Still life is a classic in the visual arts. Collections of stationary objects are fused because of their composition or symbolic features. Small, lifeless objects are very important topics for painters, but there are few photographers, who are focused on still life. Paweł Żak is a master in this field. For 25 years he has been constantly surprising us with his art.
Core Curriculum and Other Still Lifes in Leica 6×7 Gallery Warszawa is the latest project by Paweł Żak. An artist who is mature, minimalistic and very reserved in this pictures. All of the works were created with medium format digital camera. They are raw and sharp – you can inspect every piece of photographed object. Yet on the other hand these pictures are abstract and minimalistic. According to Adam Mazur, who wrote about our latest exhibition, this series „is a sort of haiku, a concentrated visual energy that activates our imagination […]”
Żak’s photographs are refined in every detail. Their existence begins on paper as a sketch and after that, with extremely high precision, they are laid in front of camera. There is no room for mistakes, when a picture is recorded with millions of photodiodes in the scale 1:1. All of these works are single shots with just a little bit of retouching.
Technically, these works are finished, but as a visual piece of art. All of them captivate with ambiguity. Plain background, immaculate white, perfectly ironed tablecloth are present in every picture. That is why the viewer instantly sees the subject as if it was taken out of time and space. This situation is very open for interpretation – this is the essence of still lifes.
„Still life in photography is a double death of things. First, the nature dies and is transformed into art by composition and abstract. As photography is dead in its essence, it may immobilize both processes of growth and of decay. This paradox lays ground for Paweł Żak’s artworks.” – in this manner Adam Mazur starts his story on Żaks photographs. In Leica 6×7 Gallery Warszawa you will see a double story from the artist. The exhibition Core Curriculum and Other Still Lifes will be accompanied by the first run of photobook entitled „And Other Stories”, which consists of pictures dating back to 2008 and gathers them in one piece of art.