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AMBIENTE »

Pilichowski-Ragno/ Galeria Olympia in Piękny Pies/ Kraków/ Bożego Ciała 9/ 02-17.12.2014

The latest project of Andrzej Pilichowski-Ragno, inspired to a large degree by the artist's inseparable companions of everyday life – friends,  semi- and quarter-friends, acquaintances, bartenders and students, and also by Cracow's artistic boheme, is titled Ambiente, which means environment in Italian. In his photographs Pilichowski shows people of various age, in various poses and clothes. All these people have one thing in common – they live in Cracow and they came to Piękny Pies club in Kazimierz to participate in a photo session.

 

 

Certainly they know the place very well. And they didn't come here by accident.The author seems to be clearly aware of how to employ the surrounding space to improvise a photography studio – this is what strikes the most those those who now the context of the pictures; origins. The idea of organizing a photo session in a pub, that usually is an overcrowded, sooty, steamy and smoky place seems rather whimsy. But they made it, even without using artificial light, thanks to uncovering a skylight in the roof that gave a strong and unvarying light. Using the light from above was the key element in planning the session; the artist achieved strong contrast between the bright and the dark elements, making the shots perhaps more mysterious, or maybe more legible.

Pilichowski, as the denizen and one of the chief persona of “the Dog's” milieu, has been portraying people of the club environment for years. He photographs artists, poets, writers, musicians – rejected by the mainstream, who often create on the fringe. of “official art”. In his last project we can see greater diversification in the selection of the characters than in Pilichowski's earlier projects.  Ambiente, despite all signs, is not a collective portrait. It is rather a series of individual anf group portraits that have some common characteristic qualities. The portrayed crow, despite it's common root, is weird in it's diversity. Just look at the age difference: from a teenager, through some not much older students, to experienced people of arts or business in their prime. On the other hand they all form the Ambiente so despite the differences they function along each other, entering interactions.

The pictures seem to be based on very simple and characteristic conventions of studio photography. Static, closed compositions shot in black and white, can at first remind of atelier works of photographers in the past centuries. The disruptive element that draws attention is a touch of dynamism in every shot. The nonchalantly inhaled smoke, the leg reaching up ostentatiously, the girl hidden behind a wall, the slightly absurdly flowing hair of a man sitting at a table – those are not plain still shots, they are scenes behind which a completely unknown history hides. A history cut short, incomplete, unarticulated. But this is no problem. Imagination will take care of the rest. And by this excitation of imagination Pilichowski wants to seduce us