Over ten years ago, a premiere of Bogdan Konopka’s exhibition took place at Centre Pompidou in Paris (France). Back then, the group of photographs was shown under the title Paris, Unvisible City(Paris La Ville Invisible). Today we can discover new stories of the similar kind, registered with the same tool – 8×10 camera. The photographs tell stories about Paris, Nice, Arles and Verzy forest. They are narratives of places, spaces and objects. Their leitmotif is love for light and deep understanding of fragility of photography as a medium.
‘Each photograph by Bogdan Konopka is like a tale on light. It is produced using the contact method – from the negative put directly on the paper,’– says Mateusz Palka, author of an essay about Bogdan Konopka’s work. – ‘In order to well-perceive these small pictures, one needs to get as close as possible. In a result the viewer immerse him or herself in them, like in narrow, dark tunnels in which you can see little, or rather only what is important. They are like photo-fragments, time gaps that we are falling into.’
The exhibition title, Lessons of Darkness(Leçons de Ténèbres), is inspired by music composition by François Couperin, which traditionally is a part of celebrations of Dark Matis, an event before Easter. This specific music set the time of print development for Konopka. It is also a metaphor of working in darkroom. For the artist, it is a ritual – the moment during which ‘the picture is born.’
Darkness is an inseparable companion of light: ‘In fact, photography in its elementary sense does not mean operating with light, but shadow; the shadow, which defines light. There is one more shadow that complements photography: the shadow of its author and their time. The photographer directs images from darkness into light. And it is there that we learn whether images in “Lessons on Darkness” may become works of art. Sometimes it happens so…’– says Bogdan Konopka.
A photo album of the same title, containing black and white photographs by Bogdan Konopka and essays by Adam Mazur and Tomasz Palka, accompanies the exhibition.
Bogdan Konopka(b. 1953) | based in Paris (France) | started to photograph in the 1970s | prefers working with silver photography, mostly large-format | specialises in photographing urban tissue and landscapes| one of the creators of the ‘elementary photography’ trend (1982-1985) founded at the Foto-Medium-Art Gallery in Wrocław (Poland) | his works can be found in collections of many museums, including Centre Pompidou, Fonds National d’Art Contemporain (both in Paris, France), Musée de L’Elysée in Lausanne (Switzerland), Museum of Art in Łódź (Poland), and the National Museum in Wroclaw (Poland), among others | nominated for the Niépce Award (1994 and 1995) | laureate of the Grand Prix de la Ville de Vevey (1998) | awarded the Gloria Artis Bronze Medal of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (2017) | has been featured in many prestigious magazines, including contra doc! (cd! #3) | represented by Françoise Paviot Gallery.
Bogdan Konopka – LEÇONS DE TÉNÈBRES
@ Leica 6×7 Gallery Warsaw ( 3 Mysia St., Warsaw, Poland)
Opening reception: June 8 at 7.00 PM
The exhibition will be open to the public between June 9 and July 22, 2018
- Artist’s talk on June 9 at 6.00 PM
- Guided tour on June 30 at 6.00 PM
The Bogdan Konopka exhibition is organised under doc! photo magazine media patronage.