„Emotikon”, a recent project by Robert Rumas and Piotr Wyrzykowski, was developer as the result of a journey to the East undertaken by the artists. A real journey. Still, one should point out that no „journey to the East” is an innocent trip in a randomly chosen direction. It is a device in itself – rhetorical, stylistic, and mental – heavily charged, and present in our culture for ages. It can be found in the writings of medieval philosophers, romantic poets, 20-th-century authors, and present-day explorers seeking „real wisdom”. The East to which Rumas and Wyrzykowski are headed is not far off and begins right across the Polish border. It is the neigh-boring Ukraine; Romania, located not much farther away; Turkey, where Europe meets Asia; and Georgia, most distant, yet culturally close. However, the East that emerges from images amassed by the two traveling artists in a land which is both familiar and unknown, seemingly homely, yet different, not completely exotic, but at the same the no longer readily comprehensible. Rumas and Wyrzykowski traverse this land in search of a time just passed, finding its distinct local color as weel as common theads that connect the encountered histories and narratives with those of their own, and which left their mark on both „eastern” and our Polish contemporaneity. In their journey, the artists are accompanied by people met on the way, who guide them through and comment on the world they ecplore. This journey would not have been a real „journey to the East” if it didn’t involve an element of self-exploration. Emitikon is thus an account of both of these voyages.
This project by Robert Rumas nad Piotr Wyrzykowski was first presented in the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź in 2011.