One of the most influential representatives of the Polish postwar photographic avant-garde, Zbigniew Dłubak started working on the theme of the female nude around 1958 and continued it for the rest of his practice. However, he was never considered an expert in nude photography, a paradox that can be explained by the fact that his nudes always followed modernist logic, serving to make statements on the language of photography, on the processes of sign creation and interpretation, or on the mechanisms of visual perception. Emphasized, such theoretical investigations were far more important than the fact that they were carried out on photographs of the naked female body. Gallery>>> Photographs >>>
When Dłubak was creating his early series of nudes, the way the body was thought and spoken about in Western culture was only beginning to change. This revolutionary shift, however, had little reception in Poland at the time and hardly influenced Dłubak’s work at all. His primary context in working on the Iconospheres and Gesticulations was Modernism, with its preoccupation with medium specificity, structuralism, and artistic autonomy. From the very beginning Dłubak’s work on the female nude is highly analytical, the compositions being pared down, geometricized, focused on the fragment. Through such abstracting procedures, symmetries and repetitions, Dłubak downplays the erotic element, and the power relationship between the artist and his model is never overtly acknowledged. What is brought to the foreground here is the mechanism of photographic representation and the sign stripped of its meaning – the ‘pure sign’, as it was called by the artist. The exhibition highlights precisely these themes from the artist’s broad-ranging oeuvre. A selection of images from the 1970-1978 Gesticulations series, which were created in many variants using many different models, and sketches and documentation of three Iconosphere photographic installations from 1967-1971 are presented to exemplify Dłubak’s exceptionally consistent and rigorous work with the female body.
Curator of the exhibition: Karolina Ziębińska-Lewandowska
Design of the exhibition: Jan Strumiłło
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue:
edited by Karolina Ziębińska-Lewandowska, with an essay by Chantal Pontbriand
design Jakub Certowicz
language versions: English – Polish – Spanish
ESTRUCTURAS DEL CUERPO
Madrid, Circulo de Bellas Artes, calle de Alcalá
Opening: 3rd June 2013, 8 p.m., Sala Juana Mordo, CdBA
Exhibition opened through 4th June – 28th July 2013
Organisers: Archeology of Photography Foundation, Polish Institute in Madrid, Photoespaña2013
Partner: Circulo de Bellas Artes
Project funded by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland and the city of Warsaw.