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PHOTOMONTH IN KRAKOW — 2010 Photomonth_kropki_duze

TADEUSZ CHRZANOWSKI. LONDON, 1958 Photomonth_kropki_duze

Tadeusz Chrzanowski left for London in 1958 – it was his first trip abroad. In his warm recollections of his friend, Andrzej Ciechanowiecki, he evokes a warm lunch and conversations at the ‘Lukullus’ – a Polish restaurant on Oxford Street that belonged to an old Lvovian, Mr Kozioł.

In his photographs we can just make out other tropes of his London peregrinations. Chrzanowski the photographer was not particularly interested in monuments. He was fascinated by the street, the surreal images reflected in the window of a luxurious shop, close-ups on the hoods of the invariably photogenic London cabs, and above all, people. A colourful crowd patiently waiting for something. The Queen’s procession, perhaps? Could this be happening on splendid Pall Mall avenue? Right afterwards, a series of light-hearted photographs by the Queen Victoria monument, with Buckingham Palace in the background. This prestigious locale is hard to recognise in Chrzanowski’s pictures: the people there are more important. The presence of the monumental figures is only explained in their contrasting relation to living people. The cold, hard stone pedestal stands in opposition to the softness and warmth of the figures leaning against it. Chrzanowski is interested in precisely this human, ‘warm’ substance of the image, reinforced by a spot-on composition, a frame with a sense of humour. This same principle in constructing an image is visible in another significant photograph, presenting a black youth in a black suit, contemplatively staring at the white figure on the pedestal. This scene, which might prompt viewers to ponder colonial culture, was captured by the photographer in Kensington Gardens at the monument of Prince Albert. One searches in vain, however, for the gigantic, neo-Gothic structure towering over the sculpted pedestal. More important to the artist is the silent confrontation between the lone man and the piece of European culture carved in stone.

Anna Baranowa





Tadeusz Chrzanowski. London, 1958

Grand opening: 8.05.2010, 6:00 p.m.

Dyląg Gallery, ul. Św. Tomasza 22
Exhibition dates: 6–29.05.2010, MON-FRI: 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., SAT: 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.