Piktogram / WARSAW (Poland)
27.01.2017 – 18.03.2017

As is well known, Neverland is a place of Eternal Childhood, Dreams, and Imagination. Gombrowicz called Poland a land of immaturity. Its inhabitants escape reality to live in fantasy. They are the Lost Boys, Peter’s chosen ones, and they have faith. But who is Peter?

Every child sees Neverland differently. For some Poland is “in ruin,” for others it is a “green island.” Its residents would love to close the borders and let no foreigner in. At the same time, many prefer to emigrate from it. Some see it great, stretching from sea to sea, and its inhabitants as those who have taught the French to “use the fork.” Recently a nonexistent faraway country was announced to be its ally. Earlier, a deity had been enthroned as its ruler. It isn’t really clear who is in charge in the country. And whether he is grown up. Recently that has been talk of it (again) as a “theoretical state.” Although everyone means it differently. How to get there? Second star on the right and straight on till morning. You need to fly. To do that, you need a Wonderful Thought and a bit of Fairy Dust.

Szymon Rogiński went (again) on a trip around Poland (see Poland Synthesis, 2003), and this time he decided to drive along its borders. He took pictures mostly at night, in the evening, or at dawn. The result is the Borderlands series (2014). The photographs show places and objects that for some are normal, obvious, and banal, but make others gawp in amazement. They show houses, churches, trees, roads, advertising signs, shops, trucks, mud, concrete paving bricks. And light. Rogiński reaches here not only the geographical borderlands, but often also the limits of dreamy imagination.

In 1997, Igor Omulecki decided to bring together a group of “beautiful people” (Dariusz Cichawa, Rafał and Marek Firaza, Wojciech Górski, Kuba Motyl, Rafał Paradowski) – men of different, sometimes rather unusual professions and inclinations, complete strangers to each other. They met at the private home of one of them, in a neighbourhood of prefab-concrete housing blocks in Retkinia, Łódź. That was the beginning of an informal collective called Oko Delfina (Dolphin’s Eye). Four years later, they met again, twice this time – indoors and at an amusement park. Omulecki suggested simple tasks that became an impulse for improvised for-camera activities that used the contents of wardrobes and found objects (including dolls); real-life locations served as the scenery. The prearranged meeting of adults who otherwise had nothing to do with each other turned into spontaneous, genuine, and footloose fun.

Tomasz Mróz’s Ghost (2012) is the recording of a monologue by a professional truck driver who called Radio Maryja at 3 AM to talk about how he had foreseen the Smolensk “assassination”. No one interrupted the rambling man, who admitted that colleagues call him a “visionary.” The visuals are provided by an old car racing video game, which the artist plays in an unusual way. The soundtrack is a monotonous, depressing melody the author played on a piano and recorded using an old cheap mobile phone when he had returned to his quarters from his manual-labour job in a wealthy Western European country. The film was made as a gift for his girlfriend, who is also an artist; Mróz describes it as an All Souls’ Day commercial by an ephemeral Sandra Gallery.
None of the above works have been shown in exhibitions, but all have now acquired new significance.

Curated by Michał Woliński; Assistant Agnieszka Tkaczyk

Courtesy of the artists and Piktogram
Photocredit Bartosz Górka