Work on Zbigniew Dłubak’s archive began in autumn 2008. The first step was to integrate the archive by bringing to Warsaw some of the photographs and documents located in Meudon, France, where Dłubak lived from 1982. The legacy’s first examination took place at the artist’s former Warsaw home.
A very large part of Zbigniew Dłubak’s archive has been photographically documented by Krzysztof Pijarski, who agreed to base his own artistic project on the legacy, creating, in the process, its very interesting documentation.
In organising the prints, in many cases it was important to preserve information on the original housing and presence of other prints in the box, which is why detailed documentation was sometimes necessary. Here, a unique find: a box with prints from Dłubak’s best known cycle of work, a series of experimental photographs from 1947-1950.
Organised and segregated, the prints were rehoused into paper or melinex jackets and put back into the original photo boxes. Then they were inventoried, each receiving a unique catalogue number. Each box includes a full list of the prints stored therein, including a proof sheet, catalogue number, title, date, and condition. So prepared, the prints were scanned and made available online as part of the APF database.
Glass negatives were removed from their original envelopes, in which they were not secured in any way, creating the risk of chemical interaction. Each glass plate was dusted off and washed on the non-emulsion side using a solution of water and rectified spirit with a small admixture of pure acetone. So cleaned, the negatives were put in paper sleeves and stored vertically in an archival storage box, where the original envelopes are also kept.
One of the first steps in working on Zbigniew Dłubak’s negatives was separating nitrocellulose-based materials, among which were the most valuable negatives – about 100 frames of the earliest photographs made by the artist in 1947-1948, an experimental series that was later presented in a solo show at the Young Artists’ and Scientists’ Club in Warsaw and in the 1st Exhibition of Modern Art in Cracow. To begin with, the negatives were already partly degraded. They were immediately digitised, each frame receiving a handmade paper sleeves to separate them from each other and slow down the degradation process. Due to the significance of the material, baryta paper prints were created from the negatives. Attempts to create analogue copies of the negatives proved unsatisfactory.
Cellulose-acetate negatives are housed in archival polyester pockets or in greaseproof paper attested and dedicated for archival purposes. The negative sheets are housed in archival photo boxes.
Documents – typescripts and manuscripts, professional documents, exhibition invitations, personal papers, correspondence – form a vast part of Zbigniew Dłubak’s legacy. Organising it took several years and has recently been completed. A full list of documents, compiled by Ewa Witkowska and organised into twelve folders (typescripts, manuscripts, interviews, translations and so on), is available online here >>>