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Marek Domanski
photographic object, 70x88cm, photography, steel, epoxy

Theatrum fotograficum


     A psychopompos is a conductor of souls. In Greek mythology it was Hermes himself who conducted the dead into the world beyond. In Jung's psychology a psychopompos is a mediator between the conscious and the unconscious. In many cultures the function of a psychopompos was played by a medicine-man whose main task was to travel along the axis of the world to the kingdom of the dead or the realm of the gods. The task of a shaman is not only to accompany the dead into the world beyond, but also to conduct a newborn child into the world. Therefore he travels not only to the kingdom of the dead, the shadow-kingdom, but also to the country of life and light.
     In his artistic excursions Domański also travels to many different regions, many parallel worlds, oscillating between the dark and the light. In fact, he becomes a messenger himself - a psychopompos. His travels are a form of gnosis. This path of self-knowledge is based on the one hand on scientific and technical knowledge, and on the other it is strengthened by extra-scientific views, opinions and beliefs that an individual must search for spirituality, and perhaps even God. Anyway, we can feel the juxtaposition between the external and internal world in those works. However, Domański does not differentiate between those worlds with manichean zeal. His road to knowledge leads him from the world of matter to the world of the spirit, and physics becomes the road to metaphysics. The differentiation between documentary and creative photography is rendered unnecessary. Every photograph is a document in a sense, even when it is just a registration of images which come from non-existent worlds.
     Especially symbolic, as far as I am concerned, becomes Domański's work called Looking. We see the outline of a human figure, perhaps a spectre, but perhaps even a psychopompos, looking through the lens of an old-fashioned bellows-type photographic camera. A torrent of intense light streams from the lens. In this picture the camera works in the opposite way than usual and plays a different function than the one it was meant to perform. The photographic machine becomes a tool of metaphysical knowledge. It casts intense light and lights up darkened spaces by means of its stares and glances. This gesture of reversing the pre-established order may be the key to the understanding of Domański's works.
     So where does Domański lead us? Can we follow him or would it be better to remain in the safe position of an observer? The answers to those questions depend on individual dispositions of each and every one of us; they also depend on the extent to which we shall follow the directions the psychopompos gives us. One thing is certain: Domański gradually becomes a more and more radical artist in his desire to study the internal world. And although he works simultaneously in both worlds, they slowly but continually approach each other. Photography seems to be an ideal instrument that allows us to accomplish such a synthesis. The artist is constantly forced to look for an adequate equivalent in order to realize his ideas. His artistic intuition and sensitivity must be confronted with materiality each time around. A photographer who works like Domański is in a sense a director who puts on a one-act play every time. Theatrum photographicum becomes a meeting place of the artist and the viewer, who like a spectator during a performance must devote some time in order to perceive the contents presented. This type of photography cannot be perceived by means of one short glance - it forces us to concentrate our attention on it and to attempt to enter the abyss of the picture.


Tomasz Ferenc, 2007

photographic object, 70x88cm, photography, steel, epoxy
photographic object, 88x70cm, photography, steel, epoxy
photographic object, 88x70cm, photography, steel, epoxy

Exhibition organized as part of an
"Art Promotion"

Copyright ©2007 Galeria FF £DK, Marek Domański, Tomasz Ferenc