Leto, Norman (Łukasz Banach)

Born in Bochnia in 1980. Self-taught visual, video and new media artist. His works are featured in the collections of the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, National Museum in Cracow, Arsenał Gallery in Białystok, ING Polish Culture Foundation, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cracow (MOCAK). His debut individual exhibition, Negative aspects of excessive freedom at the age of 26. Portraits, took place in 2007 at the Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw and included video sequences and digital simulations of crowd behaviour (based on AI algorithms).

Also in 2007, he was invited to contribute video sequences to director Krystian Lupa’s drama Factory 2. In 2007, he authored his first major 3D video work, Buttes Monteaux I, shown at Art Agenda Nova in Cracow to wide acclaim. In 2007, Norman Leto’s art was shown at the young European art biennale Jeune Création Européenne in Paris. In 2008, curators Stach Szabłowski and Marcin Krasny (Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw) invited Leto to their exhibition Establishment alongside other young artists such as Wojciech Bąkowski, Anna Molska, and Tomasz Kowalski. Buttes Monteaux I was purchased for the permanent exhibition of the Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw. Also in 2008 at the collective exhibition Perfect Summer at New York’s vertexList new media art gallery, Leto presented a digital exhibition space generated from actual architectural plans of the venue.

In 2008, Leto began work on the book Sailor, a partly autobiographical novel with a groundbreaking depiction of the development of a creative individual in the context of flourishing new media and technology, including video games. A single incomplete prototype of the book was eventually published, with excerpts featured in selected art magazines and on the author’s website. Subsequently, Leto completed the book and created a film version, well received at the Wrocław Film Festival; British magazine Tribune judged it “the best and most surprising independent debut of the festival. Godard would have been delighted.” In 2009, Leto’s works were included in the exhibition Aesthetics of Violence at the Art Museum in Haifa and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, which showcased fourteen young Polish artists at the Gare Saint-Sauveur in Lille, organised in cooperation with the Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw. Also in 2009, Leto presented the video installation Buttes Monteaux III at the National Museum in Cracow.

His works were also featured in the collective exhibition British British Polish Polish: Art from Europe’s Edges in the Long ’90s and Today at the Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw (2013). The same gallery also featured a monographic exhibition titled Photon (2014), including video projections, photographs, paintings, and objects. In 2014, Warsaw’s Modern Art Museum included Leto’s works in the collective exhibition What You See. Polish Art Today.

Leto was listed fourth in the 2008 and second in the 2010 young art ranking of daily Rzeczpospolita. His paintings and films feature elements of expressionism and figurative arts, addressing social but especially autobiographical motifs. He often uses computer simulation.