No 2 (90) 2012
April - June

Delusion, Illusion, Deconstruction

The output by Jerzy Olek has been distinctly focused on illusion, in contrast to delusion. Existing visual forms are a starting point for his creative efforts. For many years he has used a cube form, lately he has switched to a "spike collar" - a geodetic star-shaped polyhedron.

Grzegorz Sztabiński

An artist. Professor at the Łódź University and Academy of Fine Arts. He publishes texts on aesthetics and art. history.

Grzegorz Sztabiński

AS THE ARTIST EXPLAINS, THIS IS "a kind of a star-ball with 180 rays/ spikes being pyramids with three triangle walls". Thus, Olek has not been searching for his own source form to tempt one to pose questions about true reproduction of reality, or about authentic expression of the artist's experience. His artistic actions have been an answer to the "events" already shaped. His reactions, however, do not lack a strategy. The artist has described his approach in the following way: "I started systematically to take photographs of this solid - a fragment after a fragment. Next I fixed triangle shaped photographs onto other walls which - along with their neighboring walls - were the motives of these photos. In this manner, an expanded in vision picture of the object detail have become an organic part of this detail, as a result changing this object appearance".

The course of action has been planned and ordered. This, however, does not lead to the object presentation, cognition, revealing its structure. On the contrary, a detached approach - making cognition possible - has been disturbed, if not eliminated. The actions originate in the solid under observation, nevertheless they do not involve copying but adopt a form of new "events" summed up with the existing "event". Olek writes that the number of real elements (existing) and apparent elements (reproduced by photography) got more and more intensified. The second was the copy of the first; superimposed, it enriched the original form. "The action was over with fixing the last photo written into a triangle, the last, i.e., the five hundred fortieth. A structurally rich original object has been turned into a completely different object, though neither its spatial form, nor the cubature have been modified. This has been the object of disproportionately illusory richer morphology". One can say that, like a text under the deconstruction process, "it has burst out and dispersed".

An infinite nature is an important feature of the deconstruction process. The texts - resulting from this type of reading/ writing method (as referred to by Barthes) can be further deconstructed. The same applies to the actions by Jerzy Olek dealing with the " spike collar". The next stage of this work covered The Bent Space series of photographs, displayed under glass cover. As the author puts it, this offered "new perception possibilities" and increased the range of the readouts of the original form, moving even more further away a chance to close the interpretation process. In the same way as the deconstructed text turns out unreadable, the earlier cube, and the present "spike collar" by Olek turned out impossible to represent. Each reconstruction not so much enabled their reproduction, rather enriched and complicated their recognition. This, once more, resembles the deconstruction procedure.

How can one approach a problem of illusion considering the above comments that refer to the works by Olek? First of all, one has to assume that not the direct seeing of things, but rather the "social agreement" is the foundation here. This refers to a stereotype attitude to objects which representations are supposed to cause the illusion effect. If they had been showed from unexpected, unusual points of view, if it was difficult to recognize them, the effect of their reconstruction credibility would be much weaker. (...)An intellectual game related to the interpretation of optic data would be more important than the submission to the similarity effect. Thus, when Jerzy Olek plays for time to win the difference in reference to the "objective interpretation of a cube or a "spike collar", and leaves audiences with less or more strong unreadable shapes, he does not suggest a possibility that illusion exists, he suggests that it is immeasurable (as he defined this in the title of one of his works series).

A fragment of a more extensive text drafted for the catalogue accompanying the exhibition by Jerzy Olek.

Jerzy Olek, "de-", the "Arsenal" Town Gallery, Poznań, March 2012.