Above: Mikado #18, 2018, Archival inkjet print on canvas, 59 x 70 7/8 inches.
In the classic game of pick-up sticks, 41 wooden sticks of the same length are dropped onto a surface in a jumble and players alternate picking up one stick at a time without moving the others. Named for the highest-scoring stick, the blue “Mikado,” or Emperor of Japan, it is a simple game, but one of ultimate precision. Polish photographer Igor Omulecki considers the relationship between order and chaos in his series Mikado, where his self-imposed rules are more poetic than literal, but there are some similarities. Omulecki was inspired by his 9 year old son, Ignacy, who had been using various wooden and found elements around their property in Warsaw to build spontaneous installations. He was fascinated by his son’s vital creativity and the primordial energy of creating that leads to making an object. Each image in this series of photographs reveals the steps required in the building of an image. In a way, we see the inside of the photographs. The traces of the tool he uses to create them become as important as the reality of the image as a whole. Cutting, cloning, and smudging the image constructs and interprets a new reality of each image, amounting to a record or digital sculpture of each photograph.