Inspired by the German–Polish Illustrated Dictionary published in East Germany in 1954, the A-Z project has been running for over ten years. Like any other dictionary of this kind, it constitutes an attempt to depict the world in its entirety. Some of the categories in it may appear astounding or completely outdated today; they seem absurd or amount to an intriguing illustration of a past epoch. Errors in translation and archaisms heighten the impression that the practical aspect and the sense of the original Illustrated Dictionary have been suspended.
Andrzej Tobis’ work follows a number of rules: photographs are taken exclusively in Poland, portrayed people or objects/events are never arranged, and the final result (unprocessed photograph) is accompanied by the original Polish and German entry with the caption from the original index.
So far, the artist has found representations for more than 700 entries (the dictionary contains between 10 and 20,000 definitions). The photographs form a peculiar ‘language,’ with every single piece as a single word/concept; as a result, this collection of ‘words’ opens up a possibility of creating visual/linguistic metaphors.
The A-Z project is a complex and personal picture of reality, a journey based on intuition and chance, when popular truths and standard meanings are bluffed by subjective, individual ‘reading’ of space. Entries from the original dictionary provide a vital impulse and a preliminary instrument for a reconnaissance of the terrain and intuitive creation. The project is focused on uncovering senses, hidden underneath the calcified system of enforced rhetoric.
In the process of linguistic classification every object or situation becomes a living organism, revealing the diversity of its content. We catalogue the world on the one hand and, on the other, we deform the images of time and place, imposing clichés of our own personality upon them: private memories or sentiments. Andrzej Tobis’ photographs are individual equivocal creatures, coming together to form never-ending semantic sequences. The work as a whole is a complex linguistic ‘body,’ with its content proliferating in relation to context, surroundings and place of exposition.
It is the language indeed that is the key to interpreting Andrzej Tobis’ A–Z series, a compulsive and endless story of the world and its many layers, objects and spaces which have not been fully clarified and remain ambiguous. The artist plays a game with the image, the symbol, the riddle, but his wit is always lined with sensitivity, insight, also sociological observations at times. In Tobis’ pictures we discover familiar shadows of the past era – some persist against common sense, others dissolve in the present day. On the other hand, this world looks like a staged, unreal scene of events, intentionally created of absurd combinations. Awareness of the fact that the artist does not interfere with the situations he comes across makes laughter and jest turn into bitter conclusions.
A-Z (Ten Years After the Premiere) is going to be a syncretic presentation of Andrzej Tobis’ cycle A-Z (Educational Cabinets), started in 2006; the exhibition unites all forms the project has assumed over the years: alphabetical (dictionary) order, a synthesis of the whole as a private view of the world, cabinets arranged according to subjective categories.
Andrzej Tobis (b. 1970) | based in Katowice (Poland) | painter, lecturer, photographer and graduate of the Katowice Academy of Fine Arts (1995) | has presented his works at solo and group exhibitions in Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain, among others.
Andrzej Tobis – A-Z (TEN YEARS AFTER THE PREMIERE)
@ FOTO-GEN Gallery (8 Bpa. Nankiera Square, Wrocław, Poland)
Opening reception: October 6 at 5.00 PM
The exhibition will be open to the public until November 3, 2017
The Andrzej Tobis exhibition is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.
Ever since photography began, it has served as a tool for spreading knowledge about the world. Before the arrival of transport and means of communication, it allowed people to see the most remote places on Earth. Surprising as it may seem, even today photographers often assume the role of visual pioneers, not only by discovering the world, but also by addressing topical issues. The upcoming exhibition at the Lumière Brothers Centre for Photography traces Sebastian Copeland’s journeys to both, the North and South Poles, focusing on the photographer’s most extensive Arctic series, to which he dedicated over 10 years of travelling.
Copeland’s grandiose icy “canvases,” distant and poetic, are an extraordinary example of polar photography.
“As with landscape photography, the Arctic’s visual payoff is commensurate with the time invested there,” – says Copeland, describing the particular conditions of shooting in the Arctic. – “For visitors like me seeking immersive experiences, the ice can be especially rewarding when everything lines up. The dominance of water, in either frozen or liquid form, and the sun’s low angle makes for a limited colour spectrum; while the stripped down landscape imposes focus. Visually, clouds and ice are kindred spirits: heavy skies and low contrast extract the best of the blues, and ice will acquire an iridescence that is unique to polar photography.”
Aside from exposing the austere and fragile beauty of the pristine nature of the Polar Regions, Sebastian Copeland’s photographs have also a pragmatic aim – to use the art of photography to raise awareness of climate change on the planet and to campaign for a sustainable future: “Helping people fall in love with their world is a catalyst to wanting to save it.”
The melting of glaciers and thinning of the ice sheet in the Arctic and the Antarctic is happening faster than anywhere else on the Earth, and this is a clear sign of the changing climate.
“What happens in the Arctic, doesn’t stay in the Arctic!”– Copeland points out.
Having been an environmental activist since 1999, he has spoken at the UN and at international conferences around the world; he is on the Board of Directors of Global Green (the US arm of NGO environmental organisation Green Cross International, founded by Mikhail Gorbachev). In the foreword to Copeland’s book on Antarctica, Mikhail Gorbachev writes:
“It is in this essence of hopefulness that ‘Antarctica: The Global Warning’ came to life. It depicts the ephemeral and austere beauty of Antarctica through stunning photographs of the largest remaining wilderness on Earth.”
Copeland has travelled a total of almost 8,000 kilometres on his journeys to the coldest regions of the world. He took part in several Arctic expeditions in 2005, 2008 and 2010 and led a team of nine young people to the northernmost Canadian Arctic as Young Ambassadors of the Arctic. In 2009, he repeated Robert Edwin Peary’s 700-kilometre-long journey (1909) on foot to the geographical North Pole, which is considered one of the most difficult routes in the world. In 2010, he spent 43 days crossing the Greenland ice sheet using skis and kites, travelling a distance of 2,300 kilometres. He spent the seasons of 2006 and 2007 aboard a scientific research icebreaker in the Antarctic Peninsula, and during the winter of 2011-2012 he led the East/West transcontinental crossing of Antarctica on skies and kites, setting three world records over 4,100 kilometres.
In addition to the photographs, unique video footage from the expeditions will also be shown at the exhibition, as well as Copeland’s feature-length documentaries: Into the Cold: The Journey of the Soul (2010), which was selected by the Tribeca Film Festival, winner of the Indie Spirit Film Festival and the Los Angeles Reel Film festival), and Across the Ice (2015), which was a finalist at many international festivals.
Sebastian Copeland will also give the artist’s talk at The Lumière Brothers Centre for Photography and will present his two famous books: Arctic: The Vanishing North, Best Book at the Global Arctic Awards (2016), Tokyo International Photography Awards (2016), ITB Book Awards (2016) and Antarctica: The Global Warning, for which he was awarded the title of Best Professional Photographer of the Year at the International Photography Awards, IPA (2007).
Sebastian Copeland – PURE ARCTIC
@ The Lumière Brothers Centre for Photography (Bolotnaya emb. 3, b.1, Moscow, Russia)
Opening reception: September 22 at 7.00 PM
The exhibition will be open to the public until January 7, 2018
The 3rd edition of the International Photography Festival Białystok INTERPHOTO biennale starts at the beginning of September. This year’s event, titled The Limits of Tolerance, includes not only exhibitions, but also meetings, lectures, workshops, multimedia presentations, school competitions, activities combining photography with music or literature, and city games. This year, in addition to artists from different countries, the event will host reviewers, curators and critics responsible for similar events in other European cities that make up the international opinion of the environment. Thanks to them, the festival is enriched with INTERPHOTO Grand Prix and International Portfolio Review.
The festival is a place where Eastern European photography can meet with the Western one, where photographers – focused on important social identity and formal issues in the field of contemporary media as artistic expression – may exchange their experiences and start new joint projects.
Although the festival officially starts on September 14, a part of its extensive programme opens before that day. Within the framework of the festival there will be 34 individual and group exhibitions. There will be over 50 different accompanying activities, including workshops (eg rare European daguerreotype workshops run by Lithuanian artists), film screenings, meetings, lectures and other forms of talks about photography. More than 200 artists will come to Białystok to participate at exhibitions and in workshops, lectures and meetings. More than 30 organisations and institutions are involved into the festival, and the festival events will take place in more than 23 venues: from galleries, through universities and coffee houses to streets.
This year’s edition theme is Limits of Tolerance. It will be answered by such artists as Martin Kollar, István Halas, Andriy Boyarov, Arnis Balčus, Maria Kapajeva, Jan Pohribný, Alexander Vasukovich and Bogdan Konopka (cd! #3). The festival will also present numerous group exhibitions, including Zero-61” (curated by Lech Lechowicz), Central by East Central (curated by Adam Mazur) and post-competition presentation of the most talented emerging Polish photographers DEBUTS (edition 2017).
More info @ www.interphoto.pl
International Photography Festival Białystok INTERPHOTO 2017
@ Białystok (Poland)
September 14 – October 18, 2017
The 3rd edition of the International Photography Festival Białystok INTERPHOTO is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.
All pictures courtesy of the International Photography Festival Białystok INTERPHOTO.