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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » January 27, 2011
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Impressions of a Roving Reporter
January 27, 2011   
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Ryszard Kapu¶ciński (1932–2007) was a highly regarded writer, journalist and commentator whose books Travels with Herodotus (2007), The Soccer War (1978) and Imperium (1993) won him worldwide acclaim. An exhibition now showing at the Zachęta Gallery in Warsaw, however, serves to remind us that his other great passion in life was photography.

From Imperium is a collection of 50 black and white photographs taken between 1989 and 1991 when Kapu¶ciński was traveling around the republics of a Soviet Union that was falling apart around him. The exhibition takes its title from Imperium (1993), Kapu¶ciński’s widely translated bestseller that details the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the last “imperium,” or empire, of the 20th century.

“These photographs should not be viewed as an illustration of Imperium but rather as loose impressions of a roving reporter,” says exhibition curator Anna Tomczak.

The photographs on display at the Zachęta Gallery can be divided into two groups. The first contains photos—mainly of Moscow—that depict a Soviet Union rocked by demonstrations and protests. The second comprises portraits of people happened upon by chance and caught in the context of the moment by the camera. We will have to add our own captions as Kapu¶ciński never adnotated his photographs.

The pictures themselves were found in Kapu¶ciński’s personal collection two years ago and many are on public display for the first time.

Open Tue.-Sun. noon to 8 p.m. until Feb. 20
Zachęta National Gallery of Art, 3 Małachowskiego Sq., Warsaw
tel. 022 827-58-54
For more information, go to www.zacheta.art.pl
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