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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » March 27, 2013
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Time of Transformation
March 27, 2013   
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The Tomorrow Will Be Better exhibition at the LeGuern Gallery offers a snapshot of Poland shortly after the collapse of communism, an era of rapid social change and freewheeling, fledgling capitalism.

Tadeusz Rolke, a veteran Polish photographer who has been documenting his country’s history for over six decades, has selected 57 pictures he took in the early 1990s for the exhibition. They highlight contrasts between the beautiful and the ugly, the rich and the poor. Rolke shows rundown town houses and street vendors displaying their wares on camp beds set up by the roadside and perched on car hoods. He shows the Palace of Culture, once an icon of progress and communist might, towering over a stall offering toilet paper and tissues—simple commodities that the socialist command economy had been largely incapable of producing.

Often spontaneously captured on film, Rolke’s scenes look like they were photographed yesterday. In actual fact, they belong to an era that has largely vanished.

The exhibition includes photographs commissioned by German illustrated magazines, which took a keen interest in Poland at the time. A photographic series entitled The Women of the Transformation focuses on women politicians, activists, entrepreneurs and celebrities from that era.

Rolke took some of his earliest photographs shortly after World War II, documenting a ruined Warsaw and a capital that was arising anew from the ashes amid a huge reconstruction effort.

During his long career, Rolke has produced photographic reportage and fashion photography and has published his work in a number of magazines, including Stolica, Ty i Ja and Przekrój in Poland and Stern, Art and Der Spiegel in Germany.

Until April 27; LeGuern Gallery
Open Tue.-Fri. noon-6 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
8 Widok St., tel. 22 690-69-69; www.leguern.pl
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