19.01 – 17.03.2019 Rechowicz/Smaga Circle
artists: Hanna Rechowicz, Jan Smaga
curator: Katarzyna Kołodziej-Podsiadło
collaboration on the side of Zachęta: Julia Leopold, Krystyna Sielska
Rechowicz/Smaga. Circle is an exhibition of over one hundred photographic objects created together by Hanna Rechowicz and Jan Smaga that evoke the history of a house at Lekarska Street in Warsaw where she has lived for many years. A work in process, the house was shaped from the 1950s by the artist couple of Gabriel and Hanna Rechowicz; following Gabriel’s death, Hanna has been taking care of and working on it herself. It is a place with a rich past — for decades a meeting point for Warsaw’s art community: architects, fine artists, filmmakers. It is also a space marked by painterly and sculptural interventions in its architectural substance and by a gradual accumulation of materials and objects, combined by the Rechowiczes into accruing layers of poetic assemblages.
Jan Smaga seeks to preserve the integrity of this process. Known for his ‘total documentation’ projects, focused on the idea of the possibly most adequate and objective representation of a documented object, he provides a multifaceted insight into the Lekarska Street space through tondo-style, perfectly round photographs. Uninterested in illusive or ‘flat’ snapshot-like photography, Smaga embraces instead a philosophy of the image that takes depth into consideration, and the information associated with or coded in it. This was also the way of thinking that motivated his project of producing a complete documentation of the Rechowicz house.
Respecting the specificity of the place — the fluidity of its processes, its tendency towards formal diversification and spatial expansion — Jan Smaga asked Hanna Rechowicz to create frames for his photographs. The resulting forms cause the active and evolving substance of the house to be brought out of the depths of the image. The shapes of the frames and their materials (copper, steel, lead, aluminium, or tanned leather), subjected to various colouristic and textural modifications, correspond with the themes of the pictures. The frames enlarge on the visual narratives, enhancing the colours, resonating with the motifs depicted. The frame lends reality to photographic representations, while at the same time neutralizing its own isolating function. Showing these objects in an art gallery creates the possibility of their further expansion, as the artistic process gets transposed into a multiplicity of visual and spatial contexts. Displayed in the rooms of the Zachęta Gallery, they become representatives of an inaccessible place, one impossible to behold from outside and in a single act of looking.
19.01 – 17.03.2019
Zachęta – National Gallery of Art
pl. Małachowskiego 3, 00-916 Warsaw
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Tuesday – Sunday 12–8 p.m.
Thursday – free entry
ticket office is open until 7.30 p.m.