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BOOKS

28.02.2017

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This volume is an experience. Coarse-grained black and white images alongside off-colour and frequently out-of-focus instant photos capturing the fragment of a moment. Push the Sky Away is certainly not a book which reveals itself at first glance. And yet, in this steadfast rejection of conventional visual documentation lies an exciting exploration of the limits and possibilities of the photographic medium. The three series contained in this book serve as an open, associative dialogue with the viewer – each of whom must navigate their own journey through this multi-layered visual world, led purely by their personal interpretations, without instructions or explanations to aid them in resolving the riddles inherent in the book’s imagery. “The reason I chose the medium of photography is that it allows you to get closer to people. Its unique directness enables me to show the existence of the imagination in the real world.“

Piotr Zbierski first gained international attention in 2012, when he won the Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award for his series Pass by me. Since then he has consistently continued on his path, which has now culminated in his first extensive photo book – made all the more profound by the fact that it is the result of a nine-year creative process.  

Many of the themes found in the artist’s winning works of 2012 are also present in the first of the book’s three parts, alluding to the project’s early beginnings. Each series is an autarchic expression of a period of the author’s artistic development, even if the times when they were created overlap. The triptych encompasses the earlier series Dream of white elephants and Love has to be reinvented along with the photographer’s most recent project, Stones were lost from the base. The three series are divided by two smaller-sized insert booklets, whose ambiguity further expands the volume’s associative complexity. It also includes three removable black folders, which allow the book to be variably structured. These additional pages contain the author’s most personal annotations.

Zbierski views his work as a journey to the primordial origins of our traditions, symbols and cultural codes. In this pursuit, it is of no consequence whether a specific picture was taken in some small Eastern European village, in India or in his homeland of Poland. The artist is on a quest for the essence and the shared commonalities of human emotions, with a particular fascination for incidental experiences. Fleeting encounters are given permanence in the photographer’s deeply evocative images, transforming them into the genuine artefacts of a journey of emotional discovery. Despite its supposedly linear nature, the book as a publication medium seems to be a highly suitable platform to take the viewer on this remarkable journey. Ulrich Rüter


Piotr Zberski
Push the sky away
238 pages plus 2 sixteen-page insert booklets
156 colour and duotone plates
21.0 cm x 28.0 cm, English
Includes a poem written by Patti Smith and an essay by Eleonora Jedlinska
Dewi Lewis Publishing

French language edition: Andre Frere Editions.
Polish language edition: Wydawnictwo Biblioteki PWSFTviT.
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