"Whoever is not afraid of the dangers of the deepest depths and the newest ways that Hermes is always ready to open up to us, let him go and as a researcher, interpreter and philosopher, make a greater discovery, he will reach a more certain find. All for whom life is an adventure - an adventure in love or in spirit - Hermes is a common leader. Koinos Hermes!"
Karl Kerényi, Hermes, the guide of souls
The exhibition by Maja Starakiewicz is devoted to the figure of Hermes - on the one hand a mythical inventor of the alphabet, on the other - a patron of thieves and travelers. One can also see him as a patron of the aesthetic category, which complements the division of culture into Apollonian and Dionysian. In this sense, the culture of the Hermes character appears as identical to mannerism.
Maja Starakiewicz refers to Gustav Hocke's theory of Mannerism as a certain "subcutaneous" trend that once in a while returns to the history of culture. Mannerism is therefore in this approach a constant, which is based on anticlassical tendencies, and the Mannerist works are works on solstice, disharmony and excess. This trend can also be defined by using certain characteristic motifs, which include mirrors, labyrinths, human-animal hybrids, darkness with flickering "fires" or fireworks, winding lines.
The exhibition presents drawings depicting figures from the world of Hermes (and himself) and multiplied patterns. The starting point for the works were quotes from ancient architecture, calligraphy and ornamentation. In the compositions you can find references to ancient hermas, sculptures delineating the boundaries in space, or costumes for the comedy dell'arte. The chaos seemingly ruling the drawings turns out to be an mock chaos, because it is controlled, in brackets of conscious reference.
In the theological formula, the devil lies, even when he tells the truth - Hermes tells the truth, even when he lies.