“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.
At the beginning of April, Łódź will become a Polish capital of photography and filming. During three days of jubilee edition of FILM VIDEO FOTO fair, all those, whose passion is recording the light in the frame and film, will be celebrating their feast.
This year’s edition of the fair will give a great opportunity to see novelties presented by leading producers, service provides and distributors of photographic, film, audio-video equipment and accessories as well as multimedia technologies. The FILM VIDEO FOTO fair is not only the novelties from the world of photography and film, that you can see and test on your own, it is also a wonderful opportunity to meet the most recognisable and experienced experts in both of these fields.
As every year, the FILM VIDEO FOTO fair will offer its visitors a number of lectures and workshops. Every day the trainings will be divided into thematic blocks related to photography, film, print and image processing. There will also be exhibitions and meetings with famous photographers during which they will tell us about their skills and experience. This year’s Art Zone will be divided into Young Polish Photographers – including presentation of the DEBUTS (edition 2016) winners – and Masters of Frames. In addition, there will be meetings with artists presenting their own achievements and different kinds of photography.
The first day of the FILM VIDEO FOTO fair in Łódź, the biggest exhibition of photo, audio and video industry in Central and Eastern Europe, will belong exclusively to the industry representatives for B2B meetings. The next two days will be available to all those who want to develop their skills, gain knowledge of news in technology and meet recognisable experts in the industry of photography and film.
More info @ www.filmvideofoto.pl
FILM VIDEO FOTO 2017
@ Expo-Łódź (4 Politechniki Av., Łódź, Poland)
April 6-8, 2017
The FILM VIDEO FOTO fairs are organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.
Are we alone? Are we being watched? Who created us and what is the purpose of our lives? Is there a God or do we live in the Matrix? Or maybe we are just an outcome of the aliens’ experiment? Artists from all over the world are now invited to try to answer these questions.
There have been thousands of files on UFO phenomena collected by governments around the world. Countless amount of documents, researches, videos, photographs, sketches, scientific and sci-fi books and movies, but also artistic interpretations of this topic have been created. There is an ongoing discussion between people who believe and people who don’t believe in extraterrestrial life; not forgetting about various movements uniting people who explain the development of human civilisations (paleo-astronautics) as well as beginnings of main religions in alien activities. So many passionate researchers devote their lives to solve the mystery of UFO; the outcome of their work seems to be underestimated by the society.
#SHOWMEYOURUFO is a new project exploring the UFO phenomena – topic that has always been mysterious and appealing to people around the world. Creators of the concept want to join forces with researches and artists from all over the world to create an archive of contemporary visual representations related to UFO and alien conspiracy theories.
Organisers expect works related to the UFO’s topic or it’s visual language, mainly stories and documentations of sightings, or portraits of abductees/witnesses. Regarding the media – it could be photographs, drawings, clippings, short videos or sounds.
To apply, artists need to simply upload the artworks on Tumblr, Instagram or YouTube and add the #SHOWMEYOURUFO hashtag, or submit them to the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. There are no age, number of photos per person or nationality restrictions. Artworks in low resolution (72 dpi) should be accompanied by the participants name, surname, website and contact details. Work must be created by the submitting artist.
The most interesting evidence will be presented during upcoming show in Cracow (Poland) and also published on the showmeyourufo.tumblr.com website. Selected files will be featured in the accompanying zine published on this occasion.
The #SHOWMEYOURUFO project is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.
Street photography is based on capturing unusual events, symbols or anecdotes hidden in everyday situations happening in public places. Street photographers observe, notice and capture things, that others are unable to see. They do not arrange their pictures, they save everyday life as it is.
Un-Posed, founded by Damian Chrobak in 2011, is one of the most recognised Polish street photography collectives. Its primary aim is to develop creativity and visual consciousness in public space and promote the achievements of Polish street photographers. Unposed also is the title of its next exhibition soon to be open in Wroclaw’s FOTO-GEN Gallery.
The Unposed exhibition focuses on a human being seen in different situations and photographed in different places around the world. The pictures by 9 photographers – Damian Chrobak (doc! #13 & #19), Maciej Dakowicz (doc! #12), Jamie Fyson Howard (doc! #16), Ania Kłosek (doc! #25), Monika Krzyszkowska (DEBUTS 2015), Tomasz Kulbowski, Tymon Markowski, Marta Rybicka (DEBUTS 2016) and Adrian Wykrota (doc! #31) – form a story about the current state of man in terms of behaviours, surroundings and emotions. Why are we drawn to these images? Do we see similarities in our own lives? Have we seen such scenes somewhere before?
Despite of the fact that all members of the collective move in the same area of interests, their photographs prove their individual style, which shows complexity and potency of street photography.
The Un-Posed exhibition is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.
Giovanni Gastel’s first encounter with photography took place in the 1970s. At that time, photography was considered a legitimate art form and discipline and started to be collected and shown in the world’s museums and galleries. Fashion photography, however, was still considered “practical” and had not garnered much recognition in the world of art. With time, fashion photography gained its artistic status. Fashion photographic images were made in a myriad of contexts and, thus, began to define the photographic canon and grace various art spaces. Gastel’s artistic consecration took place in 1997 when the Triennale di Milano held an exhibition of his works, curated by the contemporary art historian, Germano Celant.
Giovanni Gastel does not believe in the unification of the arts, but describes his photographic work metaphorically, in terms of theatre and literature, emphasising the importance of “creating a scene” and “telling a story” with an image. He also paints the analogy of poetry to photography, which, he posits, consists not of the lyricism of an image but of the succinct and concise structure of form.
“What fascinates me about photography is that it has no relation to reality,” – says Gastel. – “It is the interruption of the constant flow of time. From eternal movement, life, to eternal immobility. It alludes to the real to create a real parallel.”
For Gastel, poems and photographs are a bit like dreams. They carry many meanings and can develop by themselves, without an author, just as the image or subject of a photograph makes itself known on the paper’s surface as it develops. The Metamorphoses series refers to Franz Kafka’s text and therein, yields Gastel’s explicit surrealistic understanding of photography. Viewers of his work can find visual references to the artists who preceded him and were considered surrealists such as Man Ray, Irvin Penn, Erwin Blumenfeld and Guy Burden.
Gastel uses various methods and techniques in his artistic practice, spanning many eras, from the Renaissance to Pop Art. He is aware of the illusiveness of fashion photography and continually reinvents the visual canon by offering viewers different perspectives of the idea of beauty and the ways it’s represented in. His methodology also makes reference to the cinematic experience. In the Ritratti di Living series, commissioned by Elle Decor in 2013, Gastel reproduced Edward Hopper’s works and played with that illusive nature, once again, making viewers of the work mistrust their own eyes.
Gastel works with large format analog cameras to contemporary digital devices. He uses various methods of analog photography such as pictorial rielaboration, decoupling and stratification, and when working with digital images, gives particular attention to post production. Unlike many others seasoned photographers, Gastel considers the invention of digital photographic technology to be the real birth of the medium, suggesting that everything until that point was a “mere archeology.”
Giovanni Gastel (b. 1955) | based in Milan (Italy) | fashion photographer | introduced to the world of art by his famous uncle, Italian filmmaker Luchino Visconti | started with wedding and portrait photography, small still-lives and occasionally kids’ fashion photo sessions (the 1970s) | since then, worked for Christie’s Auction House (since 1975) and with Carla Ghiglieri, as his agent who introduced him to the world of fashion (1981) | his photographs have been published by such outlets as Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Elle, Donna, Mondo Uomo Glamour, Femme, Amica and Sette, among others, and exhibited in museums and galleries all over the world.
Giovanni Gastel – CANONS OF BEAUTY
@ The Lumière Brothers Centre for Photography (3 Bolotnaya emb, bld. 1, Moscow, Russia)
Opening reception: March 15 at 7.00 PM
The exhibition will be open to the public between March 16 and May 9, 2017