Persona February, 24th 2022 by

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 353 - Michel Szulc Krzyzanowski

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World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 353 – Michel Szulc Krzyzanowski

How do we look at reality, and more specifically: how do we look at photos? For Michel Szulc Krzyzanowski, it is an important issue that he has been working on since 1971. He tries to answer the question through his sequences, a series of photos that together form a ‘visual event’.

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Before the exhibition ‘New 3-D sequences’ in the WM Gallery in Amsterdam, Michel Szulc Krzyzanowski gave some explanation.

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“I make conceptual photography and the central theme in it is an investigation into perception. How we as humans look. How and what we realize we see.” He started it in 1971 and it turns out to be a formula that seems to have no end. “In the early years, it was mainly about how we see reality. I did that in an original and innovative way, using sequences.”

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Over the past few years, this has evolved into making three-dimensional sequences. “I let go of the corset from the flat surface – which is a photo after all – and the photos of a sequence are now mounted at different distances from a background. This creates a third dimension so that depth is also seen.”

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A new playing field

This created a new playing field. “A new field has opened up in the discipline of sequences whose limits have not yet been seen. Because now sequences can be about the so-called ‘trompe l’oeil’ phenomenon. One sees something which one realizes is a delusion. What is there according to perception is experienced by the mind as non-existent. The 3-D dimensional sequences are disorienting, confusing, provocative and magical.”

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Philosophy of life

Michel Szulc Krzyzanowski has not only dealt with conceptual photography. He also made portraits, projects such as ‘Henny’ and ‘The World of …’, often set in the ‘third world’. But the research into perception, how we humans view the world was always there, also in those other projects. “This theme is important because I live and work from a Buddhist point of view. My life only has meaning if I can be meaningful to people with my photography. That is why all my work is focused on presenting to viewers photography that inspires and takes them further.”

When asked about his key work, he therefore does not mention a specific work, but his approach: the conceptual approach. “All my photography is based on a concept based on a philosophy of life.”

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It started in the south

His entire life revolves around photography. “That is always central and the reason is that Buddhist view: if I didn’t make photography, life would be meaningless.” It all started in the south of the Netherlands. “I was trained by fantastic teachers from the St. Joost Academy in Breda and the Royal Academy of Art and Design in ’s-Hertogenbosch.”

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The work of Szulc Krzyzanowski has not gone unnoticed. He has had exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the MoMa New York, the Ludwig Museum in Cologne and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. His work is included in various collections, including those of these museums.

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A drop of water

His aim has always been to be as productive and innovative as possible. “Because this is determined by the context in which I live, I chose in the autumn of 2005 to live as a nomad. Since that year I no longer have a house, no address, no place of residence. I stay where I can make my photography optimal, undisturbed and unobstructed and when photography can no longer flourish I travel to a new location to continue working fruitfully.”

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Finally, can he elaborate a little more on his philosophy? “I want to create a realization that there are no dogmas. That a belief in a supposed truth is not a hard stone, but a drop of water.”

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