Realism, distance and documentarian objectivity are concepts that emerge at the first thought of photography on modern architecture. None the less, the work of Nicolas Grospierre and David Sardaña tells us much more – thanks to them we can deconstruct these concepts on five different levels.
Level one. René Magritte, with his famous pipe, got us into a semantic predicament. The same game can be used to move between levels. But if the Belgian surrealist maestro questioned works on canvas, here we are suspicious of photography itself. When we see a photograph of a building that states the word edificio (building), don’t we stop seeing it or even believing it? Even as a direct shot, the reality of the image dissolves „caused by” the word. A frame that isn’t accidental puts us in a different state, beyond words and things. Whereas photographed coloured blocks do just the opposite process, but with similar results: the photographic editing is so subtle that it cannot be detected. Buildings that aren’t buildings.
Level two. To think of modern architecture is to think of Le Corbusier. This “the most practical, democratic and visionary architect of our time” – in the words of Berger – left a widely known legacy that was extended throughout the world… very misunderstood. If the notion of modernity implies a promise of future, then why, when we contemplate these photographed buildings, do we automatically think: “How long will they last?” “Are they still standing today?” It is hard to believe that they can be examples of so called unité d´habitation; they are rather a way of transforming architecture into an efficient business that is sadly perishable.
Level three. The modulor by Le Corbusier, the human scale that should be the foundation of inhabitable architecture, is called into question when observing the vertically cramped accumulation and the urban landscape found in these photographs. Forms that one day wanted to give a neutral element to the ensemble without keeping man in mind. Now a shelter for multitudes, they have been transformed into swarms that secrete as many worlds as they do windows. Façades that house distinct microcosms. Mass-produced geometric shapes mocked by umbrellas, clothespins, awnings and plants. Decorations that are only comprehended by the free imagination of their neighbour.
Level four. It is equally interesting to think that these modern architectural forms derive from the constructivist tradition. Political and aesthetic ironies are echoed in David Sardaña’s photographs (showing this supposed modernity in full on Spanish autarchy) while Nicolas Grospierre uses architecture developed during communism as a basis. Ideologically opposed regimes that share an absolutist foundation erasing all evidence of democratisation.
Level five. Taking the selected buildings out of context is a strategy undertaken by both photographers. Used as isolated subjects, the interpretation of their reality is altered. Decontextualised works show them as elements separated from the integral whole.
David Sardaña’s work belongs to the Levantine Rationalism series, a set of photographs of the architecture from Spanish eastern coast that proliferated during the touristic boom of the 1970s, used by the regime to appear open and modern. An unhinged urban development that resulted in the accumulation of illogical and even disrespectful recreational buildings along the coast. Removed from their reality, monumentalised with frontal perspectives or low angles, Sardaña work gives them back their dignity, delves into their abstract origin, extracting their battered beauty and showing the universality of their forms.
The buildings that compile Nicolas Grospierre’s Atlas are a detailed and exhaustive game of abstraction, which only demonstrate the universalisation of modern forms. A modernity, however, seen through the cracks of its decline as a broken promise of future. If we consider the ironic wink of his Kolorobloki, we reach the highlight of our discourse: what seems like documentary photography is but a montage and clear sarcasm.
Nicolas Grospierre & David Sardaña – CECI N’EST PAS UN BÂTIMENT
@ andel’s Hotel Łódź (17 Ogrodowa St., Łódź, Poland)
Opening reception: April 6 at 7.00 PM
The exhibition will be open to the public between April 7 and May 6, 2017
Curator: Inés R. Artola
The Nicolas Grospierre and David Sardaña exhibition is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.
The 20th jubilee Film Video Foto Fair is closer and closer! The biggest industry event in Poland will become a great opportunity for all fans of film and photographic art again.
During this year’s edition of the fair almost 130 firms will appear, including leading producers and distributors of photo and video industry. Exhibitors will present a rich and varied offer of photographic, film, audio-video equipment and accessories as well as multimedia technologies. The Film Video Foto Fair is a great opportunity to follow the latest trends, test a wide assortment of products or learn about technological innovations. In addition to that, it is an excellent opportunity to establish new and maintain the current business contacts as well as exchange experiences and discuss the industry.
As usual, the fair is accompanied by workshops, seminars, presentations and meetings aimed at professionals dealing with photography and film as well as amateurs. Thanks to the rich programme of accompanying events, everybody will be able to develop their skills and competences by following the best.
The first series of the workshops and trainings is connected with photographing. Tomasz Tomkowiak, Karol Nienartowicz, Robert Wolański, Sławek “hesja” Krajniewski, Marek Arcimowicz, Wiktor Franko and Jacek Bonecki, all respected and repeatedly rewarded photographers, will tell about their experiences.
The people who are interested in filming will certainly listen to the lectures and participate in meetings with Captain Pilot Henryk Kwapisz or Wacław Mączyński, among others. There are also lectures aimed at those who are involved in image processing.
Another attraction for visitors of this year’s Film Video Foto fair is a cycle of author’s talks with famous photographers. The following artists have confirmed their participation: Chris Niedenthal (doc! #6), Jacek Poremba (doc! #8), Marcin Dobas and already mentioned Marek Arcimowicz.
As in the previous edition, the fair will also be accompanied by the Art Zone, the place of meetings with artists representing different kinds of photography and presenting their artistic achievements. During the jubilee edition of Film Video Foto Fair you will be able to meet Magdalena Franczuk, Sonia Firlej, Paweł Brzeziński, Arcadius Mauritz or Yulia Krivich (DEBUTS 2015), among others.
The visitors, after a large dose of information on the newest equipment and software, will be able to see several photo exhibitions, including:
- DEBUTS (edition 2016)
- Olympus’ visionaries
- collective exhibition of the Art Zone’s guests
- Our World Is Beautiful
- Opole Landscapes
- Agata Serge’s Freckles
More info @ www.filmvideofoto.pl
Please note, the first day of the Film Video Foto Fair (April 6) is scheduled for business meetings of the professionals. This day visiting is possible on the basis of invitations, multiple entry cards and media accreditations
20th Film Video Foto Fair
@ Expo-Łódź (4 Politechniki Av., Łódź, Poland)
April 6-8, 2017
“Photographic still life is a double death of a thing.” However, Paweł Żak’s exhibition will be salvation. We will see the perfectly presented reality, shown surprisingly abstractively. A glass of vodka, flowers and a skull just make a seemingly weird set. Yet, in Paweł Żak’s photographic work they make a story. It is also easy to find some reference to Dutch masters of painting there.
Still life is a classic when it comes to visual arts. Sets of static elements put together for compositional purposes, and sometimes for symbolic ones too. Not large, still items are willingly used by painters, but there are definitely fewer photographers interested in this kind of artistic expression. There are very few such masters, who create whole series of still life. No doubt, Paweł Żak is one of them. The artist has been working in this trend for 25 years, constantly amazing the viewer with successive series.
His next exhibition will consist of the latest works of the cycle that started in 2008. The works put under one title Core Curriculum and Other Still Lifes unveil Paweł Żak as the mature, minimalistic and (this time) extremely reserved artist. Digitally made images attract attention with their severity and sharpness. Simultaneously, they captivate with minimalism and abstraction.
These photographs are elaborated in every detail. They take the beginning on paper in the form of precise sketches that are then recorded with apothecary accuracy by millions of photodiodes that are selected in the way to make the viewer see what the artist wanted to show on a 1:1 scale. There is no space for mistakes, all the photos are one frame, in which Żak interferes only to the extent that photographic film allows him to.
As far as technically there is no room for inaccuracy, visually the images captivate with their ambiguity. One-colour background, spotlessly white and perfectly ironed tablecloth, common to all of the pictures, make the viewer concentrated on the presented items. The items, taken out of time and space, are here and now, in one and unchangeable situation, which, in spite of that, gives you a field for interpretation. And this is the sense of still life.
The exhibition opening will also be the release of the And Other Still Lifes album that consists of photographs taken by Paweł Żak since 2008.
Paweł Żak (b. 1965) | based in Warsaw (Poland) | studied Social Sciences at the University of Warsaw | graduate from the Academy of Fine Art in Poznan (Multimedia Communication Faculty) | lectures in Photography at the University of Warsaw’s Faculty of Photojournalism and ZPAF School of Photography | member of the Association of Polish Artists Photographers | presented his works at dozens of group and individual exhibitions in Poland and abroad | his works are in collections of National Library of France in Paris, National Museum in Warsaw, Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw, Museum of Art in Łódź, and in private collections in Poland, France, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Brazil, United Kingdom, and the USA | his photographs have been published by many magazines, including contra doc! (cd! #1 & #6).
Paweł Żak – CORE CURRICULUM AND OTHER STILL LIFES
@ Leica Gallery Warsaw (3 Mysia St., Warsaw, Poland)
Opening reception: March 31 at 7.00 PM
The exhibition will be open to the public between April 1 and May 28, 2017
The Paweł Żak exhibition is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.
At the beginning of April, Łódź will become a Polish capital of photography and filming. During three days of jubilee edition of FILM VIDEO FOTO fair, all those, whose passion is recording the light in the frame and film, will be celebrating their feast.
This year’s edition of the fair will give a great opportunity to see novelties presented by leading producers, service provides and distributors of photographic, film, audio-video equipment and accessories as well as multimedia technologies. The FILM VIDEO FOTO fair is not only the novelties from the world of photography and film, that you can see and test on your own, it is also a wonderful opportunity to meet the most recognisable and experienced experts in both of these fields.
As every year, the FILM VIDEO FOTO fair will offer its visitors a number of lectures and workshops. Every day the trainings will be divided into thematic blocks related to photography, film, print and image processing. There will also be exhibitions and meetings with famous photographers during which they will tell us about their skills and experience. This year’s Art Zone will be divided into Young Polish Photographers – including presentation of the DEBUTS (edition 2016) winners – and Masters of Frames. In addition, there will be meetings with artists presenting their own achievements and different kinds of photography.
The first day of the FILM VIDEO FOTO fair in Łódź, the biggest exhibition of photo, audio and video industry in Central and Eastern Europe, will belong exclusively to the industry representatives for B2B meetings. The next two days will be available to all those who want to develop their skills, gain knowledge of news in technology and meet recognisable experts in the industry of photography and film.
More info @ www.filmvideofoto.pl
FILM VIDEO FOTO 2017
@ Expo-Łódź (4 Politechniki Av., Łódź, Poland)
April 6-8, 2017
The FILM VIDEO FOTO fairs are organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.
Are we alone? Are we being watched? Who created us and what is the purpose of our lives? Is there a God or do we live in the Matrix? Or maybe we are just an outcome of the aliens’ experiment? Artists from all over the world are now invited to try to answer these questions.
There have been thousands of files on UFO phenomena collected by governments around the world. Countless amount of documents, researches, videos, photographs, sketches, scientific and sci-fi books and movies, but also artistic interpretations of this topic have been created. There is an ongoing discussion between people who believe and people who don’t believe in extraterrestrial life; not forgetting about various movements uniting people who explain the development of human civilisations (paleo-astronautics) as well as beginnings of main religions in alien activities. So many passionate researchers devote their lives to solve the mystery of UFO; the outcome of their work seems to be underestimated by the society.
#SHOWMEYOURUFO is a new project exploring the UFO phenomena – topic that has always been mysterious and appealing to people around the world. Creators of the concept want to join forces with researches and artists from all over the world to create an archive of contemporary visual representations related to UFO and alien conspiracy theories.
Organisers expect works related to the UFO’s topic or it’s visual language, mainly stories and documentations of sightings, or portraits of abductees/witnesses. Regarding the media – it could be photographs, drawings, clippings, short videos or sounds.
To apply, artists need to simply upload the artworks on Tumblr, Instagram or YouTube and add the #SHOWMEYOURUFO hashtag, or submit them to the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. There are no age, number of photos per person or nationality restrictions. Artworks in low resolution (72 dpi) should be accompanied by the participants name, surname, website and contact details. Work must be created by the submitting artist.
The most interesting evidence will be presented during upcoming show in Cracow (Poland) and also published on the showmeyourufo.tumblr.com website. Selected files will be featured in the accompanying zine published on this occasion.
The #SHOWMEYOURUFO project is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.
Street photography is based on capturing unusual events, symbols or anecdotes hidden in everyday situations happening in public places. Street photographers observe, notice and capture things, that others are unable to see. They do not arrange their pictures, they save everyday life as it is.
Un-Posed, founded by Damian Chrobak in 2011, is one of the most recognised Polish street photography collectives. Its primary aim is to develop creativity and visual consciousness in public space and promote the achievements of Polish street photographers. Unposed also is the title of its next exhibition soon to be open in Wroclaw’s FOTO-GEN Gallery.
The Unposed exhibition focuses on a human being seen in different situations and photographed in different places around the world. The pictures by 9 photographers – Damian Chrobak (doc! #13 & #19), Maciej Dakowicz (doc! #12), Jamie Fyson Howard (doc! #16), Ania Kłosek (doc! #25), Monika Krzyszkowska (DEBUTS 2015), Tomasz Kulbowski, Tymon Markowski, Marta Rybicka (DEBUTS 2016) and Adrian Wykrota (doc! #31) – form a story about the current state of man in terms of behaviours, surroundings and emotions. Why are we drawn to these images? Do we see similarities in our own lives? Have we seen such scenes somewhere before?
Despite of the fact that all members of the collective move in the same area of interests, their photographs prove their individual style, which shows complexity and potency of street photography.
The Un-Posed exhibition is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.
Giovanni Gastel’s first encounter with photography took place in the 1970s. At that time, photography was considered a legitimate art form and discipline and started to be collected and shown in the world’s museums and galleries. Fashion photography, however, was still considered “practical” and had not garnered much recognition in the world of art. With time, fashion photography gained its artistic status. Fashion photographic images were made in a myriad of contexts and, thus, began to define the photographic canon and grace various art spaces. Gastel’s artistic consecration took place in 1997 when the Triennale di Milano held an exhibition of his works, curated by the contemporary art historian, Germano Celant.
Giovanni Gastel does not believe in the unification of the arts, but describes his photographic work metaphorically, in terms of theatre and literature, emphasising the importance of “creating a scene” and “telling a story” with an image. He also paints the analogy of poetry to photography, which, he posits, consists not of the lyricism of an image but of the succinct and concise structure of form.
“What fascinates me about photography is that it has no relation to reality,” – says Gastel. – “It is the interruption of the constant flow of time. From eternal movement, life, to eternal immobility. It alludes to the real to create a real parallel.”
For Gastel, poems and photographs are a bit like dreams. They carry many meanings and can develop by themselves, without an author, just as the image or subject of a photograph makes itself known on the paper’s surface as it develops. The Metamorphoses series refers to Franz Kafka’s text and therein, yields Gastel’s explicit surrealistic understanding of photography. Viewers of his work can find visual references to the artists who preceded him and were considered surrealists such as Man Ray, Irvin Penn, Erwin Blumenfeld and Guy Burden.
Gastel uses various methods and techniques in his artistic practice, spanning many eras, from the Renaissance to Pop Art. He is aware of the illusiveness of fashion photography and continually reinvents the visual canon by offering viewers different perspectives of the idea of beauty and the ways it’s represented in. His methodology also makes reference to the cinematic experience. In the Ritratti di Living series, commissioned by Elle Decor in 2013, Gastel reproduced Edward Hopper’s works and played with that illusive nature, once again, making viewers of the work mistrust their own eyes.
Gastel works with large format analog cameras to contemporary digital devices. He uses various methods of analog photography such as pictorial rielaboration, decoupling and stratification, and when working with digital images, gives particular attention to post production. Unlike many others seasoned photographers, Gastel considers the invention of digital photographic technology to be the real birth of the medium, suggesting that everything until that point was a “mere archeology.”
Giovanni Gastel (b. 1955) | based in Milan (Italy) | fashion photographer | introduced to the world of art by his famous uncle, Italian filmmaker Luchino Visconti | started with wedding and portrait photography, small still-lives and occasionally kids’ fashion photo sessions (the 1970s) | since then, worked for Christie’s Auction House (since 1975) and with Carla Ghiglieri, as his agent who introduced him to the world of fashion (1981) | his photographs have been published by such outlets as Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Elle, Donna, Mondo Uomo Glamour, Femme, Amica and Sette, among others, and exhibited in museums and galleries all over the world.
Giovanni Gastel – CANONS OF BEAUTY
@ The Lumière Brothers Centre for Photography (3 Bolotnaya emb, bld. 1, Moscow, Russia)
Opening reception: March 15 at 7.00 PM
The exhibition will be open to the public between March 16 and May 9, 2017
In Łódź (Poland) it is a widely known story. A rich entrepreneur, Izrael Poznański (1833-1900), one of the icons of the best industrial days of the city, wanting to have enough workers for his factory, decided to build houses for them nearby – the famułas. At the time of the greatest prosperity, nearly 7000 people lived and worked there. Unfortunately, at the end of the Poznański’s empire, the slow agony of the famułas and their inhabitants started. Its very end occurred when it was decided to shut down the Poltex company in 1991. The housing for workers became a no man’s land and its inhabitants were left to fend for themselves. This miserable state would have gone on for ever if not the general renovation of the former housing of Poznański’s factories that started in 2014. The renovation was preceded by a long process of carrying out the residents to other apartments. And it is when Urszula Tarasiewicz appeared at the Ogrodowa Street. She started to document the empty buildings. As she admits: “I have always wanted to be a meter reader to have an opportunity to watch how the people live. It fascinated me since my childhood as the decoration of an interior tells a lot about its inhabitants. Whether they decorate their rooms with photos of their grandparents or they prefer to have calendars with naked women on the walls. But this time it was a bit more difficult as the flats were empty, so everything had to be imagined.”
Indeed. There are deserted rooms in Tarasiewicz’s pictures. Shabby walls from which someone ripped the wiring and on which the outlines of once hanging pictures and standing furniture are still visible. We have got used to such pictures. We see them every time after floods and hurricanes. But as far as in these cases they are the consequences of natural disasters, here everything is caused by man. That is why the photographs are more impressive, they even terrify with their ruthlessness and coldness. Yet they can’t stop us thinking about the people who are not in them. Who were the people who used to live there? Where are they and how are they at the moment? How they worked out their life after having left these flats where many of them had lived for generations?
Urszula Tarasiewicz guides us around the world, which no longer exists. She does it slowly as if she wants to give us enough time to come to the conclusion, that such is the way of things, that cities need permanent progress, otherwise they will meet a systematic and relentless fall and from which they can be saved only by a revolution. Nearby, on the other side of the street, such a revolution has been made – Poznański’s factory has become an elegant shopping mall and a hotel, the post-industrial space attracts people again, which for the famułas residents must seem to be out of this world. It must have been a real shock for them, further evidence of exclusion.
Tarasiewicz’s photos are simply shots. One can’t find there any traces of playing with composition or attempts to interesting frames. Actually they are not to do it. They are not supposed to entertain or comfort the viewers. We are to feel this sadness that must have accompanied the inhabitants of these interiors. We must experience the roughness of the place which we can see going away into the past but thanks to these pictures will remain in our memory.
Urszula Tarasiewicz (b. 1975) | based In Łódź (Poland) | graduate of the Łódź Film School | ennobles absurd and marginal things in her pictures, looks for beauty in kitsch, colour in greyness, and happiness in unhappy people | author of many times awarded and exhibited in many countries New Urban Legends series | her photographs have been shown in such group exhibitions as Critical Mass (USA, 2012), Call me on Sunday (Austria, 2014), Face to Face (Germany, 2014), among others | participant in prestigious portfolio review organised by The New York Times (2015).
Urszula Tarasiewicz – OGRODOWA/GARDEN STREET
@ andel Hotel Cracow (3 Pawia St., Cracow, Poland)
Opening reception: February 23 at 7.00 PM
The exhibition will be open to the public between February 24 and March 31, 2017
The Urszula Tarasiewicz exhibition is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.
Poland is the result of 10-year-long work of Michał Szlaga. There are thousands of photographs that form a kind of diary of the photographer’s trip throughout the title country. At the second exhibition organised by IFF Gallery one could see 300 photographs taken by the artist.
The pictures included in the Poland series were taken occasionally, spontaneously, as if from a peeper’s perspective. In spite of taking pictures of his characters when they didn’t expect, Michał Szlaga’s intention neither was seeking for sensation nor ridiculing them; his intention was identifying some universal emotions in their gestures and facial expressions.
Contrary to the random selection of the presented images, they form an aesthetically coherent whole. On one hand, these seemingly coincidental images from a trip make up a story about Poland, on the other one – going beyond the documentary layer – they are a record of the search for beauty in the everyday life and banality.
Michał Szlaga observes Poland from a train perspective, from a car or as a common passerby – he hardly participates in events. Poland – as he sees it – is bittersweet: unleavened and kitschy but also self-ironic and absorbed in reflective contemplation.
The exhibition will be accompanied by the book of the same title, that is at the same time a publishing debut of the IFF Institute, whose purpose is to promote Polish photography.
Michał Szlaga (b. 1978) | based in Gdansk (Poland) | graduate from Photography and Intermedia at the Gdansk’s Academy of Fine Arts | known for his portrait and documentary projects | his works are in the collections of the Apollonia Association in Strasbourg, the Ujazdowski Castle – Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw and the National Museum in Gdansk | has exhibited his photographs in Poland, Germany, France and Iran, among others | repeatedly awarded at prestigious national and international photo competitions.
Michał Szlaga – POLAND
@ IFF Gallery (Fort Mokotów, 99 Racławicka St., Warsaw, Poland)
Opening reception: February 10 at 7.30 PM
Artist’s tours: February 11 and 12 at 2.00 PM
The exhibition will be open to the public until April 9, 2017
The Michał Szlaga exhibition is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.
Wrocław based FOTO-GEN Gallery, previously known as DCF “Roman House”, will host a unique and multifaceted photo exhibition of Piotr Zbierski (doc! #8 & cd! #5), that is a photographic journey to the sources of nature, a common tradition of symbols and cultural codes. The Push the Sky Away exhibition is a triptych including his latest project – Stones Were Lost from the Base and his two earlier series: White Elephants and Love Has to Be Reinvented. Work over the whole took him 9 years.
Piotr Zbierski’s photographs are very personal. They don’t tell about the world but rather about its structure. Like an anthropologist, Zbierski revers to the roots, to that what was before the image.
“I am most interested in the dialogue between the mental time and the common one, relationships with the past,” - says Piotr Zbierski. - “We live in a specific time, in which the contact with the causes of the occurrence of linguistic, logical, cultural and religious structures is either repeatedly broken or displaced by current hybrids. I am interested in the overlap and erosion of these spaces, the desire to extract the structure that asks where it came from. It exists now but it is the result of the march through centuries. It is breathing now but it is all covered with dust of the ancestors. I choose places that were important for previous civilisations, as the medieval astronomical observatory in Lithuania or mysterious creatures created by the nature itself.”
The essential part of Zbierski’s exhibition is his latest project – Stones Were Lost from the Base. It is a journey through the centuries searching for the essence and a common link of human emotions. Zbierski searches for things that are constant and stable, for formulas and bases, what the human spices and human imagination confronting with nature are. In this way he tries to limit the message in the pictures to a necessary minimum: to leave the everlasting, blurring the “momentary” states of things.
The exhibition is accompanied by an identically titled book containing about 150 photographs by Piotr Zbierski as well as inspired by his work poem by Patti Smith, a legendary American singer and poetess, written for this book, and essay by Prof. Eleonora Jedlińska.
Piotr Zbierski (b. 1987) | based in Łódź (Poland) | graduated from Photography at the Łódź Film School | author of award-winning and highly respected series: White Elephants, Here, Love Has to Be Reinvented and Childhood Dreams | has presented his works internationally at individual and collective exhibitions | his series have been published by Shots Magazine, Ninja Mag, Archivo Zine, dienacht, GUP, doc! photo magazine (doc! #8) and contra doc! (cd! #5), among others | winner of the 2012 Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award | author of the book Push the Sky Away (Łódź Film School, 2016).
The exhibition will be open to the public until March 3, 2017
The Piotr Zbierski exhibition is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.