Athens: Wiktoria Wojciechowska, Ela Polkowska, Weronika Perłowska, Ilona Szwarc, Karolina Wojtas, Marta Zgierska, Katarzyna & Marianne Wasowska
September 16 - November 15
ATHENS PHOTO FESTIVAL 2020
International Festival of Photography and Visual Culture
The festival functions as a laboratory of ideas, practices, and initiatives operating within international frameworks, beyond the closed photographic community.
Weronika Perłowska “Anger Detracts from her Beauty”
Wiktoria Wojciechowska “Labirinto”
Marta Zgierska “Votive Figure”
Karolina Wojtas “Abzgram”
Ela Polkowska “Firmly Pinch The Skin Together”
Ilona Szwarc (PL/US) “Unsex me here”
Katarzyna & Marianne Wasowska (FR/PL) “Waiting For the Snow”
After a serious car accident, my body, physically affected, naturally became a tool for studying the reality. I’m stitching painful derformative process in colorful sweet aesthetics, taken from the visual code of the beauty industry, to tell about the oppression of feminine body. In the modern world, Beauty is god. A deity that requires frequent sacrifice. I’m covering my body in wax to become a votive figure, to beseech the deity to make me beautiful. The cult of Beauty spreads through virtual reality, gaining millions of followers. For many, the depiction of appealing body becomes the only pursuit, a commodity to monetized in unprecedented way. From earliest times, people use wax, as medium with unique ability to simulate the feel of human flesh, to create lifelike reproductions of man. Votives are offerings given to gain healing, protection or give thanks, placed in worship’s places.
School children are subjected to the institutional stream of consciousness. To raise a generation of people free of inhibitions, homophobia, to foster a democratic society, tolerance and multiculturalism, we have to stop and think. Karolina Wojtas’s photographs deals with the broad concept of schooling, education and the institutions’ impact on pupils.
‘Anger detracts from her beauty’
‘Anger detracts from her beauty’ is a well-known Polish saying. I heard it often when I was a little girl, most often from my mother, who probably heard it from hers. This aphorism carries with it the admonition that anger makes a woman ugly. And, of course, ugliness is the very worst attribute that a woman can be branded with. A perception of woman’s anger as irrational, hysterical and plain ugly has a long history, starting with harpies, witches and Medusa, through instilling docility and obedience into ‘good and smiling’ girls, to ‘rabid feminist’ memes and the so-called ‘Resting Bitch Face’ syndrome. In my work I focus on anger in the most intimate, hidden in kitchens and bathrooms, seeking out its embarrassing proofs in family archives
“Firmly Pinch The Skin Together”
The series covers the tactile nature of the human experience as seen through the lens of tension and pressure. Its title references a medical phrase correlating a painful gesture to its healing function. The work consists of everyday moments of physical touch that communicate a sense of anxiety and intimacy. Touch, pleasure and pain all serve as messengers to our other senses, by slowly tracing the visceral journey of our emotions. The most meaningful reference of this project is the conception of the Skin-Ego by Didier Anzieu, where skin is treated as a metaphor – a wrapping that protects the interior but also connects with others, maintains the body in a state of unity and solidity, preserves the balance of our inner environment from external disturbances, but in its form and texture retains the marks of these disturbances.
Ilona Szwarc (PL/US)
“Unsex Me Here”
“Unsex Me Here”, a new body of work by Polish-American artist Ilona Szwarc, takes place in a dreamlike borderland somewhere between mid-century Palm Springs and the forests of European fairy tales. Szwarc, who was born in Warsaw and spent her adolescence in a small town in Texas, plies the ambiguity of her own memories to explore shifts in time and body. Her photographs gesture towards a repressed wildness — a flash of teeth disturbs the too-quiet powder room; a soft mass of white hair glows amidst ornamental glass. In Szwarc’s work, the changes are both real and surreal; the memories true and false; the danger at once as removed as an old wives tale and as close as a stranger in the mirror. Szwarc employs the vocabulary of Hollywood production — delicate sets and prosthetics — to suggest the complicated psychology of becoming.
Katarzyna & Marianne Wasowska (FR/PL)
“Waiting For the Snow”
“Waiting for the Snow” is a project about the phenomenon of polish migration to the South American countries at the end of 19th century.It focuses on Brazil and Argentina, most popular destinations of migrants at this time. We intend to highlight this barely known aspect of European colonisation of America. Pursued by Central European countries, it took the form of advertising campaigns run by private investors.Pretending that european workers was the only ones able to build the new modern societies of this early capitalism, they were also neglecting the presence and rights of native populations.Using our own photos, archival documents and family albums, we create a multi-layered visual story. Apart of a classical documentary approach, we build pictures out of the stories we collect in the villages. We intend to create this way a poetic narration based on the fragile material of memory.