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About colors

07 of March '22

Once a certain, fortunately already former, fiancée, led by innate malice, of which I myself am completely devoid (to be clear), said: "You that you grew up in Ursynów in a small apartment, your parents drove a toddler and then a Daihatsu Charade, the furniture mikre was from a pedet, even your TV was a tiny Vela, so no wonder you have a weakness for small things. Small houses, narrow cottages, niches of some kind, pavilions, you like it all from this saturation of Ursinus." Perhaps not without reason.

Following the lead of the influence of the puppy years on aesthetic preferences in adulthood, one can go further. Think, for example, of architects, especially of the male kind. In my parents' generation, among gentlemen, there was no talk about color. About light yes. About the truth of the material - and yes. But like color, it was only because brick red and concrete gray. Plaster of some color painted already smelled like a crime, or at least a hoax. Maybe except for sgraffito or mosaic as some architect got a job on a church with interiors for parish dollars.

The ladies of color must apparently have talked about color, because they desperately sought it and craved it as an antidote to all the shades of gray in the reality of the time. Where do you think the love for Cepelia, the stripes of Lowicz and orange faux leather-finished stools came from? Whether rustic or futuristic, vivid colors landed in interiors, and interiors were invariably taken care of by women. They were the ones who acquired materials in rolls imported from abroad, or at least pigments for dyeing cotton. They were the ones who studied the shamelessly colorful "Burds" and acquired ceramics and glassware from Silesian factories. In the exteriors, ladies and gentlemen of living color tended not to look for, or could not find.

For where was she to take and architectural sisterhood to take examples from? If one was interested in photography in one's teens, one could read in a national textbook that, and I quote from memory, "photographs should be taken deliberately and preferably on black-and-white material, because color film is imported into the country for heavy foreign exchange." In a word, brah, sublimate the shot in grayscale, otherwise you are exposing the PRL to losses due to the venerable waste of a disheveled amateur. Shame on you! In the 1970s there were still the wall paintings of the post-war era, smoky and falling off stone and glass mosaics, including those efflorescences of creativity unparalleled in the form of great panneau 's made of glassworks waste. In the dark final years of the 1970s, however, all these forms and compositions were already covered by a mixture of smog, mud and pigeon dung, because, plague and poverty aside, the notion of maintenance and renovation was still suspiciously "not ours." Besides, here we had to build new, not pamper the old! On top of that, in the "Baumeister" acquired in Empik, the photos were also only in black and white, so the architects knew as much about the possible colorfulness of the projects printed there as 19th-century archaeologists knew about the colors of paint on Greek antique sculptures. That is, nothing. There was color in Pentel's scented markers, if someone got them from abroad, in painters' paintings and art textiles, and, if one could, in Barbara Hoff's clothes acquired at the Center Houses.

Then the mono-partisan and monochromatic system began to wilt at an accelerated rate, and the red sashes, banners and stars turned faded maroon, pinkish and eventually disappeared altogether. What appeared were, as Czeslaw Bielecki once put it, "second-hand Western technologies" in the form of a flood of material trash of the late 1980s and early 1990s, making Polish city centers look like distant German suburbs, somewhere between a highway exit and the back of a cargo airport near Stuttgart. Green aluminum profiles have replaced the corroded, corrugated German-era profiles of the Rotunda and Powiśle stations. Polycarbonate canopies, dear lord, we also have one in a pleasing wave: you can bolt one to the entrance of a workplace, and it will magically turn into an office building in a non-Polish downtown, hey ha! A wall can also be made into a wave with luxfers, including luxfers made of glass in any color. We also offer fluorescent self-adhesive films, nibymarble stoneware, acrylic plaster in pistache prestige and pink flamingo, as you can see them dear ones on a VHS tape in the Majami Wajs series. Technologies went hand in hand with postmodern trends, which many Polish architects from "abroad" imported or, at least, copied. The spiritual children of Leykam, Boguslawski and Lachert enthusiastically went for the plastic-flat, for that vivid and chicken so cheerful, color. Ding, ding and blink!

Meanwhile, their children, if God forbid it occurred to them to follow in their parents' footsteps, landed in architecture schools that were stuck in limbo between long-buried modernism (remember the demolition of the Pruitt Igoe housing development in Saint Louis?) and a circus of new, albeit potentially dangerous, possibilities. Here, however, the local mix of moulted cats, colorless assistants, March docents and hop-ahead new architect-entrepreneurs didn't want to talk about color. "Taste and colors are none of our business. We don't speak about it," a professor at my alma mater once told me. At this, the guy in the faded self-made jacket glared at me as if he wanted to add, "Colors are extreme queerness, young man, you know what I mean...". Well, I may indeed have given him reason to do so, as I was fascinated by bodybuilding at the time, dyed my hair and wore too-tight spandex undershirts, under which my usually erect nipples were clearly visible from the irritation of the material. Hey, let him cast a stone who, as a 20-year-old, did not go through a period of errors and distortions in search of his own stylistic identity!

The dashes, scribbles and chiaroscuro avalanches were as monochromatic as they had been in the days of my parents' architectural studies, so one also thought of designed buildings... in black and white. This had good points, by the way, because it didn't put us in a situation where we had to juxtapose different colors. Unsuccessful color relationships would expose us to remarks of the type I heard in art high school, where a colleague, not a bad painter, standing in front of my "oil sample," rolled her eyes and then friendlily patted me on the shoulder. "You know, hmmm, color, however, is not your domain." After that, I forever felt marked by some defect conjuring me in black and white illustration. Admittedly nobly referencing 19th century engravings, but nevertheless duller than the happy new world outside the window from Korolkiewicz's paintings.

Perhaps, by the way, a good clue in this inability of many female architects and especially architects to cope with color is the world of print. After all, everyone, even architects, must have read some books and inevitably also had to deal with aesthetic superstitions dating back to the invention of cheap oleo-printing. To this we can add visits to country houses, where underpainted, frighteningly disheveled monids and holy pictures reproduced with mysterious techniques by indulgent traders haunted the walls. In this logic, color was naive, cheap, tacky and associated with a not particularly noble origin. A fe!

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