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Budapest: Tadeusz Rolke
September 5, 2019 - October 4, 2019
“ARTIST OF THE MOMENT”
Opening: 5 September 2019 (Thursday), 6 pm
The exhibition presents the works of one of the most outstanding Polish photographers, a doyen of post-war photojournalism, who has been inseparable from his camera for several decades.
Tadeusz Rolke’s archive comprises nearly 100,000 photographs, the earliest of which were taken in 1940s. When compiled, these images form a remarkable collection relating to the history of Poland and Warsaw in the 20th century, and to the history of Polish modern art. Over the course of the 60 years of his work, the photographer seamlessly switched between different types of photographic practice: a photojournalist, fashion photographer, author of sophisticated portaits and photo advertisement, he also worked in the field of artistic photography.
This collection of Warsaw photographs is the very essence of the 1950s and 60s – the old poor tenement houses and their dwellers; the stalinist design of the Konstytucji Square; the frontage of Jerozolimskie Avenue, and the Palace of Culture and Science standing as a shrine to communism. It is also young people goofing around in the amusement park by the Poniatowski Bridge; a stallholder arguing with the militia in one of the capital’s squares; and scenes from the “Toledo” prison in Praga, where Rolke was held for 9 months in 1952, to return in 1957 as a photojournalist.
This urban setting is also where we see many beautiful women – the author’s girlfriends and fiancées or models. Rolke adores women and loves to photograph them. In his pictures they look somewhat pensive, shy, skittish – in all their beauty. Rolke took them to the streets of Warsaw, to galleries, and out in the open. When he bought a Lambretta scooter, he made it a part of his photo frames, and the vehicle became a cult 1960s symbol.
The portrait is central to the artist’s portfolio. Its strength stems from simplicity, showing the people in their natural surroundings, in everyday situations, in their apartments, workshops, or in the streets. Famous people are portrayed quite often: actors, writers, painters, artists and scientists. The portrayed subjects clearly like, accept, and admire the photographer’s presence, there is no awkward distance between them, he is one of them.
This is an invitation to explore his world. A world seen by a photojournalist, a photographer, an artist – in the eyes of Tadeusz Rolke.
Photographs at the exhibition are part of the collection of Agencja Gazeta and the private collection of Tadeusz Rolke.