Where is the original? Art in photography

17.05 – 30.06.2024
Opening: 17.05.2024, godz. 18.00

In the age of expanding digital museums and archival collections, we often encounter works of art solely through reproductions. We usually watch them in virtual conditions – without a background, removed from their spatial and temporal contexts. Easily available here and now, they are susceptible to editing and alterations in scale or framing. Exhibition Where is the original? Art in photography presents photos by Antoni Zdebiak (1951–1991), Jan Fleischmann (1940–2019) and Danuta Rago (1934–2000), who photographed paintings, sculptures and artistic installations in a creative and non-obvious way. The Archeology of Photography Foundation invites you to the exhibition at the Social Center of Photography at Chłodna 20 Street from May 17 to June 30, 2024.

The main activity of the Archeology of Photography Foundation is digitization – a process aimed at faithfully reproducing artworks in a digital format. We take photos of photographs to include them in the scientific realm and make them accessible in the Virtual Museum of Photography. Immersion in a sea of ​​replicas, constant juxtaposition of virtual representations with the originals, and hundreds of hours spent in the digitization lab provoke us to ask questions about the nature of reproduction. What aspects of an object does photography, often regarded as faithful to reality, fail to capture?  And is there room within its rational framework for the individual gesture of the documentalist?

Seeking answers to these questions, we present three case studies from our archives. Experimental photographs by Antoni Zdebiak (1951–1991), reveal the author’s emotional involvement, and propose a new definition of reproduction. Examining the work of Jan Fleischmann (1940–2019) highlights the versatility and technical skills of the photographer who approached reproduction professionally. The final example, the documentation of the conservation of the Racławice Panorama, by Danuta Rago (1934–2000), presents the process of reconstruction as a spectacle in itself. It demonstrates the collective struggle, both of the restoration team and of the photographer herself, on an enormous scale, motivated by a persistent desire to capture the essence of the original work.

Opening: 17.05.2024 o godzinie 18.00
Duration: 17.05.2024 ‒ 30.06.2024
Where: Archeology of Photography Foundation, Social Center of Photography, Chłodna 20 Street, Warsaw
Gallery open: Mon, Tue: 11.00 AM – 5.00 PM; Wed, Thu, Sat, Sun: 11.00 AM – 7.00 PM
Free admission


Curator: Mikołaj Chmieliński / FAF
Exhibition design: Alicja Lesiów, Katia Smuraga / FAF
Coordination: Kamila Kobus / FAF
Consultation: dr Weronika Kobylińska / FAF
Cooperation: Marta Grzybczyk, Konrad Kujawski, Janina Stelmaszyk, Karolina Susło
PR: Aleksandra Migacz
Visual Identity: Wzgórze Paproć (Kasia Rzepka i Mariusz Listwan)
Production: QPrint
Conservation: Monika Supruniuk
Exhibition installation: Mateusz Wierzbicki / Willow Service
Translation into Polish Sign Language: Magda Schromová

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