FEMINISTS AND PHOTOGRAPHERS - the exhibition at Stary Browar in Poznan

The collection of Joanna and Krzysztof Madelscy, presented so extensively for the first time in Poznań, is the result of subtle negotiations, an expression of sensitivity and a passionate clash of the collectors’ characters, ambitions and visions. From an academic perspective, the collection combines various media: painting, photography and video, sculpture and installation art. Out of several hundred pieces that form the collection of Joanna and Krzysztof Madelscy, the exhibition features photographs and video works accompanied by Stanisław Fijałkowski’s paintings and Marek Chlanda’s sculptures.

The collection of Joanna and Krzysztof Madelski has evolved with time. It has always focused on paintings, and photographs only featured in the collection from time to time, ultimately leading to the creation of a separate collection in 2009. An intense search has led to the development of a photography collection composed of several hundred photographs, some of which were presented at the Subjects of Gender and Desire exhibition in 2012 within the Photofestival held at the Museum of the City of Łódź, at Poznański Palace and at the Bureau of Art Exhibitions in Olsztyn in 2013. The first exhibition was chronological and focused on vintage photographs, while the exhibition in Olsztyn presented the works of contemporary artists, including a number of video projects (e.g. by Katarzyna Kozyra, Marta Deskur, Martynka Wawrzyniak, Dorota Nieznalska). An exhibition of the collection held in autumn of 2014 in the National Museum, in the interiors of the Abbots’ Palace in Gdańsk Oliwa was the first one to combine photography and painting on a large scale. The exhibition entitled Feminists and Photographers, presents – as the title suggests – a representative selection of Polish classic photographs of the 20th century and flagship examples of the Polish feminist art.

The show organised by the Art Stations Foundation by Grażyna Kulczyk and Ego Gallery provides a special opportunity to see the works of fairly conservative photographers such as Paweł Pierściński, as well as progressive ones, e.g. Jerzy Lewczyński, next to the icons of feminism and gender art, including Elżbieta Jabłońska, Dorota Nieznalska, Katarzyna Górna and Natalia LL.

The exhibition Feminists and Photographers not only combines the motive of the masculine, slightly chauvinistic approach to female nudes with relatively radical attempts of emancipation proposed by feminising female artists. The exhibition in Poznań is also important due to the synthesis of the local Poznań artistic context with the equally significant global point of reference, which is of crucial value to the collectors.

Adam Mazur, Exhibition Curator