Interviews | March 19, 2023 |

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Image Courtesy of Paweł Opaliński

Interview: Paweł Opaliński
Luca Curci talks with Paweł Opaliński during the 6th edition of ROME INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2023 at Medina Art Gallery

Paweł Opaliński was born in 1967 in Kielce (Poland). He is a graduate of the Faculty of Graphics and Painting of the Academy of Fine Arts in Łódź (Poland), and a Doctorate at the Academy of Fine Arts in Lodz (Poland) Habilitation in 2017 at the Faculty of Painting of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw (Poland). Author of advertising campaigns and graphic designs for many publications – including dozens of press layouts; illustrator and photographer. Member of the Association of Polish Art Photographers since 2008. In the years 2011-2014 he was the vice-president of the Board of the Świętokrzyskie District of the Association of Polish Art Photographers in Kielce and a member of the Artistic Council of the Main Board of Association of Polish Art Photographers in Warsaw. He shares his design and photographic creativity with his didactic work – at art schools in Poland he conducts his own lectures on design, photography and digital graphics. Lecturer at the European Academy of Art in Warsaw, the University of Information Technology in Łódź and the Jan Kochanowski University in Kielce – where he has been working as a professor since 2018. His artistic research interests include the emotions of the recipient of a visual message – in which, as the creator, he interacts through a specific code, calculated and shaped for a specific purpose. Searching for innovative forms of photographic expression, he uses his own experimental imaging techniques. A special place in his work is occupied by landscape photography and creative photography. Artistic works, exhibited both in Poland and abroad, have brought the author a number of awards, including in such prestigious competitions as the International Photography Awards (USA) 10 awards in the following categories: fine art, documentary and landscape; Tokyo International Foto Awards (Japan) – in the category Fine Art/abstract; Paris Photography Prize (France) – in the category The Best Photographic Book of The Year; Mountain Photography Biennial (Poland) – Grand Prix or International Mountain Photography Competition (Poland) – twice Grand Prix and gold medals of the International Federation of Art Photographers (FIAP). The author has also been awarded the
Tatra National Park Award (Poland) twice for popularizing the beauty of Tatra landscapes.

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Image Courtesy of Paweł Opaliński

Luca CurciWhen you take photos, are you usually inspired by the situation or do you find inspiration in yourself?
Paweł Opaliński – I believe that the traditional form of the photographic image, as well as the great documentary power attributed to a single photo today – in times when our phones, cameras and tablets take millions of photos every day – have been devalued. That’s why I rarely take photos inspired by a moment or a given situation. But that doesn’t mean that moments and situations aren’t important to me. In artistic projects realized with the use of camera, I am looking for a new, alternative language, free of semantic burdens. In this case, references to technical experience, knowledge, worldview or artistic aspirations – so what is in me and what is, after all, the sum of individual situations – are more important.

LCHow important is the editing process in your work? How’s yours?
PO – For each project, I develop the technological process from scratch – in such a way that an almost ready photo is created in the camera, and not as a miracle picture in a graphics program. It’s quite laborious and completely original. Example: For my latest photographic project, I developed the technique during the implementation of several other extensive projects stretched over the last 6-8 years. The specific aesthetics that I created in them, based on a moving and blurred image, was called by one of the theoreticians of contemporary press photography (Prof. Wolny-Zmorzyński, University of Warsaw/Poland) as ‘fuzzy logic’ and described in his book “On the trails of reporting and journalistic photography”. The projects also brought me the International Photography Awards and the Paris Photography Prize in the categories of fine art, documentary, people and the best photographic book of the year. I have now supplemented the technique from those projects with multi-exposure (several shots superimposed on one frame during shooting), I also significantly extended the exposure time of individual shots.

LCWhat issues do you intend to deal with in the future? – Is there an unrealised or unrealisable project, even a crazy one, that you would like to work on?
PO – Life for me is a form of constant search on the way to self-improvement – therefore, which is easy to predict, my future projects will result from those already completed. On the other hand, the world itself is unpredictable, so it’s hard to assume which of its tricks I’ll want to use as an artistic workshop. Unfortunately, I’m afraid it’s going to be something crazy.

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Image Courtesy of Paweł Opaliński

LCDo visitors’ suggestions enrich yourself and your art?
PO – The viewer is important: it is a measure of the legibility and timeliness of artistic expression, and it is also part of the communication system. In order for the idea created by the artist to develop, it must be sown in the mind of the recipient, then in the next, and the next. This process is not possible without mutual respect and understanding. That is why conversations with art recipients about their feelings or emotions arising in contact with artistic work are so inspiring.

LCDo you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the exhibition?
PO – An exhibition as a collection of different interpretations of an imposed theme is a good and proven curatorial solution. I’m not surprised you use them. However, I am surprised by the diversity of artistic media that you gather within one exhibition and their global nature – artists from different corners of the world, and therefore from different cultural areas, participate in the exhibitions you organize. The way in which you formulate the curatorial assumptions of the exhibitions and the theses you put forward in them determine the definitely contemporary nature of the exhibitions – a bit exploratory in relation to reality, a bit futurological and visionary.

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Image Courtesy of Paweł Opaliński

LCDo you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
PO – Yes, for sure. Firstly: it sets goals and challenges. Secondly: it connects all participants of the art market: creators, galleries, recipients and art collectors. Thirdly: it ensures an appropriate flow of information.

LCDid you enjoy cooperating with us?
PO – Cooperation with you is a very positive experience. I appreciate the professionalism in interpersonal contacts, and above all the momentum and multifaceted nature of your activities.

LCWhat do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
PO – one of the best platforms I’ve ever seen – more dynamic than, for example, American counterparts. A big plus is a clear and very functional layout filled with content of a high substantive level. Very inspiring and motivating challenges for artists, a wide audience. Keep it up.

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Image Courtesy of Paweł Opaliński

Image Courtesy of Paweł Opaliński

Image Courtesy of Paweł Opaliński

Image Courtesy of Paweł Opaliński

Image Courtesy of Paweł Opaliński

Image Courtesy of Paweł Opaliński

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