|| photo book review
The displays are arranged on the ground, on newspapers,
cartons, strips of foil, and sheets of various colours. The objects are
densely packed into the displays, lying one on top of the other, as if
following the trends of horror vacui seen in folk art.
The items are for the most part old, obsolete, sometimes defunct, tacky,
and of little worth, if any. Just some used and worn-out trash, desolate
objects which look as if they've been pulled out of a dumpster and displayed
only in pieces. In a word: that, which is left of a previous life; that,
which used to live, now leads a life after life, sometimes an imagined
existence. The lens of the photographer dives into this trivial space
dimension with a definite fascination, and records with sensitivity these
fragile remainders of daily life, searching for traces of their (non)existence.
There are so many different worlds, with every one having its unique and
individual atmosphere: there is no point trying to resist the forces emanating
from this junk store. Knives, blades, spoons, forks, tweezers, candlesticks
and holders; a kettle, fruit bowl, decorative plate, a cleaver, machete,
metal cross, stoup; a coffee grinder, an eyepiece, alarm clock; a wall-hanger,
a padlock with a key stuck inside, weights, clothes brushes ... rubber
dolls, medals, meat grinders, a seed extractor, clock faces and various
glass panels, watch glasses; springs, mechanisms ... holy figures made
of porcelain, mobile phone chargers; a children's' bike, a pipe, wooden
angels, computer parts ...
And this is only a fragment of the archipelago of curious objects. When
we start labelling them, we quickly notice that their names bear witness
to a lesson of forgotten language (siphon, vinyl, stoup, mechanism...).
This stocktaking which the photographer has recorded allows us to see
the object at our leisure, without haste.
What reigns here is a world which has passed on: either not so long ago
(communism) or a few decades earlier (the war, the inter war years) It
does not really matter where we place the border, beyond which we speak
of "the past", "antiquity", or use terms such as "out
of date". What is important is that these items belong to a warm
and tangible "today". After all it's not a CD: all these rubber
dolls, corkscrews from the times of the People's Republic of Poland, relief
carvings of "our" pope or Marshal Pilsudski, glass and crystal
ware of varied authorship, all these things are emblematic of this world
and the essence of its reality.
– Adapted from Taking Stock by Darius Czaja, published
in Andrzej Kramarz: Rzeczy (Things) by Seweryn
Udziela Ethnographic Museum, Kraków, 2008
by Andrzej Kramarz
Hardcover: 86 pages
25 x 20 cm
Publisher: Seweryn Udziela Ethnographic Museum in Kraków
— We love this photobook. An intriguing "thing" in itself, it includes a selection of insightful essays about Andrzej Kramarz's project both in Polish and English. The photographs are beautifully reproduced on matte paper, and each one is a visual feast. Even the endpapers are clever, printed with a scientific inventory of the objects shown in the pictures. This book is truly something to treasure.
— We're thrilled to offer a selection of prints from the book through Lens Culture Editions. Click here to view and buy!