Paweł Żukowski’s performance Poland will be reenacted during the opening.
In the fifth edition of TRAFO MEDIA LAB we will see the works of two Polish artists: Tomasz Wiech and Paweł Żukowski. Although formally different, their activities are connected by a common theme, which is Poland.
The documentary photographer Tomasz Wiech creates his images based on the reality close to him. He takes his inspiration from the places, where he lives. Passionate about travel, a few years ago he began to search for absurdities within the Polish space. In the effect of his search, in 2012, he published a catalogue titled Poland. In Search of Diamonds. His numerous simultaneous projects (among others his blog Simple Observations http://towiech.blogspot.com) as well as the different series of works oscillating around the ideas of utopia and the ideal system (Utopia, Highway, Welcome to Paradise) are always anchored inside Polish reality. The exhibition will include several photography series by Tomasz Wiech, which make up the artist's attempt to grapple with the vision of his own country. Presenting more than 250 photographs in the format of a notebook emphasizes the multilayered narration and suprises with the choice of subject matter. Banal shots of clouds mingle with carefully studied landscapes, documentation of trampled down places of pilgrimage, blown up fragments of billboard advertisements for new housing developments. From all this emerges a tale about Poland, despite being very personal, it allows the viewer to find his or her own points of reference within it.
The video Poland by Paweł Żukowski is a documentation of a performance, which took place in 2012. A group of bearded men dressed in white chaotically shouts the word Poland. The inspiration for this work was the sporting event Euro 2012, and the video was conceived to act as an interlude between commercials on the large screens inside the fan zone. However, the force of the performance changed the original intention of the artist, especially now as we look at it from the perspective of the current political party strife and the debate about Poland present in the media. The rhythmic, collective declamation performed in the piece refers to the idea of the Greek chorus, which by its presence used to accentuate the importance of the community and unification of the individual. Żukowski by the means of a supposedly funny creation, points to the fact, that in addition to the relation between collectivity and the individual, words such as “Poland,” “patriotism,” “country of origin,” “honor” are often abused, and those who utter them, tend to forget their true meaning.
Tomasz Wiech (b. 1979), originally educated in political sciences. He also graduated from the Institute of the Creative Photography in Opava. He was awarded a scholarship from the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (2010). Between 2004-2010 he collaborated with the Polish daily "Gazeta Wyborcza." A Prize Winner in the World Press Photo competition (2009). His work on contemporary Poland was presented during the finals of the Leica Oscar Barnack Award 2011 and the Magnum Expression Award 2011. In 2012 he published the book Poland. In Search of Diamonds. His work has been shown in Poland, Lithuania, Czech Republic, France, Belgium and Portugal. tomaszwiech.com
Paweł Żukowski (b. 1979), artist, curator, cultural manager. Before beginning his studies, for many years he worked as photo editor of high-volume glossy magazines. In 2013 he graduated from the department of photography at the University of Arts in Poznan. Apart from photography, he moves between many different visual techniques, such as painting, performance and video. His work has been shown at TRAFO Center for Contemporary Art (Szczecin), Galeria Siłownia (Poznań), ZAMEK Culture Centre (Poznań), MS2 (Łódź), Lookout Gallery (Warsaw), Galeria Nowa (Poznań), Galeria Miejska Arsenał (Poznań), Galeria Sztuki 13 Muz (Szczecin), Cvernówka Gallery (Bratislava), Centrala (Birmingham). pawelzukowski.com
MEDIA LAB is the second, after TRAFO PLUG IN: PROJECT ROOM, annual exhibition program at TRAFO Center for Contemporary Art in Szczecin. The series popularizes two media: video and photography, examining their functions, context and roles and answering questions about their complex interdependent relations. It explores and challenges the boundaries between video and photography and provokes a discussion on their place in the context of the key trends in digital and virtual reality.
Every two months starting from January 30, 2015, MEDIA LAB presents the dialogue between two outstanding emerging artists. Past exhibitions featured Karol Komorowski and Alan Warburton, Mateusz Kiszka and Urszula Kozak, Filip Ćwik and Volkan Kızıltunç, the artistic duo Epectase (Corentin Fohlen and Jérôme Von Zilw). The current edition presents Tomasz Wiech and Paweł Żukowski, and the next one will be devoted to the art of Marek Kucharski and Dominika Gęsicka.
Works featured in the slideshow:
1. Paweł Żukowski, film still from Poland, 2012
2. Tomasz Wiech, Welcome to Paradise, Cracow, 2014, from the commercial Opolska Business Park
3. Tomasz Wiech, Poland. In Search for Diamonds, Nikiszowiec, 2010
4. Tomasz Wiech, Utopia, Cracow, 2014