Łukasz Skąpski – Time Journey
“Romanticism, which encourages variety, meshes perfectly with consumerism. Their marriage has given birth to the infinite ´market of experience´, on which the modern tourism industry is founded.” (Yuval Noah Harari)
Lukasz Skapski’s exhibition called Time Journey prepared specifically for the Ústí nad Labem House of Arts is inspired by the reality of contemporary Kenya as experienced by him when he spent a month there on a study stay this spring. He did not live in the capital city but in a smaller town of Kilifi on the Indian Ocean coast, which allowed him to discover the African countryside not defined and contorted by global tourism. It seems that some aspects of this experience have reminded Sapski of the social transformation era after the communist regime was defeated in Poland as well as the rest of the Central Europe in the beginning of 1990s. The desire of the then citizens of the region to become part of the Western world as quickly and painlessly as possible and the then crowds of tourists longing to see the newly opened, cheap and exotic world seem to have shown a comparative perspective to the artist to contrast the two historical situations as well as the two geographical and cultural environments.
By using a sensitive optics of a sophisticated viewer understanding the marginalized social classes, Lukasz Skapski watches the processes and the developments through various time zones, both real and fictitious, chooses a hyperbolized symbol and transfers
them to the gallery space, using both statical and dynamical technical pictures and relating them to our common interest. To compare the different contexts, the author’s basic strategy is to hyperbolize the paradoxes of social situations, presented within the individual projects in a seemingly inadvertent way. In his digital photography series, pseudo-documentary video pictures and series of both found and reality-based reconstructed objects, Skapski always constructs a story in which he works with elements of the reality and accentuates the sense of authenticity while watching it from the outside as a “naïve traveller” or even an “amateur etnographer”.
When staying in Africa, Lukasz Skapski was looking for his relationship to the continent and its citizens based on several questions crucial for our own existence. He managed to slide through time towards the feeling of imperfectness as provoked by the post totalitarian experience and residing somewhere deep in his soul, and at the same time to cast doubt upon the schemes of the dominating white men in the contemporary rearranging world. He made a journey to the other direction, to a place where the idea of wealth equals something completely different, just to come back to the coordinates of his own life and, by using artistic reflexion, to open further dimensions of the seemingly unshakable shapes of our lives both for us and those to come.
Most of the works presented at the Ústí nad Labem House of Arts exhibition Time Journey by Lukasz Skapski was created during the author’s study stay at Pwani University College, Kilifi, Kenya, realized this spring within the international research project Technologies of Imaging in Communication, Art, and Social Sciences Project (TICASS) supported by the European Union as part of the Horizon 2020 programme.