In her latest project – I am a Woman and I Feast on Memory – Ilona Szwarc is both, the subject and the object of directed by herself narrative. She reaches the tools of performance and simultaneously makes photographic documentation of the show.
In all parts of the triptych, Ilona Szwarc step by step manipulates her own image, using her stand-in, an actress from Boston selected in casting. These carefully constructed photographs complicate the notion of portrait and self-portrait. At first, by film close-ups on drawings and paintings on the face of the model, she presents her as an old woman, and then – by a few colourful and abstract strokes – transforms her into a swollen lady. The series of photos ends with an androgynous and grotesque view of the model face, resulting in something like a contemporary veraicon of the artist double.
The exhibition is accompanied by a set of three books by Ilona Szwarc.
Ilona Szwarc (b.1984) | based in Los Angeles (CA, USA) | graduate of Photography at the Yale University in New Haven (CT, USA) and School of Visual Arts in New York City (NY, USA) | her work focuses on problems of female identity in the contemporary cultural context | laureate of the 2013 World Press Photo contest and participant of the Joop Swart Masterclass (2014) | her pictures have been presented at individual and group exhibitions (in France, Germany, Holland, Poland, Spain, United Kingdom and in the USA) and published all over the world by The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, The Telegraph Magazine and doc! photo magazine (doc! #7), among others.
Ilona Szwarc – I AM A WOMAN AND I FEAST ON MEMORY
@ Leica Gallery Warsaw (3 Mysia st., Warsaw, Poland)
Grand opening: October 28 at 7.00 PM
Artist talk: November 3 at 6.30 PM
The exhibition will be open to the public between October 29 and December 11, 2016
The Ilona Szwarc’s exhibition is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.
This autumn, FOMU is presenting a retrospective of the work of Saul Leiter (1923 – 2013), a pioneer of colour photography. Leiter was already using colour film in 1946 at the time when only black and white photography was accepted as an artistic medium. This fact negates the commonly-held assumption that colour images were only used from the 1970s onwards, with the advent of the New Color Photography movement led by Stephen Shore and William Eggleston. Saul Leiter only gained recognition for his pioneering role late in his life; since then, his permanent place in the history of photography has been secure.
Saul Leiter considered himself to be a painter as well as a photographer. His work in both disciplines is linked by a common visual style: abstraction and flatness. He mainly photographed the streets of New York, where he lived for over sixty years. The compositions depict mirrors, windows, road signs, buildings and passers-by. The urban elements blur into amorphous colours that form an important feature of each image.
This exhibition is displaying both, Leiter’s colour and his black-and-white photographs, as well as a selection of his paintings and work that has never been shown before.
The exhibition is accompanying by the book Saul Leiter – Retrospektive (Kehrer Verlag, 2016).
Herman Selleslags (b. 1938) is one of Belgium’s most famous photographers. In 2015, he donated his archive, and that of his father Rik, to FOMU. Over the course of half a century, Selleslags built up an incredible photo archive. Hundreds of thousands of photographs, glass plates, slides, negatives, press prints, pocket diaries, contact sheets and cameras were relocated to the FOMU depots. The multitudinous archive boxes are literally and figuratively the heart of the exhibition Selleslags Unpacks.
The exhibition shows the diversity of Rik and Herman Selleslags’ work: from assignments for HUMO, family albums and product photography for Grand Bazar to street photography, Jewish weddings, the 1943 winter and the 1953 floods. Less iconic and less known images by Herman Selleslags were also unearthed from the archive boxes: pictures of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and of his friend the actor Julien Schoenaerts. The FOMU is offering its public the first and behind-the-scenes glimpse of the richness of this acquisition.
Saul Leiter – RETROSPECTIVE
Grand opening: October 28, 2016
The exhibition will be open to the public until January 29, 2017
Future exhibitions @ FOMU:
The Endless City is a record of Andrzej Bogacz’s three-year stay in New York – the city about which he says: “One can say about New York anything and everything will always be true. Here, nothing seems to have a beginning and the end – neither time nor space; it is an endless gigantic flood of people in urban melting-pot. Carefully observing the daily life of residents and tourists, their reactions for ‘meeting the city’, I have created my own photographic diary.”
New York through the eyes of Andrzej Bogacz offers extreme sensations – from joy, relaxation and freedom up to the loneliness and emptiness. There is Batman walking along Madison Avenue, a couple of tourists are taking a picture of themselves against the giant figure of Eddie Murphy. Somewhere else a flood of people is flowing across a pedestrian crossing. Colourful adds are calling from the walls of the buildings. There is Angelina Jolie leaning out from behind the US flag, hung upside-down in the window. In another window, there is a dog probably waiting for its master’s return. New York simple sinks in the flood of colours given to him by its residents.
Andrzej Bogacz (b. 1975) | based in Warsaw (Poland) | graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań | winner of the Ryszard Kapuściński PAP Award for the best photo material of 2015 in Polish media | his photographs have been published in several magazines, including Harvard Review, Neewsweek Polska, Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, Polityka, Playboy, Gazeta Wyborcza, Rzeczpospolita, Polska The Times, among others.
Andrzej Bogacz – THE ENDLESS CITY
@ Czysta St. Gallery (4 Czysta St., Wrocław, Poland)
Grand opening: October 28 at 7:00 PM
The exhibition will be open to the public until November 25, 2016
The Andrzej Bogacz’s exhibition is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.
Lost Territories. SEDIMENT is a story about the slow metamorphosis of the territory of the former Soviet Union. It follows a long-term photographic project, summarising the experience, which photographers of the International Association Sputnik Photos have gathered to date. It is also the most important exhibition in the decade-long history of the collective.
With their latest show, Sputnik Photos will take viewers on a journey to the areas of the former Soviet Union – territories of painful experience and unfinished transformations. For several years, the photographers have documented the life and space of all the 15 countries born after the collapse of the Soviet empire, exploring such topics as propaganda in Georgia, veterans of the Georgian-Russian war, environment contaminated with uranium and nuclear waste, women veterans of the Great Patriotic War, borders between states, metaphysics of the dreams of the former USSR’s citizens, long-lasting consequences of natural disasters, decline of the shipbuilding industry on the Ukrainian coast of the Black Sea, and earthquake in Spitak (Armenia).
The resultant Lost Territories archive, which consists of several thousand photographs, has become a starting point for exhibitions, books and installations. Each of the narratives to emerge in the future will address a different aspect of the post-Soviet lands.
The presentation in the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle is the first in a series of Lost Territories exhibitions. Its central idea is to present different faces of the transformations in the republics of the former Soviet Union, which have now become independent states (some in theory only). The exhibition is conceived as a collective one, without distinguishing the individual artists. The personal series of works will be broken up and integrated with the other artists’ pictures to form image sequences focusing on aspects common to the project as a whole.
In four rooms of the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, degraded scenery of nuclear test sites and uranium mines will be displayed next to depictions of people’s self-organised efforts to build everyday life on the ruins of the empire. Pictures of female war veterans will neighbour with photographs of refugees from present-day conflict zones. The disappearing borders between the Baltic States are confronted with the monumental architecture of a despotic tyranny, which slowly restores the kind of cult of personality we know from the past, as is the case in Azerbaijan. The photographs show a complex and often brutal picture of the transformations.
The exhibition is accompanied by two books: Lost Territories Wordbook, which is an ‘anti-glossary’ pre- and post-transformation terms related to the Soviet Union, compiled by twenty authors from different countries – writers, historians, journalists, researchers, curators, artists and political scientists. The book will be available for sale starting from the exhibition opening night. The second publication – Lost Territories. Fruit Garden - is a photo book looking at such phenomena as political oppression, the Soviet science and the impact of man on nature.
Sputnik Photos is an international collective founded in 2006 by documentary photographers from Central and Eastern Europe. Experiencing the transformation of their region of origin has become a pretext for mutual commentary on the social, political and cultural processes occurring in it. Using photography, film and photo books, the collective has been building a record of the transformation of the area of the former Eastern bloc. Photographers: Andrei Balco, Jan Brykczyński (doc! #22), Andrei Liankevich, Michał Łuczak, Rafał Milach (doc! #19), Adam Pańczuk (doc! #15) and Agnieszka Rayss (doc! #5 & cd! #3)
Sputnik Photos – LOST TERRITORIES. SEDIMENT
@ Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle (2 Jazdów St., Warsaw, Poland)
Grand opening: October 21 at 7.00 PM
The exhibition will be open to the public until February 5, 2017
Erich Lessing is one of the most important Austrian photographers of the 20th century, chronicler of postwar history of Austria as well as Europe. Although he doesn’t consider himself a portrait photographer, he has created a unique catalogue of the most prominent politicians of the century. One of his legendary photograph shows the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Austria and the Big Four (Soviet Union, United Kingdom, USA and France) standing on the terrace of Belvedere on the day of signing of the Austrian State Treaty on May 15, 1955. The photo became an icon of new, contemporary Austria, rebuilding its democratic statehood, in which Lessing was involved himself.
Hannah Lessing and Danielle Spera, Director of the Jewish Museum Vienna, made a very subjective choice of images, giving the project Lessing Presents Lessing an intimate character. This resulted in an intriguing exhibition covering Lessing works, ranging from the well-known political photo reportages to the works that had never been shown before like Girls of the Sixties on the election of Miss Poland in the 1960s, photos of belle femme on the beach of Casenatico (Italy), or sensual shots of strippers.
Erich Lessing (b. 1923) | based Vienna (Austria) | in result of increasing persecution of Jewish community in Austria, emigrated to Palestine (1939) where worked in kibbutz and as a taxi driver | studied radio engineering at the Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa | started his photographic career as a kindergarten and beach photographer, then joined the British 6th Airborne Division as a photographer and pilot | after returning to Austria in 1947, hired as a photojournalist for the Associated Press | invited to join Magnum Photos in 1951, became its full member in 1955 (currently a contributor) | covered many significant political and social events | his photographs have been published in renowned magazines, including LIFE, Paris Match, Epoca, Picture Post and Quick, and exhibited throughout the world | author of over 40 photo books | receiver of many awards, including the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, First Class in recognition of his lifetime achievements (2013) | member of UNESCO’s International Commission of Museums (ICOM).
The Erich Lessing’s exhibition is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.
In October, NEY Gallery&Prints will presents another exhibition of one of the most recognisable Polish photojournalists – Chris Niedenthal (doc! #6). The exhibition will be focused on sports this time.
“I have never been keen on sports and hardly participated in any competitions,“ - says Chris Niedenthal. – “Sport was obligatory at school. So I pretended that I played football. During a match I even managed to break my mate’s leg. It was really amazing as at that moment he was running behind me! While playing rugby I never hurt anyone only because, knowing the consequences, I kept myself as far from catching the ball as possible. What even I liked was rowing, and though I wanted to paddle alone, I was put into eights. Fortunately at competitions I was always in reserve so I didn’t have to present my skills or reveal lack of them. So the idea of presenting my photos connected with sports seemed really strange. However, while looking over my archive, I found there pictures showing something that could be associated with the sport in a wider sense of the word.“
At the exhibition, that will be a photographic walk from the 1970s to the first years of the 2000s, one will see pictures of the most famous Polish sportsmen and celebrities in everyday situations as well as while training and competing. There will also be photos showing the world around the sports, emanating the atmosphere and the political climate of those years.
Chris Niedenthal (b.1950) | based in Warsaw (Poland) | studied at the London College of Printing | came to Poland for some months from his home town London in 1973 and remained until today | Polish correspondent for Newsweek (until 1984) | Time contracted photographer for Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union (from 1985) | winner of the World Press Photo in the Portraits category (1986) | for years connected with the German weekly Der Spiegel | his photographs have repeatedly been presented at collective and individual exhibitions | author of photo books Chris Niedenthal. Selected Photographs 1973-1989 (BOSZ, 2014), Polish People’s Republic. Props (BOSZ, 2004), 13/12. Poland of the Martial Law (Edipresse, 2006), In Your Face (Edition Fototapeta, 2011), and autobiography Chris Niedenthal. Profession: Photographer (Marginesy, 2011).
The Chris Niedenthal’s exhibition is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.
Diffusion and disappearance are both gentle movements, often hardly noticeable. Nothing concrete is happening, it is going on slowly, not quite to the end and it continues. They are processes which often complement each other. Diffusion/Disappearance is the motto of the 6th Opole Festival of Photography.
The programme of this year’s festival includes exhibitions which focus on man’s issues, his associates with other man, with the space and memory. They are stories of relations and their dynamism, actually of these leading diffusion and disappearance. Sometimes blurred and difficult to define. What is more, in terms of the form, they can be found on the borders of genres, making them disappear.
Certainly, the most important presentation of this year’s edition of the OFFoto is the exhibition of Zofia Rydet’s monumental Sociological Record project, including some thousands of photographic negatives. Realised by Zofia Rydet from 1978 up to almost the end of her life, it permanently astonishes and impresses. It is so monumental, that can’t be shown as a whole during one exhibition, though any selection is extremely difficult. Zofia Rydet used to visit the inhabitants in their homes and portrait them sitting in their most representative place in their house. As the result, we have a picture of everyday life and thousands of faces. On one hand, they are common, repeatable and similar, on the other one – wonderfully different in outfits, poses, surroundings and decoration. The title suggests research material. So does Rydet’s approach – methodological and typological. However, the result of Sociological Record seems scientifically elusive. There are no clear classifications and divisions, no definitions and standards. There is man and his relationships.
Karolina Jonderko (doc! #1 & #18) used a very similar approach. Her Lost project consists of specific portraits of rooms belonging to the people, who haven’t come back to their places. They went to their jobs, schools, walks or shopping, leaving their rooms just for a while. Their beloved keep their spaces for them, hoping that one day their missing will come back to them. Jonderko took pictures of 15 rooms throughout Poland. She illustrated the history of the missing persons, determination of the loved ones, and the slow process of disappearance under the pressure of everyday life.
Maksymilian Rigamonti (doc! #1) in his Places that Do Not Exist project also focuses on memory and inevitability of its disappearing. He tries to find out how much one can learn about the old events just by looking at the space. His photographic travels to the Volhynia also use to listen to human stories. They are about everyday life that penetrated history and pushed it aside. We can see it taking over the space. Just a reflection on the frailty of human memory.
In turn, Spring, which Didn’t Bloom by Maciej Moskwa (doc! #12 & #32) is a story about quite recent events. Moskwa tells about Syria’s everyday life – from the beginning of the Arab Spring up to the present refugee exodus. He shows the literal disappearing of the world and how ordinary people deal with it.
A method, repeatedly proven in history of photography, is a record for remembering. Although it can’t replace our memory and is subjective, it still protects from disappearing, forgetting. Both, Paweł Frenczak (Noir) and Małgorzata Sajur (DEBUTS 2015; My Anxieties), record their own personal stories of their own everyday life. Another method is an attempt to reconstruct events from memory. Their repetition leaves ever-lasting record of photographic image. This is the method used by the winner of the Show up contest – Piotr Pardiak (Heritage).
The passage of time is the primary motive of the First Haircut exhibition. Michał Stolarski and Tomasz Liboska are reconstructing their memories from their youth. They invited Dominik and Marek to play their stories that took place 20 years before. “We are trying to recall everything that is possible: real places, details, gestures. We have to improvise. Lots of the places we remember either don’t exist any more or changed their character. Our memories are not the same as they used to be either,” – they say. Intertwining worlds of actors and authors, fading of memories, giving way to changes and yet it is all going on at the document happening today.
In many single photographs as well as in full stories and exhibitions of this years’s edition of the OFFoto we will find this intertwining of worlds, memories, reflexions on disappearing. Actually that is the purpose of photography. A photo is a trace of a certain event, authentic one or created. If authentic one – it is still subjective and as such it can be remembered in a different way by somebody standing just some centimetres away. The leading motto doesn’t explain the sense of every presentation literally and accurately, but, as usual, encourages to find one’s own interpretations and add their own stories and associations.
More info and detailed programme @ www.offoto.pl (website in Polish language version only).
6th Opole Festival of Photography
September 29 – November 13, 2016
The 6th Opole Festival of Photography is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.
Use of light seems to be the most common topic of photographic textbooks, both for beginners and professionals. Light, in all its forms, appears in titles of innumerable exhibitions and often also pops up in headlines of educational articles on the history of photography. In most cases, however, the discourse on light is limited to showcasing ways of “taming” it, i.e. to its practical and technical aspects. The perception of the formal and artistic problems is usually lopsided. All of this often leads to the trivialisation of the question of light.
With the Lux exhibition, the Archeology of Photography Foundation continues the theme of projects based on collaborations with contemporary artists, which aim at theoretical reflections on important issues for the history of photography and research practices. In the first ever presentation of these pictures, film, and an installation, the artists engage with various aspects relating to light and its relationship with the ontological essence of photography.
Photophobia, the film by Karolina Breguła, a versatile multimedia artist, is a dark, metaphorical story about the fear of darkness. Its protagonist compulsively collects light bulbs in an attempt to limit the liberty of her fellow district residents.
Przemek Dzienis is mainly known for his witty photographs of people in relation to objects and space. This time around, he starts with the physical nature of light and explores its transformations and colour perception. In an effort to create an illusion of light effects, he applies modern printing techniques.
For Magda Hueckel, the author of the acclaimed book Anima: Images from Africa, light is a symbol of healing and recovering from an illness. In this way, the artist tries to make reference to the history of photography, as well as to the broader context of the presence of light in culture.
One of the artists who continue to revisit the problem of light is Szymon Rogiński, whose works such as UFO Project or the Blackness series, focusing on the lack of light, have permanently established themselves in the canon of contemporary Polish photography. The author focuses on the registration of light phenomena, applying, among others, the process of solarisation, which takes place as a result of intensive exposure of a light-sensitive material.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a book under the same title, which will be launched during the closing reception. It continues the series inaugurated with Emulsion (2015), which focuses on the material aspects of photography. Lux features contemporary and archival works dedicated to light as well as commentary from the perspective of physics and research articles.
Karolina Breguła, Przemek Dzienis, Magda Hueckel & Szymon Rogiński – LUX
@ Gallery of the Archeology of Photography Foundation (13 Gen Władysława Andersa St., Warsaw, Poland)
Grand opening: September 23 at 5.00 PM
The exhibition will be open between September 24 and October 14, 2016
Andrzej Wiktor’s photographs’ characters are knights, Vikings, shooters, hussars, masters of the sword with ladyloves, craftsmen. They all share one passion – possibly the most faithful reproduction of ancient times. Wiktor’s photographs are well-thought portraits of people dressed in costumes from the past, without styling and fiction. The artist gives them particular dimension and depth.
Contemporary knights are a large group of enthusiasts who participate in celebrations of different historic events and also arrange various historical happenings. Often associated only with fun and masquerade, they are the people of great knowledge and sports skills like fencing, archery and horse riding. These people are endowed with the passion which often combines their professional life with hobby. They collaborate with curators, organisers of anniversary events, directors and many others.
The exhibition will also includes photographs made in heliogravure technique, that is very rarely used today.
Andrzej Wiktor (b. 1973) | based in Warsaw (Poland) | graduate of the Łódź Film School | member of the Association of Polish Artists Photographers ZPAF and Association of Polish Journalists | freelancer collaborating with National Geographic Polska, National Geographic Traveler and Press, among others | his photographs have been published by major Polish weeklies, like Wprost, Polityka, Newsweek Polska and Przekrój | previously worked for photo departments of the Polska The Times, Polish Press Agency and Rzeczpospolita | winner and finalist of several photo contests.
Andrzej Wiktor – KNIGHTS
@ -1 Gallery (Polish Olympic Committee bldg.; 4 Wybrzeże Gdyńskie St., Warsaw, Poland)
Grand opening: September 28 at 7.00 PM
The exhibition will be open to the public until October 20, 2016
The Andrzej Wiktor’s exhibition is organised by NEY Gallery&Prints under doc! photo magazine patronage.
Wacław Wantuch (cd! #1) is a legendary person. He is the most recognisable contemporary photographer of “absolute beauty” – the female nude. A sculptor who uses light instead a chisel. The author of over seventy exhibitions and three bestselling albums, representing the Polish canon of black-and-white nude of the 21st century. His next exhibition – Platinum – shows his sensitivity not only to the beautiful shape of the body, but also to the personality and context. He invites the sun light to his studio, accepting its changeability, playing with and making it a co-author of his photographs. He focuses on what is in the shadow. It turns out that what is hardly seen, can be most impressive.
The Platinum exhibition is unusual in its form as well as in content. The photographs presented there are the effect of some years of the photographer’s experiments with the noblest photographic technique of prints – platinotype. Before the World War I it was one of the most popular methods of making prints. Some time later, it was replaced with silver technology – easier and cheaper. However, platinum prints are characterised by unusual vividness. Gentle, full of tonal gradations, unreachable in any other process, combined with natural and warm colours, all of these give the pictures their unique atmosphere. Durability and stability of the chemical processes, that occur during the proper developing of platinum prints, are termed as endless. Moreover, each print is unrepeatable. There is no the same print. The photographs are exposed on handmade paper, supplied by the paper factory founded in the days of Gutenberg.
The exhibition is accompanied by the Platinum album, containing an extended set of photographs and conversations with Wacław Wantuch about his transformation from a sculptor to the photographer of the nude and about challenges posed by the platinotype.
Wacław Wantuch (b. 1965) | based in Kraków (Poland) | artist-photographer and writer | mainly creates female nudes | graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków | author of the book Wawel Stone? (original title Kamień wawelski?; Castor, Kraków, 1992) and photography albums Nudes (original title” Akty; Bosz Publishing, Olszanica, 2010), Nude and Nude 2 (original titles: Akt and Akt 2; Bosz Publishing, Olszanica, 2006) | has exhibited internationally.
Wacław Wantuch – PLATINUM
@ Leica Gallery Warsaw (3 Mysia Str., Warsaw, Poland)
Grand opening: September 15 at 7.00 PM
The exhibition will be open to the public between September 16 and October 23, 2016
Artist talk: September 16 at 6.00 PM
The Wacław Wantuch’s exhibition is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.