Traces of action
Tomasz Szrama's recently opened exhibition Postcards Sent on the Move at Entropia gallery was accompanied by the author's performance The Artist Must Be Framed, which was documented by Antti Ahonen with an analogue medium-format camera. The photograph, together with the frame used for the performance, was exhibited a day later.
Engaging the audience without prior consent, Tomasz creates dynamically 'choreographed' situations to share a shared experience of the essence of the situation in a given context and moment. These sequences of images, and sometimes even spectacular installations, are ephemeral in every respect. Few traces of them remain - mainly documentation. The exhibition at Entropia Gallery combines photographic documentation from the artist's numerous actions around the world with the objects used for the performances that took place as part of the current exhibition. A spectacular 'footprint' is, for example, the T-shirt in which the artist performed a six-hour performance during Museum Night. The performance, entitled Hugs, consisted of embracing and being embraced by the arms of each person in the audience and involving the audience in making hand outlines on the performer's T-shirt. The resulting visual artefact is the collaborative work of several hundred people - a record of an intense encounter and affectionate interaction. The photographic documentation in the exhibition is presented in the form of standard postcards. It is therefore also possible to view the other side together with a credits of the action. The postcard as an ephemeral, mobile artefact seems close to performance.
'I mainly work with action art. The prerequisite for performance is that I am present when I create. That is why I travel quite a lot. Usually, when I return from a festival, I choose one picture from the performance I have just made and post it on social media along with a public thank you to the organisers. Since it is impossible to capture the plot or the dramaturgy of an action stretched over time in a single picture, I try to choose a technically correct photo that is, above all, intriguing, question-provoking and in which the context of the place is captured. In this sense, these posts play a role similar to that of postcards, from which, after all, we also learn little about a place. I show a selection of just such postcards in Entropy. In the course of my actions I am unlikely to have the head or time to think about its documentation. In Entropia, I wanted to deliberately do a live performance where this account would not only be revealed but also exposed".