Stories from beyond Pictures. Photographs by Ewa Martyniszyn

5 October – 29 December 2019

Curator of the exhibition: Dorota Jasnowska

The exhibition is a summing up of the artistic project realized by the artist in 2005–2006 in the regions of Opole, Lower Silesia, Silesia and in Ukraine. Its result were 44 black-and-white and colour photographs and around 50 reproductions of the so-called ‘monidła’, i.e. the coloured by hand or painted portraits, based on photographs made on the occasion of weddings, first communions or military ceremonies.

The project was carried out by the artist in two stages: the first involved making reproductions of the traditional ‘monidła’ in private ownership and at the same time recording recollections of the persons featuring in those portraits or their relations; the other was to take photographs of the same people holding their portraits or posing next to them.

The exhibition shows the contrast between the idealised images of persons depicted in those portraits, and the existential meanderings of the imperfect human existence. The artist wanted to protect the memory of the individual human experience from oblivion, and to rescue the ‘monidła’ portraits from destruction, bringing back their importance and being the object of attention.

The title “Stories From Beyond Pictures” are accompanied by photographs – both those of a documentary character made in the style of the “Sociological Record” by Zofia Rydet, in which the objects look straight into the photographer’s lens, as well as the specially treated ‘monidła’, revealing stories of people’s lives.

Ewa Martyniszyn, graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań, assistant lecturer in the Media Art Department at the E. Geppert Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław. The artist has shown her works in many exhibitions in Poland and abroad, and also published articles in books and arts magazines. Since 2004 she has taken up the subject of the ‘monidła’ portraits, writing about them, collecting and creating her own versions in the Photography and ‘Monidła’ Workshop.