Temporary (Con) Temporary | Collection Co–selection

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Mikołaj Smoczyński

Temporary (Con) Temporary

black and white photographs; 200x100 cm

The work Temporary (Con) Temporary by Mikołaj Smoczyński belongs to the series Secret Performance, created in the years 19831993 in the studio at 11 Zana St in Lublin. This space has become a seting of many on-camera activities and photographic “performances. The artist treated the possibilities afforded by photography in a creative way, subjecting the photosensitive material on the plates to long exposure times (the performative aspect of the work). The prints obtained in this way depicted unreal, abstract compositions arranged by the artist on the studio floor. Smoczyński treated the floor as canvas on which he experimented with scale, light, time, and the processes of destruction. He began this kind of artistic activity during martial law. Focusing on his individual, internal experiences allowed him to distance himself from unacceptable reality.

Mikołaj Smoczyński described himself, perversely, as a realist and yet, his art developed on the outskirts of the real in a simple manner. His creative process began with an encounter with space, and above all with its material structure, i.e. the floor, walls, shape.

Pieces entitled Temporary (Con) Temporary are large-format black and white photographs in the shape of vertical rectangles. Approximately 2/3 of the upper part of the composition is a uniform black surface bordering the cracked, scaly grey structure filling the bottom of the photo. To obtain it, Smoczyński smeared the floor of the studio with carpentry glue, which dried out and cracked after some time. Our attention is drawn to the velvety black of the upper part of the photo, contrasted with the expressive texture of the foreground. The artist achieved this effect by illuminating the positives with a flashlight while developing them. Special framing, deep chiaroscuro, and the large scale of prints make the photographs from the Sercet Performance series show an unreal, unrecognizable, unnerving reality.

Mikołaj Smoczyński (19552009) was a painter, photographer, illustrator and performer, creator of objects and installations. From 1979 almost until his death, he worked as a teacher at the Faculty of Arts at UMCS in Lublin.

He is known for his site-specific installations and black-and-white photographs evoking associations with abstract painting. In his work, he focused on the specificity of the used material, as well as explorations related to location and space. The essence of his art was individual experience, captured in relation to reality undergoing the process of transformation. The installation appeared in his work as a consequence of painting that became spatial. The artist decided to record these changing states of space, and photographic documentation was best suited to this task. For some time, he created installations in his studio that were only intended for photography (Secret Performance, 19831993).

Smoczyński inspired many artists with his extraordinary individuality, autonomy, honesty, originality and radicalism in art. He derived it from painting that he deformed, while searching for new forms and meanings.