevens in the common biography of the Dudzińskis (as Magda mentions in The Little Alphabet of Magda and Andrzej Dudziński): the wedding in 1967, the trip to the US in 1977, buying a house near New York in 1987. The year 2007 had positives and negatives, but it stands out. Magda did not predict this year’s double axes.

With a Dog and a Man

Yes, Andrzej Dudziński lived at full throttle. He jumped from one discipline to the next, since working the same field for too long was exhausting – and his greatest fear was getting bored of himself. So he somersaulted. And although he sometimes performed risky acrobatics, he never broke his neck. Even when he drew with his left hand, without being left-handed. This is not a metaphor, but a fact: when his right hand became a bit too nimble, he deliberately made his work more difficult by activating the other limb. Was it luck or above-average dexterity? Probably both.

It was similar when it came to establishing interpersonal contacts – it was effortless for him and most often resulted in the development of long-term friendships. I never met anyone who was hostile towards Dudi, though he wasn’t cuddly at all. Sometimes, he revealed his unpopular and defiant views, which in someone else’s case would probably lead to conflicts. Andrzej endeared himself to everyone with his charm and boyish smile. It was obvious that he wasn’t faking it. Not in anything.

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