exhibition of photographic books
Miejska Biblioteka Publiczna w Opolu
Minorytów 4, 45-017 Opole, Poland
Curator: Katarzyna Sagatowska
Meeting with curator Katarzyna Sagatowska: 8. 10. 2021, 18:15
Books and authors:
– “As It Is” Rinko Kawauchi
– “Autoportret z matką / Self-portrait with my Mother” Karolina Jonderko
– “Brother | Sister” Elin Høyland
– “Close to home” Anna Clarén
– “Drewniane gody” Filip Zawada
– “Father Photographer” Robert Frank
– “Frowst” Joanna Piotrowska
– “KINDERTURNEN. Alternatywna gimnastyka dziecięca. Zbiór ćwiczeń w 101 odsłonach i 19 rozdziałach” Patrycja Orzechowska
– “KOMCHA” Dominika Sadowska
– “List do chłopca z latarką” Grzegorz Dembiński
– “My Father’s Legs” Sara Perović
– “Negative Book” Aneta Grzeszykowska
– “Pictures from Home” Larry Sultan
– “Poród” Krzysztof Solarewicz
– “Rachel, Monique…” Sophie Calle
– “Siggie” Lisbet Nielsen
– “Traces” Weronika Gęsicka
– “Wyjedź Zostań” Rafał Siderski
– “YAGA” Agata Kalinowska
– “Zrosty” Marta Przybyło
We have an interesting saying in Poland that the best thing to do with family is to take a picture. Plus some say it‘s good to stand in the middle so we don‘t get cut out. Others, on the contrary, that it is better on the side to be able to cut themselves off at any time. These laugh-out-loud words are just a fragment of the vast collection of associations with family. A topic that at first glance seems simple and obvious, but in fact is complex and ambiguous.
The timing of the pandemic made it necessary to stay home. For some, it was a sweet time of enjoying getting closer and deepening their bonds with loved ones. For others it was a state of imprisonment, of reviewing family relationships, of seeking asylum. It is likely that an exceptionally large number of “home” photographs were and are being taken during this period, and in the near future this will result in a multitude of artistic realizations.
However, regardless of the place we would like to occupy in a family photograph, family is our beginning. Source of life, source of joy, source of suffering, source of strength, but also source of weakness. And also a lot of excitement in between. This complexity of experience is reflected in the work of artists using photography. This particular medium is tied to time like no other. Paradoxically, it both emphasizes and detracts from its power. Birth, adolescence, aging, death follow in the rhythm of time. Photography has the power to stop a moment and document it. It also provides opportunities to break with reality and create fictional, metaphorical stories.
The exhibition “Source” presents a selection of photographic books from Poland and abroad, in which the artists take up themes concerning family. The artists appear here in different roles – children, parents. They tell of the past, the present, and look into the future. They document, reach for archives, create stories. Sometimes they share their intimacy with the audience, other times they coolly analyze the rules of upbringing and prevailing patterns.
An introduction to the story can be the book “KINDERTURNEN. Children‘s alternative gymnastics. A collection of exercises in 101 scenes and 19 chapters” by Patrycja Orzechowska. Then we can go in different directions – stylistic, meaningful, temporal. It features publications of classics that tell stories about their parents, such as Larry Sultan‘s “Pictures from Home,” “Rachel, Monique. . . ” Sophie Calle, “Father Photographer” by Robert Frank, or a child like Rinko Kawauchi‘s recently released “As It Is“. A group of books from Scandinavia – “Siggie” by Lisbet Nielsen, “Brother | Sister” by Elin Høyland, “Close to home” by Anna Clarén – combine documentary-style entry into the everyday life and privacy of the characters. An attempt to understand an absent parent is the “Self-Portrait with Mother” by Karolina Jonderko, “Leave Stay” by Rafał Siderski and “My Father‘s Legs” by Sara Perović. Filip Zawada talks about married life in his book “Wooden Graces“, and Agata Kalinowska writes about queer relationships between women in her recently published book “Yaga“.Reflections on family relations have been presented by female artists in conceptual cycles – Weronika Gęsicka in “Traces“, Joanna Piotrowska in “Frowst” and Aneta Grzeszykowska in “Negative Book“. The visual books that have been inspired or accompanied by motherhood are “KOMCHA” by Dominika Sadowska and “Zrosty” by Marta Przybyło. “Poród” (Birth) by Krzysztof Solarewicz and “List do chłopca z torarką” (A letter to a boy with a flashlight) by Grzegorz Dembiński are two stories that were inspired by the experience of fatherhood, and which also make us reflect on the possibility of getting to know ourselves and another human being.
The multitude of topics, experiences, and artistic interpretations show the power and potential of photography books. Thanks to the finished form we have a chance to get to know the story in exactly the way the artists and graphic designers planned it. It is worth remembering that each of us has such books at home. These are our family albums tenderly (or not) kept by successive generations and often pointed to as the treasure to be rescued from a burning house. Thanks to them we know what kind of moustache our great-grandfather had or in what dress our cousin from Chodzież got married. We can look into our own baby face. “The Source” is a story about a beginning that, whether we want it or not, stays with us until the very end.
Patrycja Orzechowska, “Visual exercises” (collage) from the book “KINDERTURNEN. Children‘s alternative gymnastics. A collection of exercises in 101 views and 19 chapters“, 2014. Courtesy of the artist
Partner: Jednostka Gallery