‘Tales of Lipstick and Virtue’ deals with the crossroads of gender, class, ethnicity and their interconnection to self representation as well as post-colonialism, authenticity and pseudo luxury.
The work consists of portraits in Albania and figurative fake-stills of brand imitations and counterfeit luxury out of the studio. Using methods of documentary, fashion and advertising photography, it is blurring the thin line between original and bootleg, truth and fiction, genuine and counterfeit.
In Silesian dialect “kajnikaj” means “here and there”. This is a good description for my town in the southern edge of Poland, a place where nothing interesting happens. People are busy working hard as coal miners or drinking even harder while out of work.
“J.B. about men floating in the air” was inspired by the story of two Lithuanian-American pilots who tried to set a new world record by flying over the Atlantic into Eastern Europe in the early 1930s. I found a reference to the attempt in a Joseph Brodsky poem and decided to create my own ‘parallel world’ in black-and-white images.
If you imagine a modern city such as Moscow in the space-time base, it is easy to see that the manifestation of the creative will fades as it growths from the center to the outskirts as if it is ruthlessly washed out from the urban environment by the centrifugal force. New types of typical apartment building areas which arising massively at the boundaries of the city are often deprived of any super ideas and their design is based on maximum utility. Watching everyday life of these spaces I snatch significant pieces and disparate parts from the present reality so to add them together and get a picture of an imaginary future.
An avatar walks into a bar… Or so the joke begins. Incarnating a protein cocktail, an alien sex worker, the sultry scent of a chrysanth and geopolitics, it is as much biographical as fictional, as immediate as foreign. An avatar of this kind is like a bottle rocket, a catalyst that can make a mob explode, regroup and occupy the nearest shopping mall. The punch line never comes: the figure of speech attains shape and hits a passerby right in her right eye.
„Nearly 25 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the unipolar has ceased to exist, and the empire is trying to regain its position in the region. Its power of influence radiates into the former Soviet republics, changing their attitudes and taking a variety of forms: the conflicts or accelerated national identity formation. For past 6 years Sputnik Photographers have been investigating if the people living in post-soviet countries still need to be awed by something that does not formally exist any longer.“
There is a place where no one is born and no one dies. Of course you can die anywhere but you cannot be buried here as it has been discovered that bodies fail to decompose here. You cannot be born here because pregnant women are to return to the mainland to give birth. There are no cats, no trees, no traffic lights. There is no amusement park, but there is a circus troupe. In the winter time it is completely dark, but in the summer sun never sets. The place is called Longyearbyen and it is the largest settlement and an administrative center of Svalbard. It is also the world’s northernmost city. Although it is difiicult to regard it the best place to live, many people fall in love with it at first sight. Some people came here just for two weeks and stayed for five years or more, but not many decide to settle down here permanently. Sometimes you have an impresssion that people here are trying to escape from something; that this is just a retreat. This is not a real life.
I done all photos in Japan, but it is not a story about this country. Although I have used its traditions and religion. And the fact, that for me, it was a completely unknown territory. The main motive is the Shinto, japan mythology (yokai) and way of thinking about the sacred. But Shinto is another cover, artificial dictionary which allowed me to understand what I say. It is in the Japanese relationship to nature, something to give me hope, the conviction that we are part of nature, that we not strayed too far.
The starting point of my work is the question of the reality behind identity-forming images in an ever changing society, the production and the conditions, its readability and reception. I ask for the mutual conditionality of photo- graphy and architecture, as well as the reciprocal dependency of both of these language systems. I am interested in their interplay and the relation of the image and illustratability. Based on the assumption that both photography as well as architecture can equally be utilized in a judgemental and manipulative way, I try to analyze the possibi- lities and problems of the constructing qualities of these two genres. Photography is by no means regarded as a medium producing pure reality any longer, but it is seen as an autonomous medium with judgemental, interpretative characteristics. The same can be said about architecture.
Turkish Empire was governing lands from Hungary to Georgia, from Algiers to Eritrea over half of millennium. Its collapse gave countries to the generations which lived under Turkish occupation. These terrains are still suffering from shakes which are echoes of the history. We can find traces of it in the landscape: ruined houses in Bosnia, empty terrains near Kars in eastern Anatolia where millions of Armenians used to live, removed faces of Saints from Serbian, Macedonian, Romanian monasteries, ruins of Trapezunt or Ani. We can read sub consciousness of former Ottoman Empire nations from their landscapes. The more we travel through former Empire of Turks the more we notice the impact of hundreds years of cultural, economical and religious occupation on landscape of todays Bulgaria, Albania or Greece. Genius landscape painter John Constable said: We see nothing truly till we understand it.