The latest exhibition by Janek Simon at Raster has an open struc­ture. Instead of a traditional, arran­ged showing of com­pleted artistic objects, we are given a process, a situation sug­gesting a visit to the studio, where we can observe “live” the chan­ging progress of work on each project. The artist is present, and the situation in the gal­lery chan­ges from each day to the next. This approach is an attempt to find a more appropriate form of com­munication with viewers in the post-​epidemic reality—a form exten­ded in time and focused on dialogue. But it also arises naturally out of the peculiarities of Simon’s artistic and quasi-​artistic prac­tices, in which the adop­ted method of proceeding and the activity itself always take precedence over the more-or-less per­manent, material result. The theme around which each of the initiatives cen­tres is the new set of works from the Syn­thetic Folk­lore series.


In his unique prac­tice as a travel­ler, thin­ker, anar­chist and artist, Simon per­sisten­tly tests the possibilities of artificial intel­ligence. His quest is not aimed at resolving a specific issue but to the con­trary, often aims at heigh­tening com­plications. Wor­king with con­tem­porary algorithms, Simon con­tinues to pursue what was the domain of art in the age of moder­nism: to expand the fields of experimen­tation and freedom.


The main sub­ject of his interest is issues of post-​global and post-​colonial iden­tity inter­woven into everyday economic, political and cul­tural dilem­mas. In the works from the Syn­thetic Folk­lore series, Simon uses an algorithm he developed drawing on hun­dreds of traditional pat­terns of fabrics and car­pets to generate entirely new com­positions. The latest works from this cycle offer the paradoxical effect of depth achieved through super­im­posing numerous layers of flat pat­terns. The mul­ticoloured horror vacui of these mosaics cut from acrylic discs simulates the dynamic of ever-​accelerating cul­tural proces­ses, the radical con­gestion and inter­penetration of various codes ultimately generating the illusion of opening up new spaces. This per­spec­tive is ambivalent, offering no stable conc­lusions. It is rather a con­tem­porary, global vortex.


Simon employs his machine-​learning prac­tice fur­ther in a new series of sculp­tures which are to be created during the course of the presen­tation at Raster. He thus radicalizes his approach, tur­ning over to the algorithm the right of creation of three-​dimensional objects. Here artificial intel­ligence generates shapes of a new, univer­sal folk­lore. It is hard to resist the impres­sion that this occurs through the prin­ciple of self-​fulfilling prophecy.


Janek Simon (born 1977) is one of the most original artists of his generation. His works reflect on the chan­ging economy and cul­ture in the era of globalization. The objects and instal­lations he creates often inc­lude an experimen­tal and anar­chist dimen­sion, illustrating the col­lision between scien­tific theories and everyday reality. The retrospec­tive of his works entitled Syn­thetic Folk­lore (curated by Joanna Warsza) was the high­light of the past year at Warsaw’s Ujaz­dow­ski Castle Centre for Con­tem­porary Art. The upcoming exhibition at Raster coin­cides with the release of the first monograph book on the artist (published by Ujaz­dow­ski Castle Centre for Con­tem­porary Art and Stern­berg Press), which we also recommend.

exhibitions 2020

Janek Simon




Recently was published the first monograph of the artist "Synthetic Folklore"


The works were shown as part of the virtual initiative not cancelled Warsaw