September 3, 2021 – September 19, 2021
This year’s motto links the projects of the principal part of our exhibitions held during the 7th edition of the festival.
The subject was inspired by a recent project of photographer Sebastian Rogowski under this very title; we have the honour to show it for the first time in exhibition format. A program of artistic residencies is a characteristic element of the Festival of Photography “W ramach Sopotu”. This year we have offered residencies to three artists employing the medium of photography: Filip Ćwik, Weronika Gęsicka and Elis Hoffman. Without any predetermined topic and independently of one another, in their works they addressed the subject of contemporary concerns, which have become a fundamental element of our everyday life in social, cultural and personal terms.
Observation and reflection on last year’s events have inspired many of us to re-evaluate our approach to reality, to change our standpoint and often our outlook on the world. This provided an impetus and starting point for the three photographers’ reflections we have integrated under one telling banner. Discomfort. Residents’ Exhibition, similarly to the aforementioned solo exhibition of Sebastian Rogowski, as well as the presentation of projects by Martina Hoogland Ivanow, provides a commentary on the extremely vulnerable and volatile interpersonal relations of today, difficulties in forming a unified and stable concept of oneself and view on reality, as well as an overwhelming sense of fear and doubt concerning the essence of one’s personal operation in the world and the problem of autonomy. Paradoxically, despite our instinctive attempts to avoid it, the sensation of increasingly intense discomfort may be the only catalyst and impetus for change, for an evolution of thinking about reality, for unlocking the need to think creatively about the future.
This year’s festival will feature other interesting exhibitions, including a group exhibition of international artists, Violeta Bubelyte, Błażej Pindor, Diana Tamane, and Artur Żmijewski. Titled Flower Smugglers, it is curated by Adam Mazur. Another one will be an exhibition following-up on a workshop for students of the Film School in Łódź / PWSFTviT led by Prof. Janusz Tylman and Hubert Humka as well as a collective show of the most interesting photography projects of students of the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk.
Written by Maja Kaszkur, curator of the FFWRS
B. 1984 in Włocławek. A visual artist. She works mainly in the medium of photography, but also makes objects and installations. Her projects deal with topics related to memory, its patterns and related scientific and pseudo-scientific theories. She is moreover interested in cultural phenomena that impact contemporary reality and which provide opportunities to manipulate it. She often works with archival materials, including photographs she comes across online, but also uses photo banks as well as police and press archives. She graduated from the Faculty of Graphics at the Academy of Fine Arts and the Academy of Photography in Warsaw.
Laureate of e.g. Paszport Polityki for 2019 in the Visual Arts category, EMOP Arendt Award (2019), Foam Talent (2017), Spotlight Award (2017, Belfast Photo Festival), and LensCulture Emerging Talent Awards (2016). Finalist of the Prix HSBC pour la Photographie (2017) and the Prix Levallois (2016). Scholarship holder of Poland’s Minister of Culture and National Heritage. Her work can be found e.g. in the collections of: Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation (Germany), Dom Museum (Vienna) and MuFo Museum of Photography (Krakow).
Day by day we live in a relative sense of security and peace, making plans for the future, scheduling our holidays and trips. Little do we heed potential threats and underestimate their symptoms when they manifest themselves in reality. We construct physical and mental enclaves that give us refuge and a sense of peace, which is a kind of escape from our worries; alas, this is all illusory. For many decades Sopot has been such a place, visited by many also before and during World War II. Photographs from this period invariably show visitors relaxing on the beach, walking along the pier and spending time with friends. These moments, frozen in a sense of stability and carefree bliss, seem inadequate in hindsight and do not reflect the atmosphere of that time. Were they conscious of the changes to come?
Every now and then a “black swan” appears in reality, an event that hardly anyone can foresee, but one with an enormous impact on social and economic changes as well as on the individual destiny of each and every person. It is often only after some time that this phenomenon can be explained and its root cause pinpointed. Was it really so unpredictable, or do we simply ignore such symptoms out of fear of the unknown?
Weronika Gęsicka’s collages attempt to capture in a symbolic way the tensions and fears that we constantly have to face. Cracks begin to appear in the idyllic images that make up a large part of our privileged world. The photographs simultaneously have elements of beginning and end in their form, a strong sense of transience and the fleetingness of experiences.
Drift is the free movement of a floating object caused by the action of wind or current. It also means veering off from an assumed course, surrendering to the course of events; it is inertia.
Some of the photographs used in the Drift project come from the collection of the Museum of Sopot and were part of the exhibition “Silence Before the Storm. Summer 1939 in Sopot”, on display at the Museum in 2019.
B. 1973. Studied Cultural Sciences at Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań. Construction technician. In his work he combines the media of photography, collage and painting. He often transgresses the genre of a document, combining and borrowing commonly known images, offering them a new dimension and meaning. Author of five photographic exhibitions and two collages. Occasionally a curator and editor of art books. He runs his own portrait studio Studio810 and his own art studio in Warsaw’s Saska Kępa district.
The feeling that no matter what you do is always somehow wrong – that any attempt to make your way comfortably through the world will only end up crossing some invisible taboo – as if there’s some obvious way forward that everybody else can see but you, each of them leaning back in their chair and calling out helpfully, “colder, colder, colder…”
The title of the project comes from “The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows”, a compendium of invented words by John Koenig, which is a collection of neologisms describing emotions that have not yet been defined. It aims to fill the holes in the language – to give names to emotions that we all feel but for which we have no words. The author’s mission is to capture the aches, demons, vibes, joys and urges that roam the wilderness of the psychological interior.
B. 1979, lives and works in Stockholm. Studied photography at the Nordic School of Photography and visual communication at the University of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm. He has participated in many international collective shows, e.g. at festivals such as PHOS Art in Matane, Recontres Photographiques in Montpellier, Norderlicht in Groningen. His projects have been presented as solo exhibitions. e.g. in the VU Gallery in Quebec, the Finnish Museum of Photography in Helsinki and the Kehrer Gallery in Berlin. An author of two photography books that have been awarded by the Jury of the Rencontres photographiques de Montpellier, for the series Tonight and TT:s Stora Fotopris, considered Sweden’s most important photography award, for the project Fading. The book Fading was published by Kehrer Verlag and premiered at Paris Photo.
In everyday life, people experience the world and the process of existence as areas full of opposites and overwhelming doubts. The coexistence of usually opposing sensations and observations, in its essence, often has the character of complementary qualities. In the philosophy of the mind, this dualism constitutes one of the positions on the psychophysical dilemma concerning the mutual relations of body and mind. These two elements, however, despite their apparent antagonism, depend on each other and have a great mutual impact.
Similar properties can be attributed to the relationship between man as an individual and the surrounding reality as ambiguous components that continuously impact each other. We see the world not as it is, but as we are ourselves, through its reflection in ourselves.
The subject of Elis Hoffman’s project is precisely the essence of this dialogue, the platform of encounter, interaction and its consequences. The artist treats this platform symbolically, as a situation, state of mind, tangible emotions, expectations, and fears. Its character depends on our interpretation: peace or danger, solitude or introversion, anxiety or curiosity.
MARTINA HOOGLAND IVANOW
FAR TOO CLOSE
Far Too Close is a visual meditation on distance, both physical and emotional, of closeness to a subject and remoteness from a place. The edit interweaves family portraits and interiors of home with landscapes of some of the most remote and far flung locations at the very ends of the Earth. Over seven years she travelled to various places in Siberia, Sakhalin Island, Tierra del Fuego and the Kola Peninsula in Russian Lapland. Each of these places has its own dark history and has been the focus of dispute and discontent. Combined with photographs of her own community, a literary tale emerges which shifts from disturbing to familiar and is about the very nature of photography, its capacity to relate history and emotion from afar and nearby.
The film Interbeing is based on documentation of social structures and their different approaches of trust and fear. The material is presented through a thermal camera whose optics do not register what is visible to the eye but render shades of temperature, a perspective granting all living beings the same conditions of representation. The camera also makes a heat shadow visible upon and after physical touch. The heat remains, like traces of utmost commonality in attempts at making direct contact, as well as in public, everyday chance encounters.
born in 1979 in Bydgoszcz, invariably passionate about photography, a collector of photographs. He only started artistic projects of his own in 2017, when he launched a project set in Poland called “insignificant.” The following year he released The Desert Fever, a zine which is a record of a journey through Israel. His fascination with new documentary photography is evident in his choice of insignificant, everyday objects. He finds beauty in melancholy and transience. He feels best among nature, which is now the object of his photographic pursuits. He is fascinated by areas marked by a difficult history and those which today show cultural change. These are e.g. countries such as Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, where he took a series of photographs published in 2020 as a book titled Suicidal Birds. An alumnus of the Warsaw Academy of Photography. In 2020 he started studies at the Faculty of Photography at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague.
Imagine there is no reason to leave your house. Imagine you feel no reason to stay home. Yet you are stuck with your own thoughts which keep pestering you, with a constant sense of restlessness whose root cause you can’t name. The world around you seems to be shrinking, shapeshifting, as if symbolic of your state of mind. The ceiling is descending lower and lower; you leave the room hitting the doorframe with your shoulder. You look out the window; there is no one there, no one is waiting for you, and no one can hear you. The world outside becomes ephemeral and beyond reach. You can’t find a place for yourself in your own space; every moment in time is uncomfortable and every attempt to contact another person inevitably leads to a misunderstanding. No longer a sensation, time becomes a substance; hours pile up and fill up drawers and shelves. The ceiling is coming down ever lower. You watch the news from a world you don’t feel connected to, your relationship with it unclear. You look at this world through the lens of other people’s observations, which makes it seem even more illusory than before. Sitting on the floor, you are wondering if this is the only version of yourself.
(1985). Member of Napo Images. Graduate of Photography at the Cinematography Department of the Film School in Łódź. She concentrates on long-term projects. Most of them deal with the phenomenon of loss and its consequences, which we can find in the series Self-Portrait with Mother, Lost, Reborn, and Little Poland. Drawing on her own experiences, the author broadens her perspective to include other people struggling with the problem of loss: of their loved ones, a place or identity. In her art, she pays great attention to building a personal bond with her characters.
Laureate of numerous prestigious awards, e.g. World Press Photo 2021 and Magnum & Ideas Tap Award, which earned her an internship in the editorial staff of Magnum Photos Agency in New York City.
JUST LIKE US
Who are these people?
To get to know them you have to come closer. Stand face to face. Listen to them. Look them in the eye. And then you will see… yourself.
Is it merely a reflection of the face you know so well or is it something more? Perhaps it is someone else? Perhaps the story you are reading sounds familiar. Perhaps it is also your story?
I wanted you, the viewer of this exhibition, to try to stand together with those who are experiencing crises and mental disorders; to see your own reflections in these stories.
Mental crises affect most of us but, as these stories indicate, a crisis does not always mean the end. On the contrary, it is usually a beginning. Each photographed person describes their struggle with mental illness in their own words. The protagonists of the exhibition decided to share the stories of their crises in order to help others recognise them well in time.
Statistics say that every fourth Pole has mental issues. This means that a mental crisis can happen to any of us, at any time of our lives. Talking publicly about how common it is crucial to the healing process. The earlier you seek help, the sooner you recognise the symptoms, the better your chances of making a full recovery and avoiding a tragedy.
Flower Smugglers is an exhibition about a pursuit of beauty and new ways of seeing subjects as old as art itself, i.e. the nude and still-life. The exhibition is inspired by an award-winning series of photographs and a book by Diana Tamane (Latvia) about the artist’s mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. The eponymous smuggler is Tamane’s grandmother caught while illegally crossing the border. The woman wanted to lay flowers on the family grave, which, as a result of the collapse of the USSR and geopolitical changes, was left on the other side of the border with Russia. Tamane photographs flowers and family relationships using the conventions of amateur and vernacular photography. She tells a story of the relationships between women and generations of a family in an unconventional and contemporary way. Błażej Pindor is the second artist at the exhibition who takes up the theme of still-life, as old as photography itself. Known for his passion for photographs of modernist architecture, in his Shells [Skorupy] series the artist takes up the subject of modernist Polish ceramics collected and sold by his wife, transforming it into an image, a kind of tableau, applying the aesthetics of glyphs and the post-internet. Rejecting photographic orthodoxy, Pindor boldly uses colour and manipulates the image to create beautiful, artistic and in his own way decorative images. Violeta Bubelyte’s black-and-white nudes are also beautiful yet carnal. The star of Lithuanian photography has been consistently photographing herself since the early 1980s, staging simple and moving images. Bubelyte is a classic of contemporary art, compared to the likes of Francesca Woodman or Cindy Sherman. The exhibition in Sopot shows the latest photographs from Bubelyte’s autobiographical series. The artist softens the image, manipulates and multiplies her own figure, and introduces an element of literary metaphor by giving individual photographs meaningful titles. The presentation of present-day coming to terms with the tradition of modernist photography, with the nude and still-life, culminates with the latest series by Artur Żmijewski, an artist ranked among the classics of Polish critical art. The black-and-white photographs refer directly to the experiments of 19th-century classics Muybridge and Marey, presenting the non-normative body in an unusual way. Multiple exposures render the portrait of a young woman almost abstract. Captured in a single image, the successive phases of the body’s movement energise the photographs. The modernist photographic procedure used to represent the body paradoxically brings the image closer to the ideal of classical beauty, constituting a kind of academic study. The Flower Smugglers of the title are a group of artists who use photography as a tool useful in their search for beauty. Photography continues to be effective in establishing and visualising relationships with reality, with objects and with people.
Artur Żmijewski – a classical critical art and body art artist, regularly criticised, censored, attacked, defamed, yet indefatigable on his path and to some extent accursed. A sculptor by education, a video artist by trade, a passionate painter, a photographer when commissioned by a curator.
Błażej Pindor (b. 1973) photographer, graduate of the Academy of Stage Arts at the Faculty of Film and Television (FAMU); studied architecture at the Warsaw University of Technology. Author of series of photographs such as e.g. Revisiting Romuald Gutt (2013-2014), New City Sculpture (2013-2015), Smyk (2014-2016), Decapitalisation (2017). Scholarship holder of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage in 2013. Author of the photo album section in Waldemar Baraniewski’s book Pałac w Warszawie [A Warsaw Palace], Warszawa 2014 and of the book Warszawa Gutta [Gutt’s Warsaw], Warszawa, 2018.
Violeta Bubelytė was born on October 27, 1956, in the village of Audronys in Rokiškis region. She graduated from Vilnius No23 Secondary School (now Vilnius Simonas Daukantas gymnasium) in 1975. She has worked as a laboratory assistant at the Botanical Institute, an accountant at the supplies base of the Resorts Board, an operator at the Computation Centre, and from 1980 to 1991 at the Lithuanian Photographers Association. From 1992, she worked as press photographer at the weekly newspaper “Amžius”, at the publishing house Dienos Leidykla, at the magazine “Moteris” and, until 2016, at the newspaper “Verslo žinios”. She has been a member of the Association of Lithuanian Art Photographers (now the Lithuanian Photographers Association) since 1980 and has held the status of Artist since 2005. In 1999, the International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP) conferred on her the title of Photo Artist (AFIAP). She has been participating in exhibitions since 1980. Photographs in collections: Lithuanian Photographers Association, Lithuanian Art Museum, MO museum, National Library of France
Diana Tamane (Latvia/Estonia, 1986) was born in Riga, and lives and works between Tartu and Riga. Her primary medium of expression is photography, but she also uses video, sound, text and found objects in her work. Graduated from the Tartu Art College, the LUCA School of Arts in Brussels and HISK in Ghent. Her works have been exhibited at the first Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art, kim? Contemporary Art Centre, contemporary art festival Survival Kit, S.M.A.K Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art (Belgium), Winterthur Museum (Switzerland), Kathmandu Triennale (Nepal), Surplus Space (China) and elsewhere. In 2020, APE published her first book “Flower Smuggler”, which has been nominated for Paris-Photo Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards and has received Les Rencontres d’Arles Book Award 2020.
WORKSHOP FOLLOW-UP EXHIBITION OF THE ŁÓDŹ FILM SCHOOL
Artistic supervision: Hubert Humka, Janusz Tylman
- Estella Dandyk
- Kacper Godlewski
- Karolina Golis
- Maria Łukaszewska
- Filip Preis
- Aleksandra Szajnecka
- Karolina Wojtas
When you have to say good bye
When the autumn’s drawing nigh
What to leave a parting friend
To forestall the summer’s end
Amber amber from the beach
Sunlit drop of golden dream
Amber amber a small tile
Look at it to see my smile
Baltic amber, often found in the Gulf of Gdańsk, is one of many highly valued decorative stones. Since time immemorial, it has been used in trade, decorative arts and jewellery. Because so-called Baltic gold is a natural organic substance, it comes in different shapes, sizes and hues.
During a workshop in Sopot, students of Leon Schiller National Higher School of Film, Television and Theatre in Łódź created multidimensional projects touching upon topics such as contemporary spiritualism, a portrait of the local queer community, “big brother” surveillance, as well as real and digital nature. They have also asked questions such as “What will he do when there are no waves?” or “What will happen when the sea is gone?”. Each of these stories, like Baltic amber, was moulded in the coastal setting and sparkles with its uniqueness. Take them with you, my dear friend.
Text Filip Preis
120 portraits for 120 years of Sopot
I spend almost half of my life in Sopot, I lived in many other cities and few other countries and that is the only place that I fell like I’m trully home. The views, the sea, the beach, all the special places known only to people from Sopot. And of course THE PEOPLE. Some famous to all, some famous to local community, some live here, some just work here. All unique in their special way. These portraits are my tribute to them.
My love for Polaroid camera came from old movies from the 80’s and 90’s. It was pure magic back then. You take a picture and few minutes later it is in your hand. The colors, the imperfections, the unique style. Many years later I bought my first Polaroid camera and I was in love with it almost immediately. Since then, I have around fifty polaroids and houndreds of picuters. I decided to take all the portraits for this project on Polaroid. My unique camera for all the unique people.