The Drama of the Polish Tango!
“Cue the music, put a rose between your teeth and peruse the thought provoking, inspirational, and very enjoyable collection of watercolours by Aimee Birnbaum RI.
Ok, maybe forget the rose… this is the Mall Galleries after all, and it’s the 210th Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours Exhibition 2022.
Aimee takes us to a different place. Six paintings to transport us to the café culture of the interwar years.
There’s fun and flirting, whispers and secrecy, love and jealousy, tension and tales. We can discover every emotion from yesteryear; but in addition to the past, these works are perhaps given a greater relevance by the terrible situation in our war ravaged Europe of today.
Aimee has given us ordinary people, in this case a Polish society enjoying life before the Second World War, it could so easily be Ukrainians in a fashionable club four months ago. Such is the world.
My own favourite is ‘Dancing On The Edge’. I like the attitudes and can hear the gossip. With a bit of imagination you can give all the protagonists names… Zofia a school teacher from Wroclaw, Krystyna a junior reporter from Lublin, Tadeusz the tailor from Łódź clocking all the fashions, etc etc… it’s up to you.
I’m by no means an expert but for me there is something reminiscent of El Greco in there somewhere, maybe a colour tone or narrative or intensity (somewhere).
I talked briefly with Aimee about the series and she told me about her research and the Warsaw recording studio ‘Syrena Electro’ a source of inspiration.
Apparently for Aimee the Polish Tango has become “a bit of an obsession”. Seeing these paintings, it’s an obsession I’m happy to share.
Pass me my dancing shoes!”
Mark Elsmore RI