Mala Galeria ZPAF/CSW, Plac Zamkowy 8, Warsaw,
from October 7th to November 9th, 1997


Janusz Bakowski - 'NONPHOTO-GRAPHIES'

Marek Grygiel

Translated by K. Wojciechowski

There are only a few artists photographers who are able to use other media so freely. Janusz Bakowski makes his art in various techniques using different tools - from simple pencil to newest video recorder. The photography is somewhere in between, but it not always dominated in his artistic pursuits. Janusz is interested in very universal dimension of art and the means he uses depend upon character of particular work or series. Recenty he has abandoned photography for which he resigned in 70's from his earlier fascination with monumental stone sculpture. In the meantime there were drawings and paintings, but made not for their own's sake. Every medium was taken up purposely and consciously to solve some artistic problem which Janusz confronted at given moment. Our visits in his Old Town studio allowed us to see his patience and determination in everyday realization of his consecutive projects. Sometimes we were able to report on this in the Mala Gallery - in a form of exhibition or video show.

Now came the time for the anniversary exhibition which completes the twenty years of our activity. And this time Janusz surprised us once again. There will not be photography in spite of that his analytical photography was at the beginings of the Mala Gallery. There are instead "nonpoems" as he calls them. We are entering "the decadent era of print" in which printed word is pushed out by "recording of mind in light-form" (light-form being writing on and reading from computer screen). Watching and reading these miniature poems (if one may call them so) is integrated with seeing them as graphic recordings.

The types used to print them and their form are different from computer standards thus enabling us reflection different from that monitor screens allow for. The letters imprinted by the artist with his hand are equaly transitory like associations and reflections they provoke. Confronted with impressions of the New York sketch book with dozens of faces registered they make coherent and consistent entity. "Nonpoems" become thus scraps of thoughts, fragments of consciousness which gives them Joyce-like character. They become kind of photography recorded with letters because photography do not registers everything literally and unequivocally too. The artist often leaves some empty space to let us look for our own interpretations and meanings.

*John Barth "State of things", in "Literatura na swiecie, 6(311)/1997

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