Karol Palczak
29.09 – 19.11.2022

Foksal Gallery Foundation

The Polish word ŚREŻOGA has almost been forgotten and its meaning is ambiguous. All the settings it refers to have one common feature: they all belong to the natural world and relate to atmosphere. We deal with śreżoga when in autumn and early winter, a sudden frost withers leaves on trees and flowers. The term may also be used to describe the glare of sunrays, when on a bright day the sunshine passes through a layer of fog or smoke. It can sometimes be understood to describe the convective movement of air on a hot day creating an impression of haze that looks like water spilling over heated ground or asphalt in the distance.
Thus śreżoga is something that can be observed outdoors, in the open: in a woodland, on a meadow, but also above a road. It is a visual phenomenon to be seen in winter as well as in summer. In Jan Andrzej Morsztyn's sonnet titled “To a Corpse”, regarded as a classic in the history of Polish literature, śreżoga is a scorching condition that torments an unhappy lover. "Thou speakest not, I cannot cease to moan all day. / Thy senses gone, I suffer from a dreadful pain. / Thou cold as ice, my entrails burn with flames insane." * In Morsztyn's work śreżoga, translated here as “flames insane”, acquires an additional metaphorical meaning, as it symbolizes feelings and emotional states. The word used by the poet shares certain characteristics with the concept of atmosphere. His śreżoga refers as much to the state of the air it describes as to the state of mind that is reflected, as it were, by its surroundings.

* Translated by Jarek Zawadzki. Source: https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/To_a_Corpse