I have always experienced the “beauty” in art as something harmonious and serene. But what happens when the canons of perfection and symmetry falter and give way to the concept of “bad” and “ugly”? It would seem odd, but, in approaching this different aesthetic category, our creativity is amplified because the “Ugly” stimulates not only the strings of our hearts, ready to jump out of his fear for the unexpected, but sets in motion other deeper and more hidden feelings as our fears and our anxieties , multiplying the inner restlessness and arousing our taste for the macabre. It is as if the “Ugly” suggested more interpretive possibilities, stimulating different behaviours ranging from disgust to fear.


With this reflection in mind, I try to approach the work of Andrzej Dragan. Immediately one wonders to what extent his photographic experience represents reality and how the artist deforms and interpreters, modifying it with his own lenses. It is our reality to be ugly and deformed or is the artist who makes it like that ? Or is it us who are projecting our fears in these faces to the point to make them fearful? What are these grotesque images with traits sometimes repellent?
The difficulty of framing in a specific creative sphere his versatility of interests ranging from art and science, an impressive educational background is what fascinates me of Andrzej Draga. F
amous quantum physicist, Andrzej spends his free time between photography that defines as a “sophisticated form of pastime” and the realization of short films, creating portraits with a strong emotional charge, with eerie looks , well known to experts in the field for a particular effect of photo retouching, defined precisely “Dragan”.


It is an elaborate process of Photoshop that allows to emphasize the features already present in the subjects represented, highlighting the smallest details, even sometimes those we would dismiss because repellents . 
Without any intent moralistic and didactic, Dragan, in pleasing us, shows his representation of the world.
  Photography is another way , “he says,” to influence our emotions. This digital method looks a little like ‘painting with the only difference that I use a digital brush and I do not try to add new elements, rather I highlights existing traits. The choice of the model is the most important aspect. It is the model, in fact, to create a portrait, not the photographer . My pictures are the result of my excretory system. I have eaten and digested the reality and now I offer the viewer on a plate. What is shown has nothing to do with reality; it is my perception, I can only assume that what I offer is a faded image of my perception of reality.


Through this technique, the artist stimulates physical hyperactivity of the human eye, impressing our view, to surprise us with the effects sometimes strange. A pure process, so to speak, scientific. It does not surprise me, given that, much of this process is related to his thinking, in an attempt to find the right direction for the image whose implementation could take up to a month . And moving away from any form of naturalism, Andrzej Dragan , produces images disconcerting, exasperated in the subtlety of detail and colour saturation. His portraits that seem to evoke the dreamlike visions of filmmaker David Lynch , are the result of a long process of post production that offers the subject represented much more than what the human eye would be able to do .” But those looking in a portrait the truth about the model , as the author says,  will not find anything interesting in these photographs.”


With modest tools, a camera and a single lens, acting on different physical values ​​of brightness and radiance, Dragan manages to bring out in these images what is hidden in a casual eye and would otherwise go unnoticed. It is how to capture that moment and return it to posterity in its immobility, inviting us to penetrate and to observe human nature with surrealist vision. And this is where the line between reality and the artificial, often becomes blurred. But the passion for Dragan does not end in the picture, because in his short films is realized the marriage of art and science. But what is the relationship between these two separate worlds?

Science is an attempt to escape our own world, as noted by the scientist, looking for what may be true in the structure of the universe. The art does not search the truth, but it shows what is obvious to everyone in an extremely charming way and is able to evoke strong emotions . Art is a pure contemplation of reality; it does nothing but adding extra values. With science we forget our personal experiences and beliefs (often superstitions), to try to look at reality without prejudices, ignoring our points of view.

In his series Physics , work still in progress, Dragan uses the language of art, to explore some themes of universal character .There are no tutorial, he adds, nor pearls of wisdom, but evocations in metaphorical form and with the use of surreal artistic elements of physical laws, to explore furthermore . In Physics 2 , for example, the omnipresence of quantum particles in the world who may be found unexpectedly in different places, passes through the reinterpretation of the character of ‘ Mysterious Man , taken from the movie Lost Highway by David Lynch.


Physics #2. Quantum particles. from Andrzej Dragan on Vimeo.

What I feel in looking at these faces is a kind of feeling of fear mixed with astonishment . Is this not the attitude of a person who, aware of the infinity of the universe, can not understand the laws of physics? And art might not have this feature? To help to alienate where science confronts us with raw facts that we can not understand or believe?


“Hierarchy Lost” Official Trailer [2013] from Andrzej Dragan on Vimeo.

A proposito dell'autore

Giancarlo Napolitano si è laureato in lingue e letterature straniere presso la facoltà di lingue dell'Istituto Universitario Orientale di Napoli, discutendo una tesi letteraria di natura sperimentale sugli spazi e i tempi nell'Assommoir di Emile Zola, rivisitando il romanzo in chiave psicanalitica. Ha sempre nutrito un vivo interesse per l'arte, in particolare per quella rinascimentale. Vive da anni a Londra e ha potuto coltivare questa passione con continue visite alla National gallery che ha sempre considerato come una sua seconda dimora. Di carettere inquisitivo si interroga sulle opere degli artisti, continuo assertore del progresso, vede in ogni opera contemporanea un ponte con il passato con il quale rapportare ogni sua esperienza quotidiana.