culture in Poznań



In the footsteps of masters

With exhibitions and book presentations in Poznań and over fifty galleries, libraries and cultural centres in other parts of the Wielkopolska region, the fifth edition of the Ireneusz Zjeżdżałka Wielkopolska Photography Festival, which this year follows in the footsteps of Wielkopolska's photography masters, promises to be a delight.

Black and white photo of a ground with fallen leaves and tree roots - grafika artykułu
photo: Dawid Tatarkiewicz

One of the first assignments given to students of probably every photography schools is to find "inspiration". They are asked to creatively reinterpret an existing masterpiece. Alluding to this very basic artistic challenge is this year's edition of the Ireneusz Zjeżdżałka Wielkopolska Photography Festival. Cast as masters are the photographers Ireneusz Linde, Antoni Jeśmontowicz, Antoni Bajerlein, Leonard Durczykiewicz, Tadeusz Wański, Zdzisław Szklarkowski, Franciszek Italik and Reginald Rębisz, all based in the Wielkopolska Region. Curator Bogusław Biegowski assumes the role of a guide on a tour that goes where their lenses have been. 

At the heart of the festival is the exhibition In the Footsteps of Masters at the Jesuit Gallery (from 15.10). Wielkopolska photographers, including Dawid Tatarkiewicz, Ewa and Marek Dytfeld and Maciej Kuszela, have all drawn on the creations of masters. The contemporary works make for a fascinating dialogue with history. Worth of particular notice are the pictorial images of Maciej Kuszela, a Poznań-based artist who has built on the photos of the pictorial photography doyen Tadeusz Wański.

Equally promising are two exhibitions dedicated to individual artists. One of them, Bogdan Konopka, was one of Poland's most prominent photographers and a key promoter of artistic photography. He worked closely with the magazines Format and the Kwartalnik Fotografia. His works can be found in museums in France and Poland. Arranged by the Wiadomości Wrzesińskie newspaper (September, 18.10), the exhibition will comprise Konopka's photographs from the private collection of Jolanta and Waldemar Śliwczyński.

The other of the two exhibitions features Jan Kurek, an employee of the Poznań TV station. A display of his work is not to be missed. Unlike in his television profession, he had no specific goal on his mind as he roamed the streets of the Łazarz district of Poznań, camera at the ready. In his own account, he described himself as shooting "with no particular plan or idea". Collectively, his photos reflect the true essence of Łazarz and its residents: the way they live their daily lives and the way they relax. Jan Kurek's work is neither intrusive or overthought - its charm lies in its simplicity and ordinariness. The exhibition Wizards will be on view from 17.10 in the Lobby of the Castle Cultural Centre.

Make sure to visit the Fotoplastykon (Kaiserpanorama) at ul. Ratajczaka, where the Poznań in Stereo display is to open on October 16. The photos portray the uniqueness and quality of life in the city centre. Equally noteworthy is the Fine Arts exhibition of photographs by Roman Stefan Ulatowski scheduled to open a day later at Atelier WIMAR on ul. Św. Marcin 75.

The presentation of books promises to be equally interesting. In addition to theoretical works by Adam Mazur and Marianna Michałowska, festival participants will get a chance to familiarise themselves with the book Nieswojość (Alloverishness) from the publishing house Warstwy. An outcome of a photographic/literary project, the book forms a collection of 70 photographs and 10 essays reflecting on the consequences of the replacement of the population of the Lower Silesia region post 1945. The authors of the essays include Olga Tokarczuk and Ziemowit Szczerek.

Whereas some of the events this year are going to be virtual, it is certainly worth one's while to see the exhibitions that can be viewed in person. Be there out of respect for the work of the photography masters.

Adam Jastrzębowski

translation: Krzysztof Kotkowski

5th Ireneusz Zjeżdżałka Photography Festival

15-31 October

Poznań and selected cities of Wielkopolska

free admission

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© Wydawnictwo Miejskie Posnania 2020