- This event has passed.
Cracow: Wojtek Wieteska
February 2, 2021 - May 16, 2021
While photographing Japanese society of the 21st century, I attempted to capture a particularly distinct dichotomy between an individual and the mass, a fusion of ancient rituals and modern norms. They appear to me as an armour worn voluntairly by the modern Japanese. Its form, protects human life from disorder.
Wojtek Wieteska on his project
In PARADISE 101 Wojtek Wieteska summarizes a series of photographs and moving images inspired by the Japanese reality of the XXth and XXIst century, the elements of zen culture and the Far-East culture of visual narratives described by Roland Barthes as “The Empire of Signs” and named by David Hockney as “perspective of changing points of view”.
All works presented on the show were created in a time-frame of 29 years: from 1991 till 2019.
Large-scale photographs, moving images and art objects arranged in gallery space, highlight ambiguous distinctions between photography and film, as well as pose questions about the future of storytelling through images that are created digitally.
The lack of chronology, operating with scale, showing photos in series of the same theme or juxtaposing details next to shots in a broad plan, serves to emphasize the fact that in visual arts, time and space are created mainly in relation to and reaction with the viewer.
The medium we are still calling today ‘photography’, in fact ended in 1990 when first Adobe Photoshop has been introduced. The speeding evolution of digital technology after year 2000, freed photo-enthusiasts around the world, from the limits of physical structures. Images became a hum of pixels on memory cards and each second of life has a potential to get saved for the future. Today, we are all photographers but still not everyone is an artist.
Wojtek Wieteska works with digital photography from 2004 but his first Japanese photographs that are included in Paradise 101, were taken using black&white negatives. For the artist shaped by the landscape of art of the II part of the XXth century, working with an image on a physical base, is an important element of expression. Wieteska draws from the classical gesture of showing photography on photo paper but at the same time, places this gesture within the contemporary context, compatible with the times in which Paradise 101 is conceived.
What does it mean in practice? In times of AR and VR, showing framed photographs on a wall seems insufficient, because it does not give the justice to the energy and power that photography and film are nowadays accumulating and sharing globally. Images are new units of communications and the sense and quality of their messages has much to do with the space, size and a place within the sequence of other images. That is why Paradise 101 consists mainly of large-scale photography installations arranged along with moving images and art objects inspired by the main theme of the project: the idea of time.
The lack of chronology, operating with scale, showing photos in series of the same theme or juxtaposing details next to shots in a broad plan, serves to emphasize the fact that in visual arts time and space are created mainly in relation to and reaction with the viewer.
The photographs and moving images in Paradise 101 have various genres and narrative conventions: from landscapes to portraits, from characteristic elements of Japanese culture, to abstract figures unrelated to any specific civilization.
The artist “cuts out” reality with surgical precision: from close-ups and details to wide frames of metropolitan landscapes. At the same time, each subject is photographed with equal attention and intention.
The narrative of Paradise 101 is created with a specific thesis: influence the viewer’s imagination through the game of associations and allusions.
The experience of Paradise 101
All of the photographs are presented without frames, exposing naked photography paper in a shape of installations that can be viewed from many points.
In this sense Paradise 101 is an “immersive” exhibition: the viewer is his own experience director, he or she decides of the length, pace and order of images. The associations are changing constantly, creating new links specific to the viewers perception.
Gallery 1 (ground floor) displays 100 works from 1991-1996 (b&w) and 2008 (colour) which are composed in 2 main groups creating “a sea” and “a forest” of images. Here photographs are arranged at horizontal and vertical stripes. Photographs are in negatives with few exceptions. The sequences are organically taken from the artist’s archive. A separate room is dedicated to a piece inspired by the classical photo paper washer.
Gallery 2 (1st floor) – FujiFilm Room, which presents large-scale photographs in panoramic format. All of the images were taken with GFX 50R FujiFilm camera in the Spring 2019 in Japan. The artist is FujiFilm ambassador. The photographs are arranged in mostly vertical groups playing with the traditional forms of Japanese aesthetics: folding screens and scrolls.
A separate room is dedicated to a video installation that speaks about a relationship between the medium of photography and zen philosophy of a breath.