‘High Fashion’ by Pawel Jaszczuk

Over the weekend I came across a few artists that I’ll be posting here over the coming week. I particularly liked this very random set on instantaneous photographs by Polish photographer Pawel Jaszczuk (b. 1978) who currently lives and works in Tokyo, Japan. He is a self-taught photographer who is interested in capturing “the beauty of both traditional and extraordinary style of living…He has found himself in a still new metropolis known as Tokyo, a city filled with people of ancient culture, practices and beliefs, that has been catapulted into modernism through the rage of war into a nation that has accepted new cultures and new influences through technology and media.”

In this series of street sleeping and street sleepers we see “young Japanese businessmen, well-dressed, sometimes with dirty pants, sometimes having a heel peeking out of a shoe, men in almost gracile postures, sleeping, stretched out, resting, sunk in, only hold by their unconscious drunkenness and a single detail of architecture, safe like an angel, beautiful like sleeping children, outside of the historical time, de-invidualized, for a short period of time released from the military bondage against their superiors, the merciless machinery & icy hierarchy of the japanese business.” – Thomas Findeiss (2010)

To me, this series epitomizes the work ethic in East Asia…where you work above and beyond until you just can’t keep your eyes open. Where business deals take place over often drunken dinners and can leave you as a shadow of your former self. I like the sense of abandonment in a material sense of the belongings, of the briefcase, but then also the abandonment of the self, of the soul and of dignity. They cannot feel this though as they are in another dimension in the realm of the unconscious, yet frozen in a physical reality. I strangely used to like looking at those sleeping in such absurd places in China…stare mesmerised as how they got there and more to the point how they could sleep surrounded by such chaos and overwhelming white noise. There’s something in watching someone during the purity of sleep when nothing can touch them as such. Pawel has also done another series called ‘Stay Still’ that shows men standing sleeping which can be seen here in his recent exhibition with Photo Edition Berlin.

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