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Michał Szlaga

Cassubie Fixum Dyrdum Redëniô. Zôczątk.

NCK – Centrum św. Jana
June 30,2023 - August 13,2023

June 30, 2023 August 13, 2023

Holidays are a time for travelling, also in Poland and its lands. We will take a trip to the one closest to us – the Kashubia region. But it won’t be just a sightseeing trip. It will be a meeting with the personal Kashubia of an artist. For a few summer weeks, we will dedicate the St. John’s Centre to the memories, personal emotions and private thoughts of Michał Szlaga – a documentalist and photographer, a famous photojournalist.

The main character of this exhibition will be objects, multimedia and sitems – memory, obsessions, artistic origins, the artist’s roots. We will engage our senses to experience this exhibition: vision, listening, smelling and touch.

In the exhibition we will see objects, video works, installations and photographs.

Comment by Anna Mituś 

The exhibition talks about the region of Kashubia and obsessions so condensed that they become concrete things. Michał Szlaga has repeatedly referred to his Kashubian identity in his works. However, he is more widely known for his universal photographic projects that talk about Poland and its social history, especially the part related to Gdańsk. This time, he is (literally) digging the land of his birth.   

The contents of the show draw on the artist’s earliest memories. Szlaga treats his personal emotions and biographical archaeology as a case study, asking: What makes us bring to life and stick by mythical images? Where does their power come from and how does it work? What actors perform on and influence our perception of this stage and the actions we decide to take while standing on it? How far does our responsibility extend? In what conditions do individual fixations on moments, views or objects add up to form a shared cultural space?

This presentation of a well-known documentary photographer from Gdańsk is the first to depart radically from the field of photography. It features objects, discovered things and even physical fragments of his private Kashubian landscape. While the exposition has its significant sources in the photographic perspective and its mythologising two-dimensionality and includes large-format photographic and film images, the photos deviate from the documentary function attributed to photography. They are not a record of specific places, landscapes or situations but contain sentimental and mythical motifs, drawing on the personal, local and broader cultural imaginarium. The associations with Romantic painting are more calculated than accidental here. Szlaga is a realist aware of the history of the medium. He strongly feels the relationship between the image and its emotional and symbolic impact.  

The exhibition engages the entire sensorium, from image, sound, motion, through smell and touch, to an immersion-like sense of presence at a particular point in relation to all these sensations. By entering the exposition and taking each perspective in turn, one may participate in the inter-subjective mystery designed by the author, either following the the artist’s suggestive guidelines or keeping to one’s own path. 


ul. Świętojańska 50
Gdańsk, 80 – 840
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