It's an honor and a privilege to present the first AIAIAI post from our latest contributors, the truly awesome Copenhagen-based visual artist collective known as Dark Matters. First up is a feature on their recent trip to Poland's Unsound festival where they discovered a new muse in the form of Wojciech Fangor. Take it away, boys.
Expect the unexpected - classic wisdom of which we were reminded during our trip to Krakow, Poland, to attend the Unsound Festival this year. "The End" was the overall theme and most of the specially commissioned work from highly respected musicians evolved around the apocalypse - ranging from cold war visuals to the suicide of the art band v/vm on stage. Unsound has earned the reputation of being one of the most innovative festival for underground music these days and in the setting of the atmospheric medieval city of Krakow and venues ranging from shut down hotels, to Cathedrals and synagogs, you could´t really ask for more.
The festival kept all it´s promises (and more), but it was something completely unexpected that gave us the extraordinary visuals experience we had hoped for. With shaky legs and empty heads from 3 days of heavy festival drinking, we went to see an exhibition of the Polish artist Wojciech Fangor at the Krakow National Museum. We decided to go based on some nice posters that were hanging around the city, previously not knowing anything about Fangors work.
Upon entering the exhibition we were blown away by the imagery of Fangors optic illusionary work.
Huge oil paintings focusing on defocusing the eyes perception of color and form. Having done countless live shows and a mind set on visuals for the past 10 years, it was a fantastic eye opener to see oil on canvas literally dancing on the walls as you moved around the exhibition. Using the renaissance technique of sfumato, described by the most prominent user, Leonardo Da Vinci as: "without lines or borders, in the manner of smoke or beyond the focus plane", Fangor was a pioneer in painting modern optical illusions without loosing the aesthetic to the effect.
It´s always healthy to discover the digital tools and effects we perceive as buttons in a program - drop shadow, gradient, emboss etc. as single techniques executed by hand into perfection. Some of his other work featured painted tv-screen pop art and frame in frame pictures ( aka the new triangle *wink*). On a side note he was one of the originators behind the School for Polish poster art, which basically makes him a semi-god.
A quick bio on the artist:
Born in 1922, he secretly studied art during the Second Wold War, allowing him to graduate from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw in 1946. He secured his place in history books with his 1952 poster for René Clément’s film The Walls of Malapaga, marking the beginning of the world-renowned Polish School of Posters. In 1958, Fangor joined Stanisław Zamecznik in Warsaw to present Study of Space, creating an innovative way of presenting art in space engaging viewers to interact with the images. Fangor emigrated in 1961, settling down in the US between 1966-1998. He returned to Poland in 1999. He is the only Polish artist to have held an individual exhibition at New York’s Guggenheim Museum.
And don´t forget to keep an eye on Unsound festival 2013: http://unsound.pl/en