Taking time to find meaning

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 August, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 06 August, 1999, 12:00am

The passage of time plays a important role in artist Tomasz Domanski's creations.

Tomasz, a Polish specialist in installation art, was in Hong Kong on a three-month residency as part of the Unesco-Aschberg Bursaries for Artists programme, held in conjunction with the Philippe Charriol Foundation.

His works are shown across Europe and utilise natural elements such as fire, ice, wood and granite.

'Time plays a vital role in my work because I want to show the impermanence of our lives,' says Tomasz. 'The Latin word tabula rasa sums it up too - which means all of us are born like a plain board. Our experiences are written on this board and shape who we are.' Among his installations is a series entitled 'Monuments of Time', which depict fire-lit ice columns or tree trunks sitting atop ice blocks.

The biggest installation he has done was in Alaska, where he carved a block of ice taken from a lake. His use of ice is symbolic because 'when ice melts, it is a visualisation of time'.

Tomasz says he enjoys installation art because the sheer size of it requires a lot of energy and expression, plus 'it's an escape from the commercial side of art, as you can't sell an installation'.

Despite his installations having such limited life spans, Tomasz insists he is not obsessed with time.

'I am aware of it and how it changes me, but I would like to have a good relationship with time,' he says.

'When you are not conscious of time and just plod along in life and get into a routine, then time works against you. Time is only on your side when you make the most of it.'