Sewing Victory together

"Stasys Eidrigevicius !Reactions" show at Zachęta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw, January, 2023. Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymanski

He captures the nature of events, places and time. He is not afraid to experiment. He's honest. He abhors fashions and trends considered to be "trendy". He knows how to articulate his thoughts. In 2023, Stasys Eidrigevicius celebrates his jubilee.

It took place 33 years ago.

  A fair-haired boy was leaning over a miniature sewing machine and carefully sewing two ribbons together, one red, the other white, using a white thread. A multi-meter-long Polish flag was being created. Above the child's head and his "game", red and white ribbons stretched upwards, creating a V-sign. Victory!

  In this performance, the role of the "tailor" was played by Ignacy, Stasys Eidrigevicius’ son. The artist himself was a "cutter". He was cutting the tapering Polish banner into pieces and giving red-and-white bits of textile to the guests attending the opening of the exhibition at Warsaw’s Studio Gallery.

Snippets of the flag

  In this way, Stasys was sharing with everyone (guests and their friends) the symbol of a new free Poland. He was already a citizen, having lived in the country for a decade. The year was 1990.

  With this performance, Stasys was simultaneously reinterpreting and bringing back a memorable work by fellow artist, Jerzy Kalina, who in 1983, during the time of martial law, presented the installation "The Last Supper" in Warsaw's Church of the Divine Mercy.  It was there, in the burnt-out interior of that rubble-covered temple that Kalina had "torn" our flag, somehow "crucifying " it, in such a way that the two separated ends of the white and red fabric also ended up forming the letter V beneath the vault. At the time, it symbolized the hope for the Polish nation's victory over those imposing an unwanted regime upon the country.

  And a few years later, our dream of Victory came true.

Find the rest of the article here.

–Monika Małkowska
–Translated by Agnieszka Rakoczy