“Photographic still life is a double death of a thing.” However, Paweł Żak’s exhibition will be salvation. We will see the perfectly presented reality, shown surprisingly abstractively. A glass of vodka, flowers and a skull just make a seemingly weird set. Yet, in Paweł Żak’s photographic work they make a story. It is also easy to find some reference to Dutch masters of painting there.
Still life is a classic when it comes to visual arts. Sets of static elements put together for compositional purposes, and sometimes for symbolic ones too. Not large, still items are willingly used by painters, but there are definitely fewer photographers interested in this kind of artistic expression. There are very few such masters, who create whole series of still life. No doubt, Paweł Żak is one of them. The artist has been working in this trend for 25 years, constantly amazing the viewer with successive series.
His next exhibition will consist of the latest works of the cycle that started in 2008. The works put under one title Core Curriculum and Other Still Lifes unveil Paweł Żak as the mature, minimalistic and (this time) extremely reserved artist. Digitally made images attract attention with their severity and sharpness. Simultaneously, they captivate with minimalism and abstraction.
These photographs are elaborated in every detail. They take the beginning on paper in the form of precise sketches that are then recorded with apothecary accuracy by millions of photodiodes that are selected in the way to make the viewer see what the artist wanted to show on a 1:1 scale. There is no space for mistakes, all the photos are one frame, in which Żak interferes only to the extent that photographic film allows him to.
As far as technically there is no room for inaccuracy, visually the images captivate with their ambiguity. One-colour background, spotlessly white and perfectly ironed tablecloth, common to all of the pictures, make the viewer concentrated on the presented items. The items, taken out of time and space, are here and now, in one and unchangeable situation, which, in spite of that, gives you a field for interpretation. And this is the sense of still life.
The exhibition opening will also be the release of the And Other Still Lifes album that consists of photographs taken by Paweł Żak since 2008.
Paweł Żak (b. 1965) | based in Warsaw (Poland) | studied Social Sciences at the University of Warsaw | graduate from the Academy of Fine Art in Poznan (Multimedia Communication Faculty) | lectures in Photography at the University of Warsaw’s Faculty of Photojournalism and ZPAF School of Photography | member of the Association of Polish Artists Photographers | presented his works at dozens of group and individual exhibitions in Poland and abroad | his works are in collections of National Library of France in Paris, National Museum in Warsaw, Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw, Museum of Art in Łódź, and in private collections in Poland, France, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Brazil, United Kingdom, and the USA | his photographs have been published by many magazines, including contra doc! (cd! #1 & #6).
Paweł Żak – CORE CURRICULUM AND OTHER STILL LIFES
@ Leica Gallery Warsaw (3 Mysia St., Warsaw, Poland)
Opening reception: March 31 at 7.00 PM
The exhibition will be open to the public between April 1 and May 28, 2017
The Paweł Żak exhibition is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.