Michał Adamski / Hidden Reality

Open Programme

Michał Adamski
Hidden Reality

Opening: Oct. 25,  6 p.m.
Oct. 26 – 23 Nov. 2014
Galeria OBOK ZPAF, Pl. Zamkowy 8
Curator: Katarzyna Majak


I won’t make New York out of Poznan

Michał Adamski has been working on his Hidden Reality series since 2011. The series is an attempt to discover the true identity of his own city. As the artist admits, to him Poznan not only is not another New York, it is not even the respectable bourgeois Poznan we all know, with its rich and praiseworthy tradition of resourceful entrepreneurship. Under the outer shell, Adamski looks for images that would expose the shadows lurking in the individual and collective subconscious of his fellow citizens.

His intention is to tear off masks, or rather to capture those moments and situations when the masks fall down, revealing a disturbing blank instead of a face. Indeed, the subconscious has no face; at best, it can generate ephemeral semblances of a face. Adamski’s black-and-white photography freezes the ephemera, and they solidify into disturbing and mysterious symbols. He dissects the living tissue of the metropolitan reality, and we see characters captured at a moment of distraction, in between successive postures imposed by society. It is as if an actor suddenly stopped playing his part to reveal himself in the naked glory of his own human existence.

In conscious reference to Anders Petersen‘s photographic style, Adamski penetrates the reality of a modern city, suspended between the two opposite poles of what is official and respectable versus what is concealed and shunned. At the intersection of the two seemingly irreconcilable spheres, we observe their mutual interaction. In visual terms, the images are dominated by contrasting black and white areas, illustrating the dialectics of the city’s lost identity. The artist’s tendency toward veristic severity, which brings to mind photographs by Jacob Aue Sobol, is combined with dreamlike visions, and literalism coexists with a bent for metaphors.

Adamski’s photographs present images of a city in crisis, troubled by hidden diffidence, decay, randomness, and chaos. Sometimes, the inherent notes of non-conformism and defiance bring to mind the typical Poznan phenomenon of penerstwo ‘chavs, white trash.’ The street lads never search for words when they want to make a blunt commentary on what can be described as ‘official’ culture, manners, or morals. Even though the artist himself does not declare his spiritual kinship with the street subculture, he does not shy away from such associations. Armed with a camera, he delves into the local atmosphere – fascinated yet devoid of illusions. Let us follow his suit.

Katarzyna Majak