Using amateur photographs, Wojciech Prażmowski has created a nostalgic work about the passage of time.
To create his photo-objects (in interviews, he prefers not to classify them as sculptures) the artist used photographs, archival documents, and coarse extras made of wood, string and sheet metal. His pieces function independently as works of art, but some of them were later used to create new photographs. Prażmowski produced his first work of this type following the death of his aunt Hanka in 1990. Years later, he recalled:
I wrapped it up in a parcel and tied it tight, so it couldn’t escape. A bit like a small child imagining how to freeze time: you need to catch it – a photograph showing somebody’s likeness is best – then tie it up with string or wire so it can’t fly away or escape. Perhaps I did this in the same, rather trivial kind of way. It was concise, yet at the same time so marvellously pure in form.
School Trip (1994) comprises individual amateur photographs approximately the size of those used for ID documents. Prażmowski collected old, botched and cropped photographs from the 1970s. Over time, these found photographs became source material to create new photo-objects, collages and other mixed media.
Prażmowski was influenced by the work of Tadeusz Kantor, in which he read about the part played by the 'lowest-grade', insignificant objects in creating new worlds. In theme and form, School Trip is reminiscent of Kantor’s Cricot 2 Theatre productions (e.g. Wielopole, Wielopole or The Dead Class). Prażmowski conjures up the past in order to examine modes of persistence and personal mythologies.
Originally written in Polish, translated by MB, Nov 2018
This text is part of the project Metaphors of Independence: Poland In 100 Photos.
To coincide with the centenary of Poland regaining its independence, we have created a selection of photographs that allow us to understand both yesterday and today. A hundred photographs but so much more. Find out more.