Agnieszka Sejud reflects on fake news in Poland in her frenzied collages
The Wrocław-based artist puts a mirror on Polish society by repeating the visual gestures of mystification created by the media industry.
- Alif Ibrahim
- 6 November 2020
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
Like an image dreamt up by a rogue AI, it’s unclear where one object begins and another one ends in Hoax, a publication by Wrocław-based visual artist Agnieszka Sejud. Even if you can make out what is on the page, you’re still unsure as to what it’s doing there; why it’s lying among all those other objects. In one page, a pile of LED rosaries and their multi-coloured packaging are set above an image of a blue tarpaulin. In another spread, hundreds of plastic hangers are interlocked in the corner of a room, forming what must be the world’s most uncomfortable chair.
Agnieszka did not fully connect with her artistic side until she was 23 years old. “Since then, creation has become an important part of my identity and I am much happier. I feel complete,” she says. Along with Karolina Wojtas, Agnieszka is part of an artistic duo called KWAS. After an attempt to “have a normal life and a steady job,” pursuing a law degree from the University of Wrocław, she moved on to a career in the creative sphere, taking on commissioned work to support herself. In her personal work, she mostly works with digital photography to create colourful and kaleidoscopic images but prefers to take her practice further by working through the medium of collage.
“The modern world is based on photography,” she tells It’s Nice That. “Photography can be art, it documents, sells products, advertises, creates new real and unreal worlds.” A striking use of colours is a fundamental element to her work, focusing on their interaction with patterns to create a surreal, psychedelic style. In developing her projects, she can take years to fully manifest her vision, letting her concepts shift within the framework that she establishes at the start.
Her loud and unabashed style is perhaps better felt than understood. In Project Hoax, this kaleidoscopic effect is meant to recreate the confusing effect of mass media that she experienced. “Project Hoax started from the feeling that I don’t understand my country,” she says. “I was visually researching it for about four years and took tens of thousands of pictures in Poland, trying to find my own language and a way to create a story about it.”
She mentions the polarisation that she observed in Polish society, from the influence of the Catholic church to the right-wing politics permeating society. Starting in 2015, she saw the rise of fake news and anti-information campaigns that took over her daily media consumption. “It was the first time that I felt that rupture and couldn’t really say what is true anymore. Everything became an opinion,” she says on how these collages started. “I had to repeat the gesture of mystification and deception that the media has created.”
This sentiment is reflected in the chaotic nature of the collages in the publication. The collages feature everyday images, often repeating themselves with slight iterations, all in a hyper-saturated colour palette that feels like an uncomfortable intensification of reality. Trash bags in bright yellow and pink are piled opposite a page showing an altar of the Virgin Mary that glistens from a too-harsh camera flash. Agnieszka also carefully considered how this publication would be compiled. “I decided not to make a standard photobook, but rather a disintegrating object that gives you the feeling that something is wrong,” she explains.
Much like other works that give the appearance of chaos, there were no details spared when it comes to this project. From the careful placement of religious imagery, the repetition of quotidian objects to her careful consideration for her choice of packaging, this is a four-year project that encapsulates Agnieszka’s view of the world. “It is a book, but not a book, one without any binding, falling apart like my country,” she concludes.
GalleryAgnieszka Sejud: Hoax (Copyright © Agnieszka Sejud, 2020)
Agnieszka Sejud: Hoax (Copyright © Agnieszka Sejud, 2020)
About the Author
Alif joined It's Nice That as an editorial assistant from September to December 2019 after completing an MA in Digital Media at Goldsmiths, University of London. His writing often looks at the impact of art and technology on society.