Warsaw

Honza Zamojski, Matematyka (Gra) (Mathematics [The Game]), 2011, seven collages from pages of the book 50 gier na kolorowych planszach (50 Games On Color Boards), aluminum frames, each 21 x 21 x 2 3/4".

Honza Zamojski, Matematyka (Gra) (Mathematics [The Game]), 2011, seven collages from pages of the book 50 gier na kolorowych planszach (50 Games On Color Boards), aluminum frames, each 21 x 21 x 2 3/4".

Honza Zamojski

Leto Gallery

Honza Zamojski, Matematyka (Gra) (Mathematics [The Game]), 2011, seven collages from pages of the book 50 gier na kolorowych planszach (50 Games On Color Boards), aluminum frames, each 21 x 21 x 2 3/4".

Honza Zamojski is among the artists nominated this year for the prestigious Spojrzenia award from Deutsche Bank and the Zaçheta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw, intended to showcase emerging artists. For his recent show “Me, Myself & I,” he filled the exhibition space with drawings, photographs, and found objects, which were all presented as components of the self. In a pile of drawings titled Rośnięcie to strata czasu (Growing Is a Waste of Time), 2011, and Człowiek-drzewo (Human-tree), 2011, drawn on a massive roll of cardboard, he abstracts the features of a face into a basic graphic substitute: three circles for the eyes and mouth, a straight line for the nose.

“What constitutes a face?” is the opening question of the text accompanying the show, which was written by Ajay Kurian, an artist and curator based in New York. Kurian proposes that the contours of one’s face are shaped by the multitude of things we come into contact with daily, which can be catalogued and tabulated. “Just as there is a strange membrane between everything we touch and experience,” he writes, “the same goes with ourselves.” Zamojski is clearly seduced by this concept. To construct a self-portrait, he explores his own ways of categorizing the experiences of the everyday world and processing them into a form of self-knowledge. Podniecenie (Kolekcja 1-centówek 1940–2010) (Excitement [1-Cent Coin Collection 1940–2010]), 2011, is based on a collection of pennies gathered during the artist’s stay in the United States, which served him as proof of the change in the value of money (the coin has become lighter in weight over the years) and is a snapshot of the material history of one country.

For all his fascination with objects, Honza is deeply interested in books, as demonstrated by the seven-part suite Matematyka (Gra) (Mathematics [The Game]), 2011. The work decomposes a book called 50 gier na kolorowych planszach (50 Games on Color Boards), published in Poland in 1971, and shows its pages framed, nostalgically paying tribute to the abstract pictorial values underlying the game boards and the aesthetic balance embodied in the perfect square of the book pages. Next to one wall a sculpted letter lay on the floor, A, 2011—a symbol of language and of its beginnings, made of wood and blackened with pencil. The meticulous use of graphite to cover the surface of the sculpted letter is reminiscent of the devotion that characterizes the first letters of young children learning to write, filling the shapes in their reading primers with pencil.

Every work in the show referred the viewer to yet another register of the author’s compendium of the self. In the series “Ewolucja” (Evolution), 2011, seven hundred photographs split between seven albums show Zamojski’s taxonomy of the urban natural environment. On the photograph Autoportret (Człowiek-Magnes) (Self-Portrait [Human Magnet]), 2011, attached to a steel frame with magnets, he depicts himself as if magnetically attracting the cardboard roll and an aluminum stud of the kind used in building a wall. “Me, Myself & I” was the multiplicity the title promised, balancing the artist’s distant and recent experiences to reveal the diversity of individual identity. This refreshing survey, grounded in the tradition of self-portraiture, left one with a playful image of the artist.

Sylwia Serafinowicz