During lockdown the World Wide Web (WWW) has become our window to the world. No longer able to physically visit places, it has allowed us to visit them virtually. For a long time before the global pandemic we were able to visit such places via webcams on the internet, allowing us to be virtual voyeurs. Such destinations have traditionally included wild life parks, nature reserves and scenic beauty spots amongst others.
Like everything on the internet, these places are completely exogenous and are consumed by technology, digitized and serialised into chunks of binary data that are then stored and shared via the WWW. The artist has chosen to make the internet and it’s ability to serve us up these metamorphosed images (and especially during a global pandemic) as the subject of his latest series of paintings. ‘One Day – 40 Sunrises’ is a snap shot of 40 sunrises as viewed on web cams around the world, over a 24 hour period. The sum of 40 was chosen as a mechanism to frame the work within the setting of the global pandemic. The English word ‘quarantine’ is actually a direct descendent of quarantino, the Italian word for a 40-day period, the time sailors would have to spend in quarantine on their ships.
Wieczorek has previously used poor quality images that are found via search engines, thus becoming ‘found objects’ and primary source material. These metamorphosed images invoke thoughts of Hito Steyerl’s ‘In Defence of the Poor Image’ (1). The fact that this show is not taking place in a physical gallery and the images are available to view on the world wide web, may in turn raise issues of ‘digital authenticity’. The simulacra of the representation (in the Baudrillardian sense (2)) will now take equal weighting alongside the thumbnail snapshots of the original image, as they turn up on the internet’s search engines. An additional conundrum posed is that we see the images on screen, but we have to place our trust in the artist that he has actually painted them. It wouldn’t be inconceivable to think that the images might actually be the product of a Maurizio Cattelan type of subterfuge game, where the original screen captures had merely been run through a digital filter, but actually they are not. The works concatenate these disparate sets of parallels, where in art authenticity and truth is everything and is often questioned, while in the wold of a global pandemic the truth is also sought. Both have been a continual source of frustration for many.
The works are evocative of isolation itself, lonely places that are seemingly uninhabited as perhaps all of the people are indoors? A dreamy ethereal other worldly place stares out from these metamorphosed images that have both the visual vocabulary and latent energy of a Turner landscape and the softness of a Luc Tuymans painting in equal measures. They are beautiful indeed and are perhaps better than the real thing because they have a dimensionality and language that allows us to forget about the real thing and to exist solely within the paintings. However they also serve to remind us that the real thing does exists, but in this instance functioning as a kind of dystopian travel brochure.
Due to closures of galleries this is an online exhibition at: