the breath of not-doing (oddech nie-działania), Karolina Bracławiec, Gdańsk 2020 Exhibition,
Institute of Urban Culture, on-line exhibition, 2020
project: karolina bracławiec
technical support: leszek kieler
photos: agata bracławiec, anna sawicka, karolina bracławiec
video material: jakub waśniewski
Not-doing knocked on my door today. It is hard to admit that it is attractive. My initial reaction: run
away. I look again surreptitiously. There is something tempting in it, but the thought of repression
appears. It is because you have to, you should, you can't, just like that, do nothing. Thousands of
beliefs and conditions. The mind screams: what are you thinking? But some other voice is just as
strong: enough! I really don't have the strength, I can't, I don't want to.
Today I'm paying a tribute to giving myself the right to not-doing, not-giving. A tribute to the
essence of life and all being, where there is also a place for the delight of not-doing.
I give you an image of the state of not-doing. Blank pictures. Canvases.
I can clearly hear sounds of pleasure, my deep breath, a moment of joy and accompanying thoughts
– so, do I have the time for what I want?! the regeneration of the body, rest and slowing down. the
celebration of listening to myself.
the sound of silence - what to do now?! my body still wants to regenerate, it wants to lie down. I
read books. you can't do nothing just like that after all. I discover that when I gave myself the right to
lie down, I cleaned the house, washed the windows that had not been washed for at least two
years. my mind again becomes satisfied with the usefulness.
the following weeks:
I look, I ask - what exactly do I want now? I discover such places within myself that I really feel
exhausted. there is silence and fear. I am reprimanding that - as in the practice of a master - I should
sit in my studio every day to the rhythm of the imprinted motto: sit down, let it be the time devoted
only to work. I sit down. a day passes, and another day, a week, another week and nothing. no surge
of power? I look at the paintings that I have started painting and I totally can't get on with them!
there is an idea: canvass production! I make them one by one, like a machine - stretch, stick,
ground. the mind gets fed again - you are useful, it says; this is a kind of meditation and you are
being useful. Yet, at the same time, I am accompanied by a voice of helplessness. The mind screams:
begin. I sink into a feeling of inertia.
Here and Now:
I realize that for years I have been struggling; my body has said on frequent occasions: enough! I
have no energy, I need to lie down, do nothing, sleep. Western medicine calls it depression; at the
sound of the word "depression" I am immediately mobilized because depression means
dependence, a burden, a lack of livelihood, pills. some inner voice shouts: I'm strong, I can make it
through. I cannot succumb to depression.
Today, however, a different voice appears – a voice about letting myself be given the right to do
nothing; with all the richness of the mind that immediately goes chattering and directing: get up.
you can not just do this - do nothing. In the reality that is shaping and developing me, and which I'm
shaping and developing, it is difficult to give myself the right. what does that even mean? am I weak,
or is it my power? am I useless? how can you be not-doing, not-giving?
I'm breathing. I decide to give myself the right and privilege to be truthful and accept what is alive in
me. I observe.
I discover that coronavirus opens up in me the right to be in the state of acceptance, simply
breathing and observing things as they are. with the blank images, I pay tribute to not-doing and say
thank you to the pandemic – coronavirus, for slowing us down. for getting closer to each other. and
to the truth - the essence of life? Where will it lead me, I do not know. However, I know that I have
learnt that to say a conscious I don't know is a developing challenge.