Fungi are decomposers – breaking down dead organisms into chemical compounds so that their matter can recirculate in the ecosystem and become the building blocks for new organisms in subsequent cycles. Some say that if it were not for mushrooms, the whole earth would be covered by a layer of leaves several meters thick. That vision is, however, overly optimistic. Without fungi the full cycle of matter in nature would be impossible, so the world as we know it would cease to exist at all. Fungi are also called destructors. The laborious process of all-encompassing destruction carried out by fungi makes it possible for that reality to be transformed.
Known for his photograpic project A-Z (Educational cabinets), Andrzej Tobis this time becomes a painter, and a doubting one at that. The multi-layered and multi-threaded structure of the exhibition stems from the very origins of that doubting, and the point of departure arrives with the post stamps containing motifs of mushrooms and paintings (the series Polish Paintings and Modern Polish Paintings), and the stamps with mushroom-shaped postmarks.
With his characteristic precision and humour, Tobis analyzes the occurrence of the mushroom motif, used not only as a sign, but also as a deconstructing symbol, changing the order of things or meanings. He moves with dexterity over the common ground in the three intertwining themes: post stamps, fungi and paintings. The most recent of Tobis are a kind of query-based quasi-scientific essay, rich in historical and geopolitical contexts, leading to surprising and somewhat nostalgic conclusions.
The exhibition is accompanied by a commentary – the guide by Andrzej Tobis.
Andrzej Tobis, Mushrooms in philately, in paintings, in the mind
opening: 19 November 2015, 7 pm
exhibition open until 09 January 2016
Starter Gallery, Andersa 13, Warszawa