The artist Paul Sakoilsky resides in The Dark Times — part living space and part studio, a room dedicated to asking the question, over and over, 'Are these the Dark Times?'
Painted/collaged over London's free newspapers, and other found or donated 'papers'; the work tends towards a well balanced blend of provocation and conversation. Questions are posed, whilst our standard conceptual responses are jeered at. The very base question: 'Are these the Dark times?' leaves us no respite, yet invites the possibility of reprieve — a reprieve that may be best realised through the production of art, both as a cathartic and creative experience...
Paul Sakoilsky lets it be known that this is categorically not a performance.
The Snake eats your head again. Your future is only barely illumined by the fact that you have been here before and have awoken again.
As the water levels rise above the level of your nearest neighbour's rooftop you reflect upon the shoes he used to wear.
— This is only the sound of a stick breaking in the night, a little too close to the forest encampment. Are we living in the darkest times, or are we merely again in the night that precedes day, that precedes night?
As the snake eats the moon, as ice caps tumble and wars rage in distant places fought with our money and in our name, and as we lose the right to complain, I see my closest friends serenely distracted. Sometimes it seems that we are always all in the last days, always on the edge of a final judgement, perhaps not at the hands of gods, but of men who will try to break our last will, to grasp and to brutalise a beauty they fear purely because they cannot truly comprehend it. We have always lived in these times; it is just that now there is more at stake. And whilst we may reap the benefits of technological advance, we may wish to stop and look about us, to savour the turning of a leaf, the beautiful distraction on the face of a passer-by, for in dark times these things cannot be robbed from us.
And if waters rise, and if populations shift across lands and if resources are stifled, fear not nature, for it was not nature that rose up and destroyed all reason in Auschwitz or in Sarajevo, in Rwanda or in Iraq.
Fear those men that offer up protection at the price of freedom, for our dark times have no temporal persuasion, they are everywhere and have existed throughout history: This darkening is something that the human imposes upon the humane. And so the question 'Are we living in Dark Times?' must be asked over and over, lest we forget ourselves and become party to the ruin. Art is this questioning, and in the work of artist Paul Sakoilsky we see echoed in negative form the sentiments of Salinger's 'Zooey': 'There are nice things in the World, real nice things.' Art, in posing a question at least holds this potential promise -
— The snake eats your head again. Your future is only barely illumined by the fact that you have been here before and awoken again.
© Mike Watson 2007