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BOOKS

30.04.2019

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When a selection from the series was chosen as a finalist for the Leica Oskar Barnack Award four years ago, the idea of one day publishing the material in a book was little more than a dream. Now it is here: Deceitful Reverence, in a small edition published by Blow Up Press in Warsaw. The photo book also represents closure for a very personal chapter of the photographer's life, where he aimed to document and subdue his addiction to alcohol – which he has now achieved. Thanks to the exceptionally free artwork, this very intimate approach has given rise to an unusual, but very convincing, photo book.

Despite the extremely pixelated image, it is possible to detect the drooping figure of a naked person on the matt-black cover. This picture sets the tone for the book, because it is representative of the photographer's ruthless examination of himself. He has worked for many years on this series, which, despite its radical moods and emotional, excessive demands, also presents moments of great calm. The viewer will quickly get the impression of riding on an emotional roller coaster, because the motifs are defined by a dark, at times virtually claustrophobic, intensity. Unsharp images of bodies, mostly of the photographer himself, are interspersed with puzzling nature studies and sketch sequences. At first it is the sense of forsakenness, of loneliness, of loss of control that seems to dominate, but then, in the course of the book's dramaturgy, a female figure appears. Motifs of redemption and unification appear as salvation – a double portrait closes the wild series of pictures.

Pisuk has produced a sequence of raw, breathless images based on his own experiences, drawing the viewer with each turn of a page ever deeper into the landscape of his soul. “The man who keeps getting lost, loses ground under his feet, falls, but step by step regains the sense of space, first reaches himself, then manages to get outside – into the human world,” as a quote from the accompanying text by Agata Pyzik explains. From Pisuk's perspective, “this cycle is a kind of poem, diary, but also a confession.”

Yet it is not just the pictures that transform the book into a real experience; the compelling design at the hands of Aneta Kowalczyk plays a very large role. The different types of paper, the insertion of colour prints, the borderless pages, give the book a surprising tempo and foster the restlessness of the seemingly subjective motifs produced by an apparently spontaneous, directionless photography. In this photo book they have found a suitable, coherent form. The images the photographer imposes may be very personal and suggestive, yet they do leave room for one's own associations. Consequently, in the end, the viewer is not looking back at the results of a visual therapy, but rather at the strong, self-confident statement of an extraordinary artist.

(Ulrich Rüter)

Igor Pisuk
Deceitful Reverence
152 pages, 102 black and white and colour pictures. English, 22.4 x 30 cm, Blow Up Press
Available here

Igor Pisuk

Born in Bielsko-Biala, Poland on October 14, 1984, Pisuk completed his studies at the Film College in Lodz in 2014, with a Masters in Photography. He worked as an assistant for Anders Petersen and is a member of the Atonal Collective, which concentrates particularly on personal, documentary photography. Pisuk lives in Warsaw.  

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