The prism of Unism

This month An­thony Smith looks at the work of a pho­tog­ra­pher with an in­trigu­ing style

EDP Norfolk - - ARTSMITH - ABOVE: For­est 1111 V 3

Look­ing back over 2018, it was a rather in­ter­est­ing year. As usual, I did a lot of trav­el­ling and saw a huge amount of art­work, some re­ally in­ter­est­ing, some not quite so much, but it is al­ways fas­ci­nat­ing to see what is com­ing up in the art world.

But for our first dis­cus­sion for 2019, I’d like to look at an of­ten over­looked art form: pho­tog­ra­phy. I must say that I love pho­tog­ra­phy, par­tic­u­larly im­ages por­tray­ing so­cial his­tory.

Look­ing at the faces of peo­ple and sit­u­a­tions long gone only opens my mind to thoughts of how they lived, their loves, their lives… fas­ci­nat­ing and some­times dis­turb­ing.

Land­scape pho­tog­ra­phy is also an in­ter­est, but I am more drawn to con­tem­po­rary land­scape pho­tog­ra­phers whose works are ex­plor­ing new ideas and tech­niques in cap­tur­ing the land­scape as they see it.

We have some very fine pho­tog­ra­phers here in Nor­folk and one is Jerzy Kon­stan­tynow­icz who has a stu­dio in Mag­dalen Street, Nor­wich. His works have in­trigued me from the first time I saw them.

They are com­plex, in­tri­cate, yet sim­ple at the same time. There is so much to these works and the de­tail as­tounds me. He is tak­ing land­scape pho­tog­ra­phy to a new level and in a new di­rec­tion.

Cer­tainly his works could not have been cre­ated prior to the dig­i­tal rev­o­lu­tion and are re­liant on dig­i­tal tech­niques, but this in no way de­tracts from the im­ages. Jerzy says that he par­tially bases his pho­tog­ra­phy on the artist Wla­dys­law Strzeminsk­i's the­ory of Unism.

The key con­cepts of Unism are; the idea of the unity of the work of art with the place of its cre­ation; the prin­ci­ple of or­ganic­ity (be­ing or­ganic) and the be­lief in the abil­ity of a work of art to or­gan­ise life and its func­tions.

How­ever, Jerzy has moved away from pure Unism and his works dis­play an orig­i­nal­ity and con­cept that is new, dif­fer­ent and re­ally quite ex­cit­ing as well as be­ing amaz­ingly dec­o­ra­tive.

His other in­flu­ences have come from such a di­verse range as postim­pres­sion­ism, ab­strac­tion as well as graphic tech­niques. Mu­sic too plays a vi­tal, in­spi­ra­tional role in his work as Jerzy al­most al­ways sur­rounds him­self with the mu­sic of the 1950’s avant-garde English com­poser Delia Der­byshire; her haunt­ing sounds are re­flected in my own emo­tional re­sponse to Jerzy’s work, par­tic­u­larly in re­gard to the more ru­ral, less ur­banised im­ages, such as the ex­am­ple here.

We have here an artist whose out­put is of merit and so quintessen­tially Nor­folk that it’s a de­light to see them. I re­ally sug­gest you take the time to see Jerzy’s works. They are su­perb.

What’s on

For Jan­uary, Stu­art Pear­son Wright’s solo ex­hi­bi­tion at Fairhurst Gallery will be of in­ter­est. One of Bri­tain’s most cel­e­brated por­trait painters, the ex­hi­bi­tion will show­case Stu­art’s as­ton­ish­ingly de­tailed work with 20 draw­ings of Elvis trib­ute acts from across the coun­try and one of a Tom Jones trib­ute act. Un­til Feb­ru­ary 2.

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