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The word may lie, but not the eye

Modernity in Polish photography 1918-1939

The word may lie, but not the eye

The word may lie, but not the eye. Modernity in Polish photography 1918-1939.

How to find a right expression to define the reality which changes so fast? How to describe accurately the processes which have gained exceeding speed? How to create a new visual language which will be appropriate for experience of the modern world? The photographic answers for these and other questions, which were asked by the artists and the photographers during the interwar period in Poland, we can find at the exhibition “The word may lie, but not the eye. Modernity in Polish photography 1918-1939.” The display presents a special period in history of photography when such subjects like urbanization, fascination of technical progress, fear of effects of civilization or a concept of a new man, formal experiments verging reality and abstraction were raised. At this time the artists started to use the effects which they could make thanks to photography and they did not so often , as it used to be earlier, create photos according to the rules typical for painting and graphic. A camera was treated like a prosthesis which by the use of its mechanical features could record, in a pertinent way, a contemporary world which was full of stimuli. The innovative solutions such as a worm’s-eye or bird’s-eye view, unobvious cropping, huge close-ups, reexposure, cameraless photography or photo collages – all of them aimed to change usual patterns of perception among viewers and to create a new visual language. The works of the avant-garde photographers such as: Janusz Maria Brzeski, Kazimierz Podsadecki, Stefan Themerson or Karol Hiller and the others who created in the main centres of contemporary Poland – in Warsaw, Poznań, Vilnius and Lviv are going to be displayed here. Initially the exhibition was shown by The Polish Institute in Düsseldorf and Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź. Next one took place in The Polish Institute in Budapest. The third edition of it is going to be presented at Białystok Interphoto Festival. Especially the part devoted to the photography on the edge between reality and abstraction and cameraless one will be the characteristic feature of it.

The curators of the previous editions:

Paulina Kurc-Maj, Maria Franecka

The curator of the third edition:

Maria Franecka