Justyna Chmielewska




#polska, series of 24 photographs, 2012-2016, 20 x 30 cm

The #polska series does not provide an exhaustive picture of the country. It is more a photo-diary of treks around its outskirts and backwoods, suburbs of cities and remote provinces, trails skirting round the recognisable landmarks of the Polish landscape. From run-down marketplaces, through slowly fading industrial estates – once symbols of vibrant modernisation – to polystyrene-veneered flat-blocks painted in garish colours. From wildernesses, where boys in second- or third-hand cars brought over from Germany practise their drifting, to Byzantine/Brazilian centres of new Polish catholicism. These photographs are the result of a compulsive, vaguely ethnographic, daily habit of documenting minor roadside finds that are ephemeral and easily overlooked, but can stir up feelings of belonging to a place and its roots. Their common denominator is a strong association with Poland. Like hashtags, they are heterogeneous. They are all extremely varied, their content seemingly random, but when thrown together, one is able to find the links between them.

Justyna Chmielewska (b. 1983) – photographer, anthropologist, Turkish specialist. Writes to “Nowe Książki”, “Konteksty”, “(op.cit.,)”; published the book Saint blood, saint time, saint people (2009). Co-curator at the project Migrating University of Mickiewicz, Istanbul 2014.