This major retrospective of photographs by one of Poland's most illustrious photographers spans 300 varied portraits, reportages, nudes, theatre and film documentation and landscapes. The majority of the photographs were taken over the three decades following October 1956, although some works were born in the 90s.
The exhibit is presented across themes, rather than a specific chronological order, or, as the photographer himself writes in the Sketches from Culture collection, "the criteria were dictated by beauty and the importance of the portrayed individuals and events" - this is how the artist himself described the album. This view became inspiration for the current collection prepared by the National Museum in Kraków.
The majority of the photographs were taken over the three decades following October 1956, although some works were born in the 90s. It was the mid '50s when Wojciech Plewiński, a student of Architecture, decided to become a professional photographer. He moved from his native Warsaw to Kraków in 1948 where he completed his studies.
During the fall of 1956 thanks to Barbara Hoff from the Przekroj weekly, who later became a famous fashion designer, Plewiński ended up getting involved with the magazine for over four decades. He managed to shoot nearly five hundred of the famous "kitten" shots of beautiful girls for the front cover. A few years later he took up theatre photography. He ended up developing a long-lasting relationship with the Stary Teatr in Kraków but offers came knocking on his doors from all sides. Throughout the years Plewiński shot nearly seven hundred plays. He also photographed musicians, authors, painters and reportages.
Sketches from Culture opens up with a reportage from an event which took place in 1959 in the Kalatowka shelter. It was a Jazz Camping, a meeting of the creme de la creme of polish jazz musicians and fans. Skiing, jam sessions and crazy parties, including Pajama Party based on Roman Polanski's idea where Polański and Andrzej Wojciechowski dance on a table - in their pajamas of course. Piwnica pod Baranami photographs also displayed a similar atmosphere. In addition, there's a recording of a happening by Tadeusz Kantor "The dividing line", which made history in December of 1965.
The core of the album however, consists of portraits and theater photography. Here we find famous shots of Zofia and Krzysztof Komenda in bed at Zakopane's guest house or the young Sławomir Mrożek with his head wrapped in curtains. It's a gallery of last names without which postwar Polish culture could not exist. And of course there's the theatre shots which should receive a separate write up all together. Documented are the greatest performances of Konrad Swinarski, Jerzy Jarocki, Andrzej Wajda, Jerzy Grzegorzewski. Krystian Lupa's opening staging. We see Zakopane's theatre, to which Plewiński was closely attached from the very beginning and the perverse couple Krzysztof Globisz and Anna Dymna in Gyubal Wahazar.
Some visitors to this exhibition will experience it with drop of nostalgia whereas for others it will unveil a world of beauty woven into a fabric of melancholy.
The exhibition opens on the 21st of June 2011 at 18:00 and runs through the 28th of August 2011.
National Museum In Kraków
al. 3 Maja 1, 30-062 Kraków
Director: Zofia Gołubiew
tel. (+48 12) 295 56 00, 295 55 00
fax (+48 12) 295 55 55
Source: press release