Francesco Marongiu. Polskie Zdjęcia - Poland: a traveller's diary

3 Sep 2016 – 14 Sep 2016

Event times

10am - 9pm daily

POSK Gallery

London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Bus 391 190 267 H91
  • Tube Ravenscourt Park

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The exhibition is the result of what may be thought of as personal research
or exploration, or inquiry into the concept of alter (Latin: ‘other’) in the
most eastern of the north-European countries, Poland.


These are, travel-notes recording glimpses of all that drew, excited, charmed, at any rate engaged the photographer in the land that gave birth to Copernicus and Frédéric Chopin, and which, more lately, succeeded in its efforts to free itself from the grasp of the Soviet Union, and thus to make the first hole in the Iron Curtain.

It is a work going sideways a possible documentary, more a photographic traveller's diary depicting some of the landscapes of continental Europe, taking in both cities such as Warsaw, Cracow and Gdansk, and the countryside (Masovia, Podlasie, Lower Carpathia among other regions). It is a land where travellers in the rural areas notice that every crossroads is marked by a holy shrine (these change according to the region, and to local devotional practice and folklore). Bus-stops are scattered over even the remotest parts of the country's beneficial infrastructure lasting from transport as it was under Communist regime.

Tartar community survives, along with largest remaining parts of the vast primeval forest, on the eastern border with Ukraine. From the pattern of ordinary subjects portraits, life scenes, landscapes, the uncanny emerges and reveals itself. At the same time, there is some play on the concept of national identity and on topics such as politics, lifestyle, architecture and its tendency to standardisation. Hence what may be found to be poetic shiftings between the two Freudian definitions of ‘uncanny’, (unheimlich in German):

Unheimlich I = unhomely, unfamiliar, untame, uncomfortable = eerie, weird Unheimlich II = unconcealed, unsecret; what is made known; what is supposed to be kept secret but is inadvertently revealed. Much happens in and behind the eyes of the people who look at these photographs, whether the (Italian) photographer’s, those of his guide and friend (a successful entrepreneur from Warsaw), or those of the spectator in London. Whether it is an English lady in her sixties, or the son of a worker of Polish origins living locally and studying in a local primary or secondary school, or you.

Francesco Marongiu


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