ONEIRON & YAN TOMASZEWSKI SCRIPTURE
The exhibition juxtaposes perverse and utopian attempts to create alphabetic or lexical adaptations of scripture that share a common geographical reference to Prague.
The exhibition Scripture forms part of Kronika’s cycle Archaeologies, which juxtaposes chronologically distant artists’ works and activities that reveal similar approaches, fascinations, forms and migrating texts of culture.
Scripture presents a set of the famous Black Cards from the legendary circle of ONEIRON, their printed collection of curiosities Ouroboros and selected artefacts from the end of the 1960s combined with Yan Tomaszewski’s cycle The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog and Preissig Antikva, developed since 2014.
The exhibition juxtaposes perverse and utopian attempts to create alphabetic or lexical adaptations of scripture that share a common geographical reference to Prague. The works are shrouded in a mist of creative confabulation, hypothetical character of artworks, alternative texts and versions of art history.
Active in the 1960s and 1970s, the ONEIRON group, also know as the League of Spiritual Observations (LSD), consisted of Andrzej Urbanowicz, Henryk Waniek, Urszula Broll, Zygmunt Stuchlik and Antoni Halor. Their activities gathered a range of personalities of Polish counter-culture. The group was one of the most interesting manifestations of Polish psychedelic and independent art, worth new insights and re-interpretations.
The famous cycle of Black Cards, also known as Lexicon, Encyclopaedia, New Unpretentious Holy Scripture in Images, or New Chaos in Images, is a quasi-Surrealist perverse lexicon of symbols. Thirty black cards on 70 x 70 cm cardboards represent seemingly arranged hieroglyphs, phantasms and personal notes.
In turn, Ouroboros is a collection of curiosities created by the group in 1968. In reaction to the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, ONEIRON created an anthology of their texts and translations that concern esoteric themes connected with Prague, a map of Central Europe with Prague in the centre, alchemical engravings, as well as a pastiche of Franz Kafka – the short story W teatrze [At the Theatre] by Henryk Waniek. Ouroboros was released in ten copies and made available for reading among friends.
Prague and Czechoslovakian themes are also present in Yan Tomaszewski’s cycle The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
The eponymous sentence is the most popular pangram in English – a sentence that contains every letter of the alphabet, used for instance to check if letters are printed correctly, but also in language games.
Tomaszewski presents the pangram written with the font Preissig Antikva, designed in 1925 by the Czech typographer Vojtech Preissig for the Czechoslovakian pavilion at the International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts. The artist develops the sequence through many potential works and mythologies from the circle of Czechoslovakian Surrealism and Cubism to express the identity of place and time. At the same time, Tomaszewski builds an ambiguous narrative that stretches between the opposites of seemingly rigid notions: national – cosmopolitan; handicraft – digitisation; male – female; universal – peculiar.