Idealistic Philosophy of Participation and Contemporary Art. Selected Examples of Polish Art at the turn of the Twenty First Century

  • Rafał Solewski Faculty of Art, Pedagogical University in Kraków, Poland


The article begins with elements of the idealistic philosophy of participation. The introduction includes both Plato’s thought regarding the possibility of participating in the world of ideas and the concepts of being (including the Absolute Being), acting and existence of Saint Thomas Aquinas. Finally, the notion of religious faith in participating in God’s truth and love is discussed. The examples of works by Janusz Orbitowski, Grzegorz Sztabiński, Mirosław Bałka, Sebastian Wywiórski and Zbigniew Libera are described then as contemporary artistic attempts to participate in the metaphysical reality. The participation not only occurs thanks to the very metaphysical nature of art, but it is also the content and theme of works. Artists address the issues of being, essence, act, ideal pattern, the idea of writing, eternity, love relationship as participation in the idea of the Good. The poetic use of symbols and paradoxes also serves to relate to metaphysics. It is precisely poetics that is ultimately indicated as a way of participating in the metaphysical reality clearly present in contemporary visual arts.