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not really matter where we place the border, beyond which we speak of "the past", "antiquity", or use terms such as "out of date".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



Rzeczy (Things)
by Andrzej Kramarz
Hardcover: 86 pages
25 x 20 cm
Publisher: Seweryn Udziela Ethnographic Museum in Kraków
ISBN: 978-83-61369-02-8


— 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!