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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » November 3, 2015
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The Home as a Window to the Soul
November 3, 2015   
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An exhibition called Zofia Rydet: Record 1978-1990 at Warsaw’s Museum of Modern Art focuses on people’s homes as a reflection of the society, civilization and culture in which they live.

This is the most extensive exhibition to date derived from Rydet’s Sociological Record, a monumental photography project comprising more than 20,000 pictures. For almost 20 years Rydet took photos of Polish home interiors, traveling across the country and taking her camera into rural cottages and city apartments.

The Sociological Record series contains details of residential spaces, photos of the outsides of homes, portraits of country women on their cottage doorsteps, and pictures of tradesmen in their workshops. But its most unusual and touching part is a collection of images portraying people against the background of their rooms.

The residents of the homes the artist visited had their pictures taken with a wide-angle lens, usually with a strong flash that brought out the details of the interiors. The artist always made her subjects sit in the same way: they pose against the backdrop of a wall, looking straight into the lens.

Rydet was interested in people’s natural and most authentic environment, meaning their own homes furnished and decorated in their own way, where they surrounded themselves with objects that were important to them, reflecting the social or financial status of the subjects.

The photographer was convinced that objects and pictures amassed in private spaces defined people and “revealed their psyche.” She was interested in how individual esthetic preferences, political and religious views are manifested in the way private space is arranged.

“Homes are a reflection of the society, civilization and culture in which they came into being; there are no two people alike, nor two homes alike,” Rydet wrote in notes accompanying her photographs.

Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw
51 Emilii Plater St.
Until Jan. 10, Tue-Sun, noon to 8 p.m., free admission
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