Przemek Dzienis

born in 1984 in Łódź, lives in Warsaw, Poland

NN Personality (2009)

Project sponsored by the Artimpact foundation and the Book&Art printing house

Contemporary portrait photography in art is experiencing its renaissance. A person is the most photographed object. However, the more portraits are created, the more often some questions occur, such as: is the portrait to show the truth of the photographed, or display its best qualities, or quite the opposite those deeply hidden ones? If the aim is not only to reveal the apparent physical resemblance, then what truth about us can or must be shown in a photograph? Looking at a photographic portrait, a viewer tries to find (or rather read) the characteristics of the photographed person. These features do not have to be shown explicitly in the photograph, they rather exist in the sphere of conjecture and interpretation of the viewer. We read the photo images through our own memory. As Duchamp stated, works of art constitute themselves by the recipient in the very act of reception. A picture becomes a mirror of the imagination, in which the image becomes a reflection of the personal.
In the portraits by Przemek Dzienis, another question can be poseddo we look at people who are like us? Looking at the faces in these photographs, a viewer may feel fear or irritation. People in his pictures look strange, their eyes and facial expressions are full of ferocity. They seem strange and repulsive. It reminds me of Diane Arbus and her remarks about photography – when looking at people on the street, she would primarily search for a defect or a flaw in their appearance. Like Arbus’ photographs, Przemek’s portraits show what is often hidden under our social mask. Such an image of people is hidden in our subconscious, and may appear only in our dreams. Dark and gloomy background as well as cold colors of his nearly monochromatic photographs intensifies the feeling of alienation and aggression (rapacity). Faces in Przemek’s photos appeal to our imagination stronger than any trace of similarity, they unearth the subconscious layers of nostalgia and fear. Przemek Dzienis does not overuse computer retouching, but only enhances hidden features, and it is not important whether they are genuine or fictitious. It is significant that it corresponds to his artistic vision, his unique and rich imagination.
Przemek Dzienis is tearing the masks from the faces of photographed people and gives them another identity. A change similar to the transformation of Doctor Jekyll into Mr. Hyde occurs. It is not important whether the transformation is a fictional one, or “just right” in an individual case, but it is important that it discovers, reveals, or discloses. Przemek Dzienis, although raised in the culture of aggressive advertising and the pursuit of success, sees the world and shows it in his photos in a very suggestive manner. He shows the sadness of us being lost in the civilization that causes our suffering and aggression. His photographs take the form of protest against the existing status quo in current imaging of human being, against the situation his generation experiences in almost all aspects of life.

Łódź 28.X.2009 Grzegorz Przyborek

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