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.
Borys Makary is an exploring artist. It seems that he hasn’t found his favourite form of expression yet. Thus so many intriguing forms of depicting and methods of presenting topics. No matter if it is an attempt to discover links between a man and nature, putting him into the landscape, or Man-Ray’s like presenting the reality using negatives and numerological describing of man, Makary’s photographs are a journey through the corners of human mind, an attempt to catch that what is ephemeral and simultaneously – a set of his own photographic path. During this journey, Makary proves he is an unusually talented artist able to break cliches and replace them with his own original observations and associations.
Borys Makary’s photographs are like opium: addictive and unforgivable. Once seen, they come back to the recipient repeatedly like a boomerang thrown in the Australian bush. They tempt. They hypnotise. They addict. Through his pictures, Borys plays an endless game with a viewer, a game in which he establishes the rules, and during which he is both, the demiurge and an active participant. The unconscious of anything recipient gets caught up in this game as easily as the insect lured by the carnivorous sundew. Each Makary’s exhibition reveals another scene of this peculiar game and the key to the understanding of its principles is total immersion in the magic of his images.
There are two trends noticeable in Makary’s work. On the one hand it is a fascination with the human body, especially the female body and femininity in general; on the other hand, it is admiration for the beauty and power of nature. Both threads are led parallelly, although it happens to them to enter together into an invisible dialogue. Such a dialogue is the latest presentation of Makary’s works, that consists of works from the artist’s archives that have never been displayed publicly before as well as the photographs made specially for the Cracow exhibition.
Why Unseen Dialogues? Because they are not obvious, one must look for them in the game of the pictures, in their associations. Seemingly simple, they can make a mess in one’s head. To understand them properly can cause some trouble. In addition, Makary doesn’t help us in this task. He makes us analyse them carefully picture by picture in order to find their connection, to hear their dialogues. What they are talking about? What they want to tell us? Come and listen to them.
Borys Makary (b. 1977) | based in Cracow (Poland) | visual artist dealing with conceptual, creative and commenting reality art | mainly uses photography, but also installations and video | graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts’ Faculty of Multimedia Communications in Poznań (Poland) | learnt photography from Miles Aldridge and at the International Centre of Photography in New York City (NY, USA) | former assistant to Richard Warren, a fashion photographer | has presented his works in Poland and abroad at individual exhibitions in based in Paris NUE and Claude-Samuel galleries, and at collective exhibition FOTOFEVER at the Louvre Museum, among others | has participated in the WeArt (Barcelona, Span) and Photo Independent (Los Angeles, CA, USA) festivals | has received many awards of international photography contests in the USA and in Europe, including two medals at the 2013 Prix de la Photographie Paris | has published in many photographic magazines, including Secret Behaviour and contra doc! (cd! #6).
Borys Makary – UNSEEN DIALOGUES
@ andel’s Hotel Cracow (3 Pawia St., Cracow, Poland)
Opening reception: January 12, 2017 at 7.00 PM
The exhibition will be open to the public between January 13 and February 12, 2017
The Borys Makary exhibition is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.