Collectors in Poland – we checked what they are gathering, and why and how much their collections gain in value. We described people with a broad spectrum of interests, ranging from Scandinavian design, GDR glass, and Polish photography to plastic beads and toys from Olympia flea market. In the new USTA Magazine we bring you interviews with specialists in collecting like Maurycy Gomulicki or Adam Leja.

– 15/10/2018 –

Maurycy Gomulicki

Artist, photographer, collector and pop culture anthropologist. He graduated from the graphic design faculty at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts. He gained popularity with his multidisciplinary project “Pink Not Dead!”. He created a number of objects and installations in the public space. He lives and works in Poland and Mexico. His collection register occupies several pages of typescript.

How and when did your adventure with collecting start?

It is hard to tell, because I have had the collecting gene since early childhood. As a kid I used to collect comic books about monsters, tank models and photos of beautiful naked ladies, engravings and prints, biological specimen encased in resin, cactuses, shells and green pieces of glass polished by the sea – the fragments of broken bottles. Collection building sensu stricto probably started in the early 1990s. It coincided with the launch of “Rzecz Kultowa” (Eng. “The Cult Thing”), a column in Machina magazine that Paweł Dunin-Wąsowicz invited me to create. In this column, I was describing various phenomena of the pop culture. Initially, I was writing for Machine magazine and then, under changed title “Od Rzeczy” (Eng. “Rubbish”) for Fluid magazine in the years 1996-2004.    

Do you remember the first item in your collection?

If we are talking about conscious, mature, collecting, the best example would be my modernist porcelain collection. But the unequivocal answer to that question is lost in the darkness of the early 1980s. It could have been the green vase from Pruszków offered to me by Grandma Murka, black and yellow vase given to me by Michał Doliński or the schnauzer figure that I got from my Mum’s friend Grzegorz Hys.

What sort of objects or period are you especially interested in?

My range of interests in unbearably wide. Some time ago I wrote an article titled “10 commandments of a vigilant collector”, initially published in Mexico and then by the Obieg magazine. When I was preparing for this article, I wrote down a list of all my collections summarised in key points – the list took several typescript pages. In an attempt to summarise my belongings, I can confirm that I am collecting: porcelain from the Institute of Industrial Design (figures and vases), Polish dyed lampshades (the majority of this collection is now owned by my ex-wife and consequently by my son Tolek), Polish pressed glass (by Jan Drost and the followers), Japanese figures (manga and anime heroes and heroines), plastic monsters and robots, 3d postcards, socialist-era toys (mostly Soviet, Czech and Polish), plexiglass cuffslinks from the Poland’s People Republic period, root-work and other extravagancies of the home-grown handicraft.

As you can imagine, I also have a solid collection of erotica, including porn mags from the 1960s-1990s and other side publications. Porn and quasi-porn artefacts have a prominent place in my collection. I come from a family that is stigmatised by bibliophilia – my library is growing ad infinitum. From the collector’s perspective, I am especially keen on early or unusual editions of books by my beloved writers – Grochowiak, Pierre Louÿs, Antoni Bolesław Dobrowolski. I also collect albums and porcelain of Raymond Peynet.

I also have a digital collection. On Tumblr and other visual forums, I hunt for all sorts of delicacies (mourning jewellery, garnets, gothic, nails, and jewels of social modernism – just to mention some of my digital compilations). In the old times of slow and imperfect Internet, I was gathering preview images, which appeared like minimalist phantoms before the final photo, or drawing popped up on the screen. I also collect quotes from all kinds of books, from literature classics to the cesspool of talentless hack. These days, when my storage space, basement and boxes are bursting at the seams, I try to stick to buying only things that I can consume in a creative way: plastic jewellery, fake gold, nylon, fluorescent lingerie, neon dresses, and other gaudy, colourful artefacts, which come in handy both during photo shootings as well as in the bedroom.





The rest of the story, as well as other interviews are available in the print version of USTA Magazine, available HERE.


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