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Cracow: ‘Photographic Memory’

April 1, 2021 - April 25, 2021


Artists:  Noemi Comi, Jeremi Dobrzański Katarzyna, Feiglewicz-Peszat, Paweł Kędziora, Edmund Krempiński i Natalia Różycka, Jan Kukułka, Aleksandra Młynarczyk-Gemza, Adriana Omylak, Mateusz Pitala i Monika Raźny, Dominik Ritszel, Agata Skupniewicz, Paulius Sliaupa, Michał Tokarz Magdalena Tryba, Alexia Villard

The Photographic Memory exhibition was preceded by the open-call organized by Gallery ASP and the Association Art Historians of Jagiellonian University, Section of Contemporary Art “Współczesna”. The course of open-call has ended with 15 finalists, who were qualified for the group exhibition and one main prize (a solo exhibition), that went to Dominik Ritszel. The curator and coordinator of the project is Emilia Kutrzeba.

Photographic Memory

Between the stalls of the Market Hall, we come across those offering old photographs, cards with greetings from holidays or love letters. In the boxes you can find various photos: communion photos, ID cards, holiday photos or studio wedding photos. All these images have found their way to the traders of anonymous stories. If you look at the picture carefully and turn it over, you can see the traces of a photograph torn out of a family album. For a minimal price, we can become collectors of other people’s stories.

Maria Janion – historian of literature, ideas and imagination, researcher of Polish culture of the 19th and 20th centuries – admitted that all her life she had been fascinated by the archive of existence. An attempt to preserve the tiniest traces, to save everything. She mentioned that when her works found their way into the archive, it brought her peace of mind. Does the awareness of preserving our work, our memories, through archiving actually bring peace of mind? How does this relate to the contemporary situation? What do we feel when we look at the images recorded before the pandemic and do we manage to save them? Nowadays, the media convey the slogan ‘the situation is rapidly changing’, so how do we keep up with what is happening? How to make a choice – what is worth remembering? An archive is not only a place to store, but also a place to forget, to erase from memory and to disappear from.

In the age of ephemeral media on the TV screen, phone or computer, we are not watching the Big-Bang, but its echo, its projection into space-time today. At a time when we hear the order to stay home for safety, but at the same time we have to go out on the street and fight for our rights – the world begins to become an image. Not only is the archive a place of memory, but memory is also a photographic archive. From micro to macro history, how can ‘photographic memory’ be interpreted today?