traces

WERONIKA GĘSICKA / THE OLD CHURCH FOUNDATION

 

Landskrona Foto Festival will combine the acclaimed artist Weronika Gęsicka (born in Poland in 1984) with one of the most magical places in the city: the Old Church foundations. The church of St John Baptist used to stand on this site, built around 1420 and demolished in the eighteenth century, but today only traces of the church remain. In the project TRACES Gęsicka works with the vestiges of the American family idyll, as it was depicted in the 1950s and 1960s. A bygone era that lives in our collective memory and can be investigated via the clues that have been left behind, for example, in photographs.

 

Is it real or make-believe? In Gęsicka’s works we see families having fun together, families portrayed in an aesthetic that describes a family ideal that prevailed in the post-war years, above all in the USA. The artist has bought most of the original photographs she works with from an image bank. We don’t know whether the original pictures are of real families or are staged genre pictures, actors putting on a show for the camera. That kind of information has been washed away by time. By manipulating the images, Gęsicka has added a layer of fiction to what seems to us to be documentary. For instance, she takes what the families are doing – drawing, building, doing puzzles – and she does that to them: they are drawn, built or put together like a puzzle. Claims to reality are mined with fantasy and surrealism, thereby commenting on the image of the family and how we create our memories – by turning fragments into narratives. The series has attracted much attention and has been presented in the specialist press and in international media, for example: The New York Times, Foam Magazine, The Guardian and Internazionale.

 

Photography is the picture supplier of our time, we live in a wave of pictures. Gęsicka is one of the artists who sometimes choose to work with existing material – our picture heritage – taken from various archives. TRACES are works that comment on a bygone era and let it engage in dialogue with us. Gęsicka received her training at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and the Academy of Photography in the same city, and today her base is in Warsaw and Wloclawek. In 2008 she received the scholarship of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage in Poland. Besides this she has won Foam Talent (2017), received the Spotlight Award at Belfast Photo Festival (2017), Lens Culture Emerging Talent Awards (2016) and she has been nominated for the Prix HSBC pour la Photographie (2017) and the Prix Levallois (2016).