So how do you work now? What do you start with?
I start by painting anything, it’s not that important. I don’t have a sketch or a concept for a painting. Painting is the recording of movement on a 1:1 scale; fieldwork, thinking on canvas. I see what’s in the painting and decide what’s next. I don’t go far ahead, I rather limit myself to one current intention: such a shape, paint this over, the left half of someone’s face painted from memory, put this piece of a photograph between these forms, smear half of the painting with gray paint. The intentions are sometimes general, sometimes specific, and that’s how I paint them. Sometimes I modify the intention while painting. And that’s it, and I start over: I see what’s in the painting… Sometimes it goes super fast, move after move, and sometimes with long breaks.
At some point, I see that the painting is ready, I don’t have to worry about it. I don’t actually work on paintings. I work on myself, on my ways of making decisions. There is no general rule or philosophy in them. It’s an incoherent but carefully nurtured collection of emotional-and-intellectual behaviors that leads to the creation of a good painting.
It’s just like a termite mound. The termites don’t have a plan for it because it can’t be stored in DNA, but through the course of evolution, they have developed specific, simple instincts based on the action-reaction principle. Behaviors of many insects interact with each other, and despite there is no plan for the termite mound, it’s formed, it’s complex and it functions outstandingly. It’s organic, evolutionary, emergent – in contrast with both a planned Soviet approach and formalist scribbling. It is my method to sneak between the Scylla of a metaphor and the Charybdis of decoration. Things coming into being this way are, in a sense, nature. You can see a logic in them, but it’s a logic that has developed by itself in the process of their creation. Nobody has invented it.
excerpt from a conversation between Maria Rubersz and Tymek Borowski, June 2019