On Friday, 9th October, the exhibition Zofia Chometowska – the Polesie Mythologies will open at the Association for the Encouragement of Fine Arts [Zacheta] in Lublin. The show will be the first presentation of fragments of Zofia Chometowska’s archive researched by the Foundation.
Apart from Chometowska’s iconic works (e.g. Laundress), the show features unknown photographs from the Polesie region. “The aim the exhibition was not only to step beyond cliché representation of the Poleszuk people, but also to break the prevailing image of their author, hitherto strongly associated with the current of ‘homeland photography’. An attempt at redefining Chometowska’s ‘Polesie archive’ is thus dictated by the conviction that the author refrained from publishing a large body of photographs, conforming to the established vocabulary of Polesie photography. Nonetheless she remained fascinated with the possibility of creating blow-ups, capturing motion, searching for rhythm or genre scenes.
The ‘private Polesie’ of Chometowska also remains far from the mythologizing imagery in photographs that depict a car stuck in the mud, everyday life in the Porochonsk estate, or scenes from a rural marketplace. It seems that the aristocratic roots of the photographer, and her sex, made it difficult to adopt the position of an invisible observer who hides behind the camera and hunts for the brief moment in which the observed have not yet noticed the presence of the camera. However, Chomętowska found it exceptionally easy to leave the customarily ascribed roles, a feature which would once again become manifest a couple of years later, when the author turned to photographing Warsaw’s garbage dumps.
The exhibition is a part of “Photography – Between Document and an Artwork” [Fotografia miedzy dokumentem a dzielem] program coordinated by Piotr Majewski.