A City, not mine
March 06th, 2007 - April 29th, 2007
An exhibition A City, not mine is a photographic tale about a brutal, strange and threatening city and at the same time an impossible and ephemeral, mysterious and romantic one. The title refers to two different looks at the city, which is “not mine,” because its mysterious and unreal vision is distant from that, what we know about it based on our experience, and what we see in ads and guidebooks. On the other hand, the city is “not mine”, because its reportage part of the exposition shows what we do not want to see every day - pictures of inconvenient unwanted, dirty places. So, whose is the city? The exhibition presents a vision of a complicated, alive organism, which has a special power over its inhabitants. A starting point of those reflections is photographs that present a few Polish cities. Each of them tells its own story, sometimes a dramatic and poignant and then melancholic and full of fears, or even nostalgic one.
Works of Ewa Andrzejewska, thanks to the contact print technique and sepia, evoke photographs from before-the-war period. Private and at the same time sublimated vision of Jelenia Góra that was created systematically since the 1990s emerges from partially fuzzy contours, depth of shades and expressive clouds. The city seems to be depopulated but simultaneously marked with human presence. The author concentrates on reality, which exposes purely traces of man’s activity.
Jelenia Góra appears also in the series of Wojciech Zawadzki titled My America. It is literally his promised land, for which he had given up Wrocław. Later on he became its perceptive observer. He often peeped the similar places as Andrzejewska - privately a photographer’s wife - but definitely with more reservation. These prints reveal each detail of those neglected, unwanted and deserted places and their ominous atmosphere is heightened by depopulation.
Silesia in the lens of Wojciech Wilczyk is equally scraped and unwanted but peeped streets are not depopulated. Photographs made mainly in 2005 document urban reality of the post-communist period, where symptoms of the market economy faintly break through the old urbanistic structure.
Ireneusz Zjeżdżałka with his works also immortalizes atmosphere of Polish provinces though it is still his family town Września near Poznań. A first series of A Little Atlas of my Town (1999-2001) includes tightly cropped photographs, from which sleepiness and stagnation emanate. The artist documents the entire commonness with an enthusiasm of a person personally engaged in it. Therefore his photographs do not overwhelm. The next series Without Atelier (2000-2001) was created on the 100th anniversary of the strike of children in Września – it was a revolt against Germanization at the school. For the author it became an excuse to show contemporary condition of the youngest inhabitants of the town. Zjeżdżałka was finding his models at the streets, backyards and sometimes in the interiors of buildings and he made his photographs over there as if at the atelier - posed, frontal photographs with full consciousness of crops at which seriousness and sometimes gloom are immortalized.
The newest works of Paweł Żak made last year are completely different in their convention. They differ also from his previous works. They are the multiformat photographs (100x120 cm) of rich colors, which present empty suburbs. There no longer are houses at these places, instead there are: a solitary bus stop, a billboard, distant chimneys...
Exhibition Curator: Ewa Gałązka