• non omnis moriar

    (I will not die completely, Horace)
    2007 – still in progress
    meat, polyester, metal
    We never die entirely, and we stay alive in memories and the bodies of organisms that consume and digest our bodies. The process of corpse decomposition, which humans perceive as disgusting and humiliating, is a fantastic performance of departure, and a dead body is a scene of living.
    The sculpture was created to make the disgusting decomposition process observable and even beautiful. The artistic context made observing the rotting meat bearable.
    In 2007 I was a student in the third year at the Academy of Fine Arts in Łódź, and I was in depression. Producing Non Omnis Moriar was like a catharsis. After making the polyester sculpture, I would go to a food market near the school every day to buy a few kilograms of bad-quality meat (usually sold as food for animals). I would come with it to the sculpture studio, cut it into pieces, and put a layer of it inside the sculpture. The transparent polyester was supposed to protect the meat from fast rotting. However, it was tough to control if everything was covered with the polyester properly. That is why the meat inside started smelly before I finished working on the inside. My professors would tell me later that they were worried about what was happening, but they were also aware they could not stop me. I had to do it.
    The sculpture was supposed to be exhibited in the frame of the biggest student competition happening every year. It was exhibited hanging in a black room without windows. The meat was in an advanced stage of decomposition, so the smell was quite intense, and secretions were dropping on the floor, creating a puddle. The installation would not win any prize, and some visitors were disgusted.
    Dismantling the installation was complicated because faculty workers, who were supposed to help take the sculpture down and transport it back to the faculty, said they were not going to touch it. I had to take the sculpture (which weighed over 70kg) down by myself. In high emotions, I forgot to carry gloves and pricked my hand with a construction wire contaminated by rotting meat. It was a tiny prick on my left palm. The next day the palm started to become swollen and red. The pain was sharp, especially by night. I realized at some moment that a red line was running from the prick up to my elbow. I did not know then that it was a sign of a severe infection and that I could die. A colleague whose father was a surgeon saw my hand during drawing classes, and she immediately took me to the hospital. The wound was cleaned up, and I got antibiotics. The accident somehow completed the whole idea of the project.
    After the competition, the sculpture was covered with black foil and located in the faculty's backyard at a distance from where people are usually present. It looked like an abandoned body from a crime story. I would check on it almost every day, documenting changes.
    When I graduated, I had to transport the majority of my sculptures from the faculty in Łódź to my family house in a small village located halfway between Łódź and Warsaw. The body found a safe space and freedom and was located in the garden without any special protection. With time, the meat disappeared, being eaten by various non-human consumers. The polyester form started to collaborate with rain, soil, grass, and moss. It became my tradition to document the body's condition whenever I visit my parents. Polyester is quite solid and resistant, so the body will never die completely.