The prism of Unism
This month Anthony Smith looks at the work of a photographer with an intriguing style
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.
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.