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WROCŁAW: I photographed the king of Poland by Michał Szlaga

15.01.2019 City

Michał Szlaga, one of the most talented documentary photographers of our age, uses the space of Awangarda Gallery at BWA Wrocław to show his own visions of Poland, narrating a story about people, places, rituals, and socio-political transformations.

Even though Szlaga is a native of Kashubia, he has been heavily influenced by the Gdańsk artistic community and the local contexts of the city which have significantly informed his thematic preoccupations and approach to work. As a budding artist faced with the symbolic landscape of political transformations, he decided to embrace the documentary. Shipyard -- one of the first and most famous of Szlaga’s photo series -- captures the gradual fading away of a significant epoch in the history of the Gdańsk shipyard while also embracing the stories of people and ongoing transformations. We are proud to have one piece from the series hanging in PURO Gdańsk.

Michał Szlaga's work in PURO Gdańsk

Michał Szlaga's work in PURO Gdańsk

When Szlaga portrays people -- says curator Anna Mikuś -- he portrays individuals living their own lives, each of them shouldering the burden of their stories in their own way. Importantly, the epic way of capturing and processing the subject matter has a lot to do with how the photographs - intimate and simple in themselves - are presented. Hundreds of impromptu pictures taken on the way - be it during journeys or business trips - turn into unique series.

BWA Wrocław is hosting a solo exhibition with works representative of Szlaga’s entire career. Series such as Poland, Prostitutes or Love reveal the artist who masterfully captures simple, intimate moments as well as people and events that make history with the capital “H”.

Michał Szlaga's exhibition in Wrocław

Michał Szlaga's exhibition in Wrocław

As Michał Szlaga admits, no matter where he goes or where he focuses his lens, everything always boils down to Poland. Then it should come as no surprise that he found the eponymous Polish king at the Pulaski Day Parade in New York and traced the cranes -- identical to those in the Gdańsk shipyard -- in Rio de Janeiro. Several hundred powerful photographs reveal to us the world seen through the photographer’s eyes -- says the curator. These incredible pictures show us the strength of the gravity of history; or is it just the strength of the trauma in Polish people’s lives? After all, what seems unique can as easily be entirely banal or totally crazy.


Michał Szlaga, I photographed the king of Poland
curator: Anna Mituś

16 November 2018–03 February 2019
Awangarda Gallery at BWA Wrocław
ul. Wita Stwosza 32

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