Tomasz Wysocki @ Leica Gallery Warsaw

Taken from the Return to Eden series

Taken from the Return to Eden series

Tomasz Wysocki’s exhibition at the Leica Gallery Warszawa is the first so extensive exhibition of his work. Within the exhibition we will see Wysocki’s three different projects, realised between 2013 and 2015. The first one, Return to Eden, is a story about searching for our own identity, about who we are inside of our being and who outside. The second project, In-visibilis, inspired by the fashion collection partly designed for the blind, is a series about senses – it tells about the world of the blind ruled by the sighted people. In both series the author operates very simple means of expression: dominated by white colour, with clear objects and people . Yet, the real topic of the picture is implicit. The last presented project, Exodus 2064, is the most spectacular one. It is a vision of the future, which is the result of the artist’s experiments with hypnosis.

Taken from the In-visibilis series

Taken from the In-visibilis series

The photographs presented at the exhibition show sets of selected plastic objects such as shapes, textures, shades of colours. The combination of soft light and frozen movements of characters creates images without typical for photography means of expression: depth of field, multilayerness, decisive moment or accidental behaviour of the characters. Wysocki’s photographs avoid limits of one medium and they are at the junctions of staged pictures and paintings.

Tomasz Wysocki (b. 1990 r.) | student of the Łódź Film School | specialises in staged photography offering opportunity to create perfect and imagined worlds | all objects visible in his pictures are designed and produced specially for the particular shot | his photographs have been presented at several solo and group exhibitions in Italy, Denmark and Poland | awarded by the Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage | scholarship holder from the Polish Ministry of Education (2014).

Taken from the Exodus 2064 series

Taken from the Exodus 2064 series

Tomasz Wysocki – THE BEGINNINGS
@ Leica Gallery Warsaw (3 Mysia St., Warsaw, Poland)
Grand opening: December 6 at 6:00 PM
The exhibition will be open to the public until January 24, 2016.

The exhibition is organised under contra doc! patronage.

‘Inferno’ by Virgil Brill @ contra doc! #7

Inferno XIX

Inferno XIX

Flat and shimmering surfaces leaning toward the dark yet lit by a faraway gap.
Earth, everywhere pervasive: texture, the deep womb, telluric power, ominous and protective.
Sentinels of darkness, the beings watch for the oblique beams of the star.
They come from darkness in close order maybe to imbed within the wall of the world
Prisoners of the ellipse they wonder and walk on through the whirling rain and wind.
Night is fallen the pale stars and planets are motionless
the beings silently re-join before heading to the light they do not understand
they are watchful
for the warming of the planet.
They hold hands together to cross the steps.
They come to a white desert.
The motionless star is still very far.
At first the light was bright now it has dimmed.
Torment assails them.
Some seized with despair
in search of themselves
split between I and shadow
believe they see death in warriors of tombs, death.
oxymoron of white light and stygian darkness
whither they sink.
Others, seized by anguish,  draw near each other and seek the marches of their memory.
They have retraced their steps
and they see the star and the earth have changed imperceptibly.
As they themselves have.

by Monica Plaza & Virgil Brill

Virgil Brill – INFERNO
@ contra doc! #7
online version
printed version
pp. 167-185

Dorothy-Shoes @ La Galerie Parisienne

Hector+Rouage. Taken from the TAPS - Extinction des Feux series.

Taken from the TAPS – Extinction des Feux series

The map of Warsaw has been enriched with a new interior gallery interior – La Galerie Parisienne. The gallery celebrates its opening with the first Polish exhibition of French photographer Dorothy-Shoes.

Living and working in Paris, Dorothy-Shoes comes from the world of theatre. Her photographs represent a bridge between realism and surrealism; they seem to be a timeless fables combining social witness and directed artistic staging.

Equilibrium. Taken from the Monologues & Dystopies series.

Taken from the Monologues & Dystopies series

The Warsaw’s exhibition of Dorothy-Shoes consists of images coming from several series, including award-wining and repeatedly presented series Monologues & Dystopies (ongoing project) and TAPS – Extinction des Feux (2010). Her other well-known projects also include ColèresS Plaques (series of intimate self-portraits after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2012), Et Demain? Portraits d’Avenir (2008-2010) and Django du Voyage (2010).

S'asseoir c'est Mourir un Peu. Taken from the Monologues & Dystopies series.

S’asseoir c’est Mourir un Peu
Taken from the Monologues & Dystopies series

Dorothy-Shoes (b. 1979) | based in Paris (France) | a self-thought photographer (since 2005) | her first solo exhibition took place in Brussels (Belgium) in 2006 | her works have been presented in many countries around the globe, including Canada, Chile, China, France, Ghana, Hungary, Indonesia, Russia, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and in the USA, among others | her photographs are part of several collections, e.g. Centre des Monuments Nationaux and Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris (France) as well as Oktagon Gallery in Jakarta (Indonesia) | author of two books: Passés par la Case Prison (Découverte, 2014) and Django du Voyage (Editions du Rouergue, 2011) | member of the studio hans lucas agency (since 2015).

@ La Galerie Parisienne (8 Wilcza St., Warsaw, Poland)
Grand opening: December 4 at 6:00 PM.
The exhibition will be open to the public until January 5, 2016.

The exhibition is organised under contra doc! patronage.

‘Through the Light of the Entrails’ by Tao Douay @ contra doc! #7

© Tao Douay

This project is the result of the evolution of work I developed around the topic of death when I was younger. As far as I can remember it has always been an obsession, maybe because I grew up in a presbytery, in front of a graveyard and a church. I started it with video and went on with photography.

Very early I was fascinated by the look of long exposure: recording the time that passes in one single picture. It’s different than a video which shows a movement; here things are frozen. That way of working – using a special light – allows me to see through things and reveal the unknown and obscure part inside living things. The fact that the time passes while I’m taking the picture expresses the mortal condition of life. As Heraclitus said: „All things come to pass.“

In 2012 I began to include my father in my work. He represented a hidden part of my personal origins. In fact his mother was born in Poland but left for France at an early age. She died in 2012, soon after I wondered about my Polish origins.

This photography has a lot to do with my intuition, feelings and synchronicity – a lot of mysteries are connected with it. It is meditative work that I don’t control with my brain…

@ contra doc! #7
online version
printed version
pp. 107-127

‘Room 322’ by Francesco Ridolfi @ contra doc! #7

Room 322_Guests 531

Room 322_Guests 531

After my previous photo series, Chess Portraits, which – to be honest – obtained quite exposure and success, I would like to try myself in something different. Something more intimate and introspective. Something that could suggest a story and be opened to the viewer interpretation. After all I love the work of photographers like Erwin Olaf and Gregory Crewdson, the images and the worlds they create and that they are able to evoke.

The very first sparkle of the idea came when I moved to Brussels for some months. In my new home there was a bathroom with a bathtub (could sound strange, but it was something unusual for me, as I always had just a shower in the places where I lived), so I started to take some baths and enjoy the time for myself while I was having them. I quickly realised that nowadays, taking a bath, is one of the rare situations completely for yourself, where you can take time and a space, thinking, reflecting and maybe let emerge emotions deeply buried in your heart. It’s an opportunity to ‘immerse ourselves’ in our own thoughts and let feelings and deep memories ‘rise to the surface’…

Francesco Ridolfi – ROOM 322
@ contra doc! #7
online version
printed version
pp. 61-83

‘Evidence of Identity’ by Ida Strzelczyk @ contra doc! #7



I am looking at each of them separately, I am looking at parts of their bodies covered with ink inserted under the skin. The number of designs, a variety of tattoos and people wearing them turn out to be fascinating. But at the same moment a question of motivation arises as the tattooing itself – however rich in adrenaline and simply addictive – is often painful and the pattern is to remain on the body for ever. Then I think: the tattoos are their owners’ specific evidence of identity. They become their particular hallmark, their unique recognition element. The tattooed express themselves in this way: their fascinations, interests, views, emotions or aesthetic tastes.

Among many ways of self-expression, this one is the most durable and highly individualised. There might be diametrically different approaches to the tattoo: to some it is just a kind of fun with no special meaning, to others it is a kind of talisman or sign reminding of life events. Some give their tattoos a deep symbolic, personal and emotional meaning, whereas to others they are ways of expressing their passions. The body can be thought a story of life or just a piece of blank canvas to fill. It is certain, however, that the tattoo becomes an integral part of the body of the wearing it person. Even if sometimes it is an art for art’s sake, it will always remain an individual sign characterising  the person and harmonising with their personality…

@ contra doc! #7
online version
printed version
pp. 129-143

!ART COME OUT! or meetings with masters of Polish photography

© Agnieszka Rayss

The next edition of !Art Come Out! meetings, during which well-known and appreciated Polish photographers tell about their work, starts on November 25. The invited guests share their experiences and tell about their own creative way, that is particularly valuable for those who are interested in professional photography and art. These meetings are a unique opportunity for a discussion on the topic covered by the lecturer as well as for seeing unique prints, albums and photo books.

The first edition of !Art Come Out!, organised by the Fotobzik association, took place in 2011. Since then the following artists have participated in the meetings: Paweł Piersciński, Adam Pańczuk (doc! #15), Anita Andrzejewska (cd! #1), Karolina Jonderko (doc! #1 & #18), Bogdan Frymorgen (doc! #8), Wojciech Wilczyk, Michał Łuczak and Magda Hueckel, among others. From the very beginning the meetings are very popular.

The guest of the first meeting of the new !Art Come Out! edition will be Agnieszka Rayss (doc! #5 & cd! #3).

Agnieszka Rayss | based in Warsaw (Poland) | photographer freelancer | engaged in documentary photography | studied art history at the Jagiellonian University (Cracow, Poland) | co-founder of the International Photojournalists Association Sputnik Photos | winner of many photography contests, including Newsreportaz, Grand Press Photo, BZ WBK Press Foto, Pictures of the Year International and two-time finalist of Hasselblad Masters Awards | recipient of a scholarship from the MInistry of Culture (2013) and from the Visegrad Fund (2007) | published American Dream album on the triumph of pop-culture in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

Next meetings are scheduled for December 9, 2015, January 13 and February 17, 2016 and their stars will be Jacek Fota, Przemysław Pokrycki (doc! #7) and Szymon Rogiński, respectively. All the meetings will be held in the main auditorium of the Cracow’s Fine Arts Academy.

!Art Come Out! – Agnieszka Rayss
@ Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts (13 Jan Matejko Sq., Cracow, Poland)
November 25 at 6:00 PM

Read more about !Art Come Out! @ (website in Polish language version only)

!ART COME OUT! meetings are organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.

‘Between the Trees’ by Ellie Davies @ contra doc! #7

© Ellie Davies

What is a forest? Is it the trees or the space that exists between them?

„A forest is what exists between its trees, between its dense undergrowth and its clearings, between all its life cycles and their different time-scales… A forest is a meeting place between those who enter it and something unnameable and attendant… Something intangible and within touching distance. Neither silent nor audible.“*

These images explore the nature and meaning of ‘Forest’ by considering the experience of standing alone in the woods; the eerie and captivating sensation that time has slowed down and that the forest and everything within it exists in a different state. Somehow set apart from our usual perception of linear time the wind drops, the air cools, all is quiet and still and the forest draws in. To enter this other place is to accept a slowing of time and a shift in perception.

The swirling, hanging and drifting smoke allows us to observe time moving at an almost imperceptible pace, and to focus on the interior space that is very much part of the forest, guiding the eye away from the trees and allowing it to linger on this ‘betweenness’…

@ contra doc! #7
online version
printed version
pp. 43-59

* Hold Everything Dear: Dispatches on Survival and Resistance by John Berger (p.135-140; Verso, 2007)

Adam Pańczuk @ andel’s Hotel Łódź

© Adam Pańczuk_01

Karczeby – this is how in Chachlac dialect (a mixture of Polish and Belorussian languages) people strongly connected with the soil they had been cultivating for generations were called. With their bare hands, Karczeby cleared forests to get new soil for cultivation.

In Chachlac dialect, ‘karczeb’ also means a stump with roots that remains in the ground after a tree is cut down. It was similar to the people – it was not easy to ‘uproot’ them from their land. Under Stalin’s ruling, they paid with their freedom and lives for their affection for their soil.

After death, buried next to the land he farmed, a Karczeb himself became the soil, later cultivated by his descendants.

© Adam Pańczuk_02

Adam Pańczuk (b. 1978) | based in Warsaw (Poland) | works everywhere where he finds an interesting topic | studied at Academy of Economics as well as photography at the Multimedia Communication Faculty of Poznan Academy of Fine Arts | member of Sputnik Photos collective |executing his own projects, asks – directly and simultaneously metaphorically – questions about identity, consciousness and attitude towards the world | holder of the Ministry of Culture’s scholarship | easiness with which he uses the image describing his observations resulted in several prestigious rewards, including Picture of the Year, Magnum Expression Award, Grand Press Photo | has published in National Geographic, Newsweek, British Journal of Photography, Le Monde, Esquire, OyodePez, Geo Magazine, Polityka and doc! photo magazine (doc! #15).

Adam Pańczuk – Karczeby
andel’s Hotel Łódź (17 Ogrodowa St., Łódź, Poland). Grand opening: November 26 at 7:00 PM. The exhibition will be open to the public until December 15, 2015.

The exhibition is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage within ANDEL’S PHOTO series.

‘Artists Did Try to Come, Willingly’ by Andrzej Świetlik @ contra doc! #7

Grzegorz Ciechowski (1988)

Grzegorz Ciechowski (1988)

Andrzej Świetlik is most associated with the neo-avant-garde group, Łódź Kaliska. Yet, the Artists Did Try to Come, Willingly series presents him as an artist creating portraits for advertising purposes. The series consists of images taken between 1983 and 2002, in the times when photographers had almost complete freedom of creating and portrayed icons of pop-culture were not seasonal celebrities, but artists of flesh and blood; in the times, when photographers didn’t have to choose – art or commerce.

Świetlik’s tiny studio was regularly visited by musicians, actors, set decorators as well as friends and family members. In front of his camera stood Kora Jackowska, Czesław Niemen, Maryla Rodowicz, Grzegorz Ciechowski and others. The meetings were usually more a sort of social gatherings. There was a great freedom of creation – an artistic carte blanche. During some of the sessions, traditional portraits were created, during others – the models were taken to an imaginary and staged world, in which Świetlik humorously improvised referring to the history of art, surrealism or the aesthetics of socialist realism. The characteristic portraits made on monochromatic, modest background could later be seen on the album’s covers, illustrated press and in advertisements…

@ contra doc! #7
online version
printed version
pp. 24-41

Also read an interview with Andrzej Świetlik -> A KIND OF MYSTERY @ cd! #7 (pp. 9-23)