Honza Zamojski’s solo exhibition Me, Myself and I and his curated book-installation Bookie is constituted by a two-part project presented at Leto Gallery and in the office of Piktogram Magazine. Both institutions share a recently opened space inside a renovated industrial building nicknamed “Soho Factory” and are located in the Warsaw neighborhood of Praga. The Poznań-based artist’s Me, Myself and I appears as a multi-faceted self-portrait, which is nourished by his fascination for popular culture and which playfully questions notions of authorship and self-representation.
“What do we do when we attempt to draw a self-portrait?” asks Gresham Ghost’s director and artist Ajay Kurian in the press release he composed for the show, an html concrete poetry text which goes on to answer this question in 32 points. Indeed, several declared self-portraits punctuate Honza Zamojski’s exhibition. One of them, Self-Portrait (human magnet), is a photograph of the headless artist mounted on a magnetic board and fixed to the wall with a magnet. The “human magnet” here attracts paper and other useless materials that are levitating in front of the artist’s body. Another self-portrait presents Honza Zamojski brandishing a Barak Obama mug with a full smile— a happy outcome of the artist’s recent residency in New York or an ironic interpretation of a failed presidency?
Evincing a particular preoccupation with board games and traditional Polish sugar cookies, Zamojski links both elements in a pair of sculptural works. Tea Time, in which a chessboard locked in an aquarium and distorted by optical illusion as if there was water in the tank, appears as the support for a chess party of used tea-bags and biscuits. Further on in the exhibition, the evocatively entitled Monumental statue project reveals a pile of sugar cookies dangerously assembled on a black and white checkerboard. Sweet goodies can memorably be seen in a number of recent artworks: Felix Gonzales-Torres politicized the use of candy in his installations to raise awareness about the AIDS epidemic, while Terence Koh aestheticized white chocolate in his phallic sculptures. Honza Zamojsi here humorously relates to vintage Polish food– the mythical cookies recalling former times by way of their particular shape and smell– and erects them into a magistral column that may collapse into a pile of crumbs at any given second.
The most compelling aspect in Honza Zamojski’s two-part project seems to be the way he reveals himself as a frenetic collector and compiler. His piece Evolution is an assemblage of six photo albums, all of which compile a corpus of amateur photographs representing an extended classification of animals (from lions to insects, and from fish to dogs) in any imaginable form (dead or alive, stuffed or made of stone). Somewhere between a teenage fascination for species and a scientificinterest in biological categorization, Zamojski here reflects on obsession and authenticity. In a comparable approach, Bookie appears as a wish for Honza Zamojski to share his large collection of posters, magazines and old books, as much as an attempt, through the display of various selected publications (The Exhibitionist, The Institute of Social Hypocrisy or Slavs & Tatars), to propose an alternative model of independent bookstore, in the vein of New York’s Printed Matter or Paris’s castillo/corrales. This reminds one that Honza Zamojski is also the founding editor of Morava Books, a Poznań-based self-publishing house that has been editing and promoting Polish and international artist books and projects since 2010.