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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » July 30, 2012
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Focus on the Physical
July 30, 2012   
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The human body has been a subject of interest to photography since the art form emerged. The Ujazdowski Castle Center for Contemporary Art is taking a closer look at this recurring theme by delving into its own collection of photographs gathered over many years. The new Photography exhibition combines several dozen works which, shown many times before in different contexts and combinations, are now brought together by the dominant theme of corporeality and everything that relates to it.

Back in the 1970s, even avant-garde photographers explored traditional, classic forms, as exemplified by nudes photographed by Andrzej Jórczak, a somewhat forgotten artist who is now being rediscovered and appreciated. In the early 1990s, Dłubak made a splash at the Center for Contemporary Art with an installation called OnOna. The new exhibition features Dłubak’s original photographs used in the 1990s installation.

The human body and physiology in a social context kept surfacing in work by new generations of photographers. The younger artists used different methods and new technology to explore the subject. Examples include the Cibachromes series by Piotr Trzebiński and colorful photomontage works and lightboxes by Joanna Zastróżna in which the two photographers sought new ways of approaching the subject of the human body.

Yet another approach is found in work by photographers from the ŁódĽ Kaliska group of avant-garde artists who since the 1980s have explored the issue of staged pictures. Their bold pro- and anti-feminist works show how unconventionally the subject can be tackled. The finest examples include photographs of people posing to reinterpret monumental 19th-century painting masterpieces such as The Battle of Grunwald by great Polish painter Jan Matejko and The Triumph of Freedom by Mihaly Zichy, a Hungarian painter famous for his uncompromising approach to depicting physical love.

Through the exhibition, the Center for Contemporary Art also charts diversity of photographic techniques and forms, including classic bromide photo techniques, photographs developed from digital copies over a decade ago, extremely rare cibachromes and color prints which, though produced almost 40 years ago, still look as good as new.

until Sept. 2
Ujazdowski Castle Center for Contemporary Art, basement
2 Jazdów St., tel. +48 22 628-12-71 to 73
Tue.-Sun. noon-7 p.m., Fri. noon-9 p.m., free admission on Thursdays
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