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PHOTOMONTH IN KRAKOW — 2010 Photomonth_kropki_duze

WOJCIECH WEISS Photomonth_kropki_duze

Weiss. Photographer. Impressionist


In the history of Polish photography there are no real examples of artistic exploration before the experiments made by Wojciech Weiss circa 1900.
This exhibition presents the artist’s photographs for the first time, and poses a very basic question: What turned the attention of Weiss, then a very young and splendidly promising painter, to the new dimension of photography, which before then had only served to immortalise portraitures in ateliers or to document landscapes? Why the likeness between the photographs taken by Weiss and those of the pictorial impressionists and post-impressionists?
Wojciech Weiss’s photography doubtless has an artistic dimension, and was another means for the painter to imprint a record of a powerful impression – the impression made on him by a motif. The subject, meanwhile, is not a studied reality, arranged however artificially, but one captured with the quick snap of the shutter.
The artist photographs motifs that later appear in his painting, of which the most interesting examples are the photographic studies for pictures that are apotheoses of nature, such as: Poppies and Sandbank taken in StrzyĹźów, and Heatwave, depicting the railway tracks in Płaszów. Also among the photographs are outstanding studies of women, mostly taken against the light and bathed in a luminous aura, and open-air photographs of a flock of geese making its way across a meadow, fragments of a village courtyard, oxen driven from pasture, and uniquely authentic photographs of a Romani caravan. Photographs of a family inside their house form a separate group, focusing on the table illuminated by the bright light falling in through the window. The artist’s camera also appears in the painter’s studio, immortalising its intimate atmosphere.
In this period, Wojciech Weiss used a camera with dry glass bromide-gelatine plates measuring 9 x 12 cm. He hand-developed his photographs on daytime albumin paper, which rendered a warm sepia effect.
The surviving one-of-a-kind collection of these plates and prints allows us to get a full presentation of Wojciech Weiss’s pictorial photography from the period of his finest work in painting, which is part of the canon of the Young Poland epoch (the turn of the 19th/20th centuries).



The Unknown Photography of Wojciech Weiss

Grand opening: 12.05.2010, 6:00 p.m.

Jagiellonian University Museum, ul. Jagiellońska 15
Exhibition dates: 12.05–30.06, DAILY: 9:00a.m.–8:00p.m.