Stefan Szczygieł. His photographic and film work
By turning and dividing the screen into up to four equal sections adjacent to and above one another, showing simultaneous events and duplications, the artist recreates new patterns of relationships time and time again. Here the city truly flows. The deceleration, the overall rhythm and the time flow is supported by a tailor-made electronic atmosphere and down-tempo music specially commissioned from the Polish composer, Wojciech “Olo” Olszewski. But the electronics engineer, writer and producer also uses the sounds of the real city and integrates them subtly into the events: the laughter of children, harbour noises, the ringing of mobile telephones, ambient noise, bicycle bells, the twittering of birds, cars hooting, the buzz of conversation...
Sadly Stefan Szczygieł’s sudden death prevented him from finishing either his elaborate and demanding Urban Panoramas, or the initial films in his ZEITFLUG series that he had shown and discussed in cities other than Warsaw. Hence his work has remained fragmentary, despite the fact that it has a continuous clear red line.
We can only hope that his early death will not mean that his artistic work will be forgotten. For Stefan Szczygieł was an extremely sensitive, visionary, socially critical, unifying, cultural pioneer of contemporary photography, whose images moved between the real, digital and virtual worlds. Furthermore Szczygieł was linguistically transcultural in his self-evident use of Polish, German and English.
This explorative, innovative, technically adept photographer (if not foreknowing, then always true to his Polish origins) always kept to the oath formulated by architects and town planners in ancient Greece: “I shall leave this city more beautiful than when I entered it“. This could have been Szczygieł’s own maxim.
Hamburg, April 2017