Two Young Married Women1949 by Andrzej Wróblewski

A similar theme [to Figures (Postaci) by Wojciech Fangor, 1950] is brought up in the picture from 1949 entitled 'Two Young Women' by Andrzej Wróblewski. An artist who is an activist, very involved in socialist realism, he created in too individual a style to be appreciated by the authorities, as he expected. His canvas is dazzling with the dichotomy of good and evil. The two women are a comparison of opposites. Healthy and sick. Useful and unproductive. The heroine of work and a broken bourgeois. The message almost hurts my eyes. The "Western" woman is fashionably, that is, elaborately, dressed. Fitted dress, cleavage, jewelry and carefully styled hair. She seems anemic. Pale complexion and very thin, which was very bad after the war. She looks sick. It leads to a very simple conclusion: the lifestyle she leads does not bring anything good. There is one more important detail - she holds in her hands a dog with a bow. She has not paid her debt to society and power. People must maximize their potential - to work and reproduce. A "good" woman holds a child on her hands. She is an exemplary mother, and her hands, less delicate than her neighbors, indicate that she is no stranger to work. She is modestly dressed. Not without significance is the green color of the dress associated with hope and a white collar color that attests to purity. Her hair is smoothly tucked back, without any care for details. So we have a woman not only physically healthy, but also morally. In this picture, therefore, we can find, apart from the "black and white" show of good and evil, the ethos of an exemplary socialist mother. She not only works, but also raises her child trying to give as much as possible for the good of others, and does not put herself in the foreground.

Analyzing both works, the first thing that strikes you is their simple message. They are an interpretation of certain values ​​portrayed as clearly as in a child's book. There is no place for metaphor - the viewer has to understand everything without unnecessary digging. Socialist realism wants to manipulate citizens by giving them art as on a plate. There is no need to look for secondary meaning, everything that is important should be visible at first glance. This is characteristic of all the works of this era.

There is something else in these canvases. The authorities used artto give the woman specific roles. Who then decides how a woman should look, behave and live? Of course, not her. What has happened over the centuries can not change just because women have begun to work. You must tell them how to function, or they will get lost. It is ridiculous in all of this that socialist realism sees everything only in two colors. It does not give you the choice. It does not show the benefits of diversity. It is either / or. Nevertheless, the offer of socialist realism is not entirely convincing. This is particularly visible in the Fangor painting. Do we really see evil in "Americana"? Is she not more attractive than the other woman? This is probably not only my observations, because the pair of workers also look at her with a desire that simultaneously reveals their rejection and desire of this unknown world. Certainly for most women it is these "western" characters that will seem more convincing, because which woman does not want to look attractive? Why should work exclude taking care of yourself and looking good? Socialist realism, however, remains inexorable and sets a clear boundary between what is good and what is bad and associated with the enemy. However, as the history of mankind shows, it is hard to choose sides. Even if indoctrination will try to control all areas of life, man will still have the freedom to choose - maybe he will not be able to articulate it out loud, but in his heart he will seek his own path to happiness.
Julia Łowińska
[Google translation of text at]
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