Jarek Lustych


“In the course of the development of modern, urban individualism, the individual fell silent in the city. The street, the café […] and underground became places of the gaze rather than scenes of discourse. When verbal connections between strangers in the modern city are difficult to sustain, the impulses of sympathy which individuals may feel in the city looking at the scene around them become in turn momentary - a second of response looking at snapshots of life.”
(Richard Sennett. Flesh and Stone. The Body and the City in Western Civilization. Norton and Co. 1994)

The streets with their smooth, efficient movements design are transformed “into a screen-like landscape leading to the shopping centre and workplace through which one passes but does not remain”. These screens are mostly used for advertisement and their most popular attempt to catch attention is their size. If it is so difficult to maintain requisite attention to understand even a two-parts verbal connection, it may be that a visual message is a solution. Creating an active art space is one of the possibilities. Usually there are already spaces (unofficially) destined for the exchange of information. People and small businesses fix posters and leaflets to the walls, poles etc.. They are struggling to escape anonymity, attempting to establish new nuclei. My projects try to upgrade this situation. Recognizing Art as an equal message I paste my prints between those announcements. I am adding my text to the multiplicity of town’s texts, to enrich it’s palimpsest structure. The prints are original to make my message as personal as possible. These appearances are quite different in their nature and matter. First, they do not carry any verbal information, second, original relief prints differ from flat offset and photocopied images usually used for such purposes. Their meaning lays in another dimension. Using places, gestures and actions well known from daily life, abstracted from its primordial meaning may offer somebody a moment of reflection. This may encourage residents to exchange their own noncommercial messages, whose progressive discovery will gradually grant them their own place. I am interested in the stuff of town. I work with discarded materials - mostly wasted fruit boxes. Once they passed their prime they are transformed into large piles of garbage. To make a wooden block for engraving one has to attach a lot of small square pieces of wood together. To make an engraving one has to cut this block with chisels and gravers. Thus you will receive an engraved block and a lot of waste-chips and wood dust. I have found it much more honest and interesting to do otherwise. I create blocks with triangular pieces of wood taken from the corners of wasted fruit boxes by connecting them in designed pattern. This way my work does not generate another pile of waste and, in addition, I can give a new life to the materials (sometimes very beautiful) which are already forgotten and thrown away. These materials serve as signifiers of relationship and connections we have with the world around us. My patterns, like town’s diagram, are mainly regular but because measures of those wooden pieces are not exact, the prints have more life than one might suspect. I do believe that in our times of digital printing, artistic printmaking has to have its own inaccuracy. Also, I found it interesting in a perverse way to make such bold images using a technique well known for its highest resolution.