Sophisticated, intimate, magical. Portraits by Sonia Szóstak -- a talented young generation photographer -- are making their debut in Warsaw. The artist will present a selection of her latest and earlier works. Thematically, the exhibition centers on the female body as seen through the prism of photography. Portraits of Małgorzata Bela have been created precisely for the upcoming exhibition in the Leica 6x7 Gallery in Warsaw.
Sonia Szóstak photographs women in well thought-out and meticulously arranged sceneries. At the same time, she endows her models with a total control over the setting. Bourgeois interiors, the steely coldness of Alpine hills, intimate, shadowed rooms and gardens bathed in sunlight… create backgrounds for meetings and relationships between the person being portrayed and the watchful eye of the camera functioning as the active participant in the scene rather than a narrative-imposing device. Szóstak’s frame captures the essence of intimate moments: the awareness of the body unrestrained by conventions, self-confidence, and sharp eyes fixed on the camera with impunity. Undoubtedly, the sex of the artist contributes to the final effect: photographs, like mirrors, reflect the equality of the photographer-photographed relationship that grows out of mutual trust as well as photographer and models’ fully developed sense of aesthetics.
The main theme in Sonia Szóstak’s oeuvre is the human body surrounded by nature. The photographer probes the capacity of the human body in motion, capturing it in ways both timeless and timely. In Szóstak’s portraits, models and friends are captured in graceful dance poses, telling the story of the artist’s generation dreaming of the unreal, the fleeting, and the beautiful. The photographer’s vision occasionally leads her to embody magical realism, with each photograph telling us a different story from within and outside the real world. Szóstak’s artistry lets her reference traditions and poetics with confidence. Be it meticulously arranged or spontaneously captured, her work always bears her trademark -- reads the curator’s note.
Szóstak draws on the language employed by painting and photography virtuosos -- Titian, Peter Lindberg, and Erwin Olaf -- while remaining in total control of the light, composition, and props. Still, she manages to continuously develop her very own and already distinctive style. “Fortune Teller Told Me” is a real gem, for rarely can we experience exhibitions that emanate such an authentic beauty -- the beauty that is noble and helps us restore our faith in innocence. And in the watchful eye of the camera.
Sonia Szóstak “Fortune Teller Told Me”
Official opening: 15 February (Friday), 6 p.m.
Exhibition duration: 16 February to April 6, 2019
Curator: Magdalena Gemra
Author-curator guided tour: 16 February (Saturday), 4 p.m.
Leica 6×7 Gallery Warsaw, Mysia 3, 2nd floor
Monday–Saturday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Working Sundays: noon – 6 p.m.
Media patrons: Fotopolis, Doc! Magazine, Art Info, Digital Camera