After seven years of Andrzej Tobis’ linguistic-visual journey through Poland, the volume A-Z (Gabloty edukacyjne) – A-Z (Educational Showcases) is released by the Bęc Zmiana Foundation and the Adam Mickiewicz Institute as a Polish-German-English publication. The book features 100 photographs that illustrate entries in the dictionary Bildwörterbuch Deutsch und Polnisch, published in 1954 in the German Democratic Republic.

>>> Andrzej Tobis, Limousine

Sebastian Cichocki, the curator of Warsaw MoMA, about the A-Z:

The book you are holding is a summary and most probably the conclusion of the A – Z (Educational Cabinets) project by Andrzej Tobis – a painter, photographer and teacher from Katowice. The series, created between 2006 and 2014, is undoubtedly one of the most important artistic endeavours in Poland in the 21st century. It has been shown at several exhibitions held in art institutions in Poland and abroad. This book is a compilation representing a selection from hundreds of the artist’s own photographs, accompanied by his texts and interviews. These are only some of the images constituting the A – Z project. Their much wider and constantly updated choice is separately available as a digital database at www.­aztobis.com. As with previous incarnations of the project, this time the author also presents just a fraction of the entire (open-ended) collection and a world ‘beyond art’. (...)

Tobis’ project is one of a few artistic initiatives in Poland which have attracted a group of keen followers. The typical A – Z fan will spot dictionary items everywhere, speak in ‘Tobis’ language’, roll on the floor laughing when they hear the phrase ‘front support position’ and know what the ‘swimming pool for non-swimmers’ looks like. There is great potential in Andrzej’s idea which tickles most people’s curiosity – namely, the ability to see the world as a great museum full of peculiar (ready-made, unintentional) works of art, or rather objects with ‘high artistic value’. Our eye-brain calibration takes place in a light, ironic but also inevitable and ultimately sinister fashion.

We present the reader with only a small part of Andrzej Tobis’ A – Z (Educational Showcases) archive in the form of this book, assuming that there will be no end to this obsessive inventorying of the whole world. We, the dictionary users, pick up the project more or less where the artist left off.


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