BEYOND PLACE AND TIME
Apparently photography constitutes a universal language. Photographic recordings should not differ much irrespective of where and by whom they were made.
On the face of it this simple principle corresponds with what Andrzej J. Lech is from years constantly offering in his photographic work. His pictures taken with an old camera using 6,5 x 12 cm (4"x5") cut film are of timeless character not only in a sense that is usually associated with photography which e.g. records the present. This timelessness is a mystery of dating of his pictures. If not for their precise captions we would not know exactly where and when these pictures were made. Often we would not be able to recognize places that were photographed.
On the photographs of Andrzej J. Lech there is a seemingly ordinary landscape, some industrial buildings made of bricks, some distant railroad track and telegraph wires, some factory shop, a fragment of a cemetery under some branchy tree, a four storey apartment house or a fragment of sea shore with a iron construction of a huge clock...
These pictures, carefully rhythmized, of balanced composition emanate with melancholy. There is impression of abandonment and sorrow, the more so since there are not human beings, only products of their activities that thanks to their materiality are placed in unreal context. It is also hard to determine what season it is - maybe late spring or early autumn ...
Nothing that was captured on these photographs, e.g. there is not any "decisive moment", releasing a shutter in an instinctive way so characteristic for seasoned photojournalists. There is intense reflection upon passing time and an attempt to stop this time - but in a different way than in other kinds of photography - to stop it in its immobility. The photographs of Andrzej Lech were taken in America - this we know for sure since he has given us such an information. We know even more, they were made in the East Coast USA where he lives - in Jersey City, Ashbury Park, Newark ...
They were made during last few years. Without these informations it would be possible to think that they were made in some other places and much earlier. Perhaps in Amsterdam, Warka or Kazanlyk*. Any geographical or chronological studies would make us think that such photography was with us forever.
It is being originated beyond time and is marked by "magical realism".
It means also silence and concentration. There is no need for pictures to cry all the time.
* Andrzej J. Lech "Amsterdam, Warka, Kazanlyk..." - exhibition catalogue, Ma³a Galeria ZPAF, 1986
Andrzej J. Lech
born 1955 in Wroclaw, Poland
lives in Jersey City, New Jersey, USA
In the years 1981 - 1984 studied at the Faculty of Fine Art Photography at the School of Arts in Ostrava (the Czech Republic) in the workshop of Borek Sosedik. Exhibits since 1981. In 1983 Lech was one of the creators of the programme known as "Elementary Photography", related to the minimalist stace, and until 1987 exhibited at the "Foto-Medium-Art" Gallery in Wroc³aw (Poland) inspiring this movement.
In 1987 Lech took part in the exhibition "Award for Young European Photographers" (Preis für junge europaische Fotografen), Frankfurt, Germany. In 1987 he left Poland and settled in the USA (after brief stay in Germany). In 1988 and 1989 he participated as one of the ten artists in the show titled "Polish Perceptions - Ten Contemporary Photographers, 1977 - 1988" at the Collins Gallery, Glasgow, Scotland, the Aberdeen Gallery, Aberdeen, Scotland, and Kirkcaldy Museum and Art Gallery, Fife, Scotland.
In 1994 Andrzej Lech participated in the AIDS benefit auction "Sunday by the Bay" in Bellport, Long Island, New York. In the same year he took participation in the exhibition "The Nurturing Spirit" in Robin Rice Gallery, New York, New York, a group show to benefit The Evelyn H. Launder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York.
In 1997 he won the competition for one-person show in the Bergen Museum of Art and Science in Paramus, New Jersey.
In 1998 he has contributed in the multi-image photographic showcase "Beyond Words", produced by Icon Pictures (New York) in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Hasselblad. The premiere was at the "Photokina 98" in Cologne, Germany (September 1988) and it was shown again at the "PhotoPlus East Exhibition" in New York, New York (October 1998).
In 1999 Andrzej Lech opened his exhibition titled "The 1912 Swiss Calendar" in Pusta Gallery in Katowice, Poland.
In 2000 Lech's solo exhibition ("The 1912 Swiss Calendar") was shown during the 8th International Month of Photography "FotoFest" in Houston, Texas. Andrzej Lech has been running since 1993 his own studio of fine art photography in Jersey City, N.J called "On the Road Gallery".
Andrzej Lech has been also participating in many individual and collective exhibitions in Poland and abroad. His works are in many public and private collections and were frequently published, mainly in USA.
Previous Andrzej J. Lech's exhibition in Mala Gallery ZPAF: "Amsterdam, Warka, Kazanlyk..." February 1986.
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09 - 10 - 2001