Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Review of Behind the Curtain

Time for a small update about my work. After a month long exhibition 'Behind the Curtain' has been recently taken down from the wall of Balucka Gallery in Lodz, Poland. Here is a nicely designed brochure and a interesting review about my project.

Ula Wiznerowicz: Images from Behind the Curtain

Behind the Curtain is the title of a cycle of photographs that Ula Wiznerowicz has carried from the world of her family and childhood into a vision of painful, incurable modernity. Wiznerowicz tenderly unmasks a world of people convinced that they cannot be seen. It is a major problem not only in Greater Poland but in countless other places.
She has written about her own exhibition: ‘Forgotten and useless things covered in dust, emaciated cats running around searching for leftovers, rooms taken over by spider webs and a strong odour of alcohol. This was merely a part of the chaos that I encountered while photographing my native village, Palmowo and the surrounding areas in Poland where I grew up.The series of photographs represents a personal journey through individual stories of the men and women dealing with alcoholism. Not all the characters are necessarily alcoholic, but everyone has been affected by alcoholism, through family or friendship.’
A dirty glass balanced on an old chair, a filthy, overflowing ashtray, a TV remote control, a cigarette lighter and an alarm clock: these objects form part of the composition of one of the photographs, the attributes of a human world which are the subject of Wiznerowicz's creative gaze. It is an image of squalor and sorrow, an image of helplessness, of losing oneself in lost memories. A conclusion of sorts: a closed composition.
The value of this exhibition is manifold. The motivation behind it (rather than the inspiration?) was concern for humanity with all its beauty and ugliness and an intelligent desire to find one's own roots. 
Besides a handful of landscapes which depict the milieu in which the subjects of the photographs spend their daily lives, the photographs of Wiznerowicz frame people, some in portraits from which there is no escape, others showing  objects, still warm, only recently touched, or left to go cold as life no longer allows their owners to tidy them up.
As a photographer Wiznerowicz doesn't take pictures from the front row, she rejects her privileges, free passes to an unfamiliar world. She feels the chill of the stage along with the actors, touches the props but doesn't move them, doesn't interfere, doesn't impose. She tries to gently knit her presence into the tattered hair of these difficult human stories. She looks and immortalises. The faces and objects say all there is to say.
Almost every image carries a commentary, words penned by the photographer herself (‘I got used to the piles of junk and clothes scattered around the flat, the dirt and the horrible smell. It was quite dark, the room was engulfed in clouds of cigarette smoke. Cats were running from corner to corner, like crazy, trying to find something to eat. But nobody took any notice and nobody was bothered that I was there, as they opened another bottle of vodka.’) or one of the characters (‘When there's no alcohol to pass around your friends don't come round. It's hard then.’) They are not forceful or intrusive, they merely confirm our intuitions and add to the stories told by the images. 
These days it is easy to take photographs – everyone can do it and that's the problem. What is captivating about the work of Ula Wiznerowicz is a lack of engagement with technology, an honest tolerance of imperfection whenever it appears. This is a cautious approach to photography, observant of the limits of good compositional taste but also of the right of objects to exist in the frame. The faces of the subjects of this sorry tale have not had the signs of their difficult experiences edited out, Wiznerowicz does not taint them with fakery.  Her tweaking of colour and dynamics is justified by the narrative: a bright, optimistic window with a lamp and some fruit on a windowsill. The caption contains the words ‘I died and at 50 years old was resurrected from the dead.’, which justify the bright light. Those who speak openly about themselves have brightened, sharpened features. They stare into the light or the darkness depending on their outlook on the future. The portrayal of cats is exceptional; because they are constantly moving, chasing after food, the photographer lets them blur, allowing them a feline individualism.
And so in the same way that a single strand of DNA captures a unique human form and the shape of the body and how it speaks tells a trained eye of its condition, every photograph in the cycle Behind the curtain is a closed narrative world capable of transparently corresponding to the image hanging beside it. An honest cycle, a tale.
By Jola Sowińska-Gogacz, Translation by: Greg Goodale

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

'Behind the Curtain' is being shown at Balucka Gallery in Lodz, Poland.
 Opening reception:
September 18 at 5pm. 

Friday, 10 August 2012

My portfolio has been chosen AGAIN as part of 100 Curators 100 Days Project, this time by Didier Damiani, Luxemburg

Thursday, 2 August 2012

2012 Daylight Photo Award, juror's pick: Ula Wiznerowicz, Behind the Curtain

I am so pleased I was selected as a juror's pick of the 2012 Daylight Portfolio Award.
CDS Publishing and Awards Director Alexa Dilworth describes what drew her attention as she made her way through hundreds of portfolios submitted for the 2012 Daylight Photo Awards, and what distinguished the body of work she ultimately chose: 

In the end, I could only go with the portfolio that drew me in the most, that compelled me to consider it the longest, with utmost attention and feeling: Ula Wiznerowicz’s Behind the Curtain. Below is the juror’s statement I wrote for Michael and Taj for their use in announcing the 2012 Daylight Photo Awards winner and jurors’ picks:
                     From 'Behind the Curtain' Photograph by Ula Wiznerowicz 

“Ula Wiznerowicz’s photographs in Behind the Curtain come together in the way a collection of short stories might, stories woven together to tell a larger story both elusive and straight-up sad and difficult. Ula went back to the place she grew up, Palmowo, Poland, to photograph place, people, and problems—specifically, men and women struggling with alcoholism, either themselves or collaterally. And she was also looking at, thinking about, her own past. As she says, ‘I know all of the people in my pictures, their wives, children, the interiors of their homes, and the views from their windows.’ This understanding is manifest in her pictures. Rather than put a frame around public, more predictably dramatic, portrayals of her subject, she shares with us a private view, an atmosphere, a way of being that she both reveals and creates. The formalism of the photographs plays both against and with the tumult, resignation, and loneliness of these very particular lives lived out in a quiet, slowly disappearing community. I found myself revisiting this world behind curtains over and over. The quotes that accompany the photographs—as spare yet revealing as the images—drew me further into these rooms where people sit, wait, sleep.”

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Down the drain

I came across this article which shows the consequences of Tomislawice Mine's works.
Down the drain, by Wojciech Kosc
A large, shallow lake in Poland could disappear if an open-cast mining project goes ahead.
Lake Goplo is Poland's ninth largest lake. It covers an area of 21.8 square kilometres and has an average depth of 4.4 metres. The Lake Goplo Nature Park, part of the Natura 2000 network, spreads out over more than 2,300 hectares, while the expanded protected area is more than 10,000 hectares.
The lake is also linked to the very beginnings of Polish statehood. There's some, albeit feeble, archaeological evidence that a Slavic tribe which settled around the lake might have later progressed to become the leading force in bringing together what is now the territory of Poland under more or less unitary control.
An old legend has it that a rogue king residing by the lake treacherously poisoned his power rivals and threw their bodies into Lake Goplo. He didn't get away with the crime, however, as thousands of rats emerged from the lake, cornered the king atop the castle tower and ate him.
Thus Poles thinking about Lake Goplo entertain quite a mix of factual and cultural information. But it isn't the lake's stuff of legend that made newspaper headlines recently.

                            image © Ula Wiznerowicz

Saturday, 28 July 2012

New project

With a useful advises from Steven Macleod and help from Diane Smith my new project has got its shape now and it's almost finished. Here is a small selection of 'Displacement; photographs from the shadow of the Tomislawice Mine'.

‘Displacemen; photographs from the shadow of the Tomislawice Mine’:

In January 2010 the ‘Konin’ mine opened in central western Poland. A series of open pits scattered across the area it is run by the State owned company Konin Mine, which extracts brown coal to be used by power engineering industry.

Lignite or ‘brown coal’ supplies 93 percent of Poland’s energy and three nearby power stations burn materials from the Konin mines. The initial impact of open cast mining is very physical, with local lakes disappearing, forests drying up water supplies dwindling. Local residents and Greenpeace activists argue that open-cast mining, which sucks up water within a several-kilometre radius, will rapidly drain the shallow Lake Goplo within few years.

I documented and interviewed the families who have been left on the edge of The Tomislawice Stripmine, both those that have stayed and those that have received new housing through compulsory displacement or voluntary relocation packages. 

                         all images © Ula Wiznerowicz

PHOTO/arts Magazine: Ula Wiznerowicz

My project 'Behind the Curtain' was published at the PHOTO/arts Magazine which is a compendium of photography and contemporary art topics. Created in 2006. Christopher H. Paquette is the editor and founder.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Behind the Curtain in Rybnik, Poland

My project 'Behind the Curtain' will be exhibited in DeKa Gallery in Rybnik, Poland from the 1-31 August 2012 

100 Curators 100 Days Project

I am very pleased that my work has been chosen by Matthias Harder, chief curator at the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin as part of the project 100 Curators 100 Days run by Saatchi Online.

100 Curators 100 Days' is a major initiative that recognizes talented emerging artists from around the world. It was developed by Rebecca Wilson, Director of the Saatchi Gallery, London and is the inaugural exhibit under the helm of Saatchi Online's new CEO, Margo Spiritus. Each day for 100 days, work selected by curators from the world's most prestigious museums and galleries will be revealed.
Click here to view it

Saturday, 30 June 2012

I'm thrilled to take part in The Nighttime Projection: Women in Photography as part of the Photoville. Join FotoVisura on June 30 at 8.30pm at Pier 3 Uplands Brooklyn Bridge Park, New - York!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Memories from Palmowo

In maximum 10 years the memory of the place I grew up will exist only on the pictures. My hometown and another 11 villages will be literally removed so the coal can be exposed. The mine is not giving up.. 
While I have been working on a coal mine project I have decided to document my home town by capturing simple, ordinary things rather optimistic and bringing good memories so I can keep it, before everything gets completely destroyed..


                            © Ula Wiznerowicz

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Behind the Curtain in Suwalki, Poland

W suwalskiej galerii „Pacamera” pojawiły się fotografie autorstwa Uli Wiznerowicz, na których nawet szara rzeczywistość wydaje się barwna:   Niebywalesuwalki.pl

Thursday, 31 May 2012

FotoVisura Grant Exhibition

I'm thrilled to take part in FotoVisura Exhibition at United Photo Industries, New York

The FotoVisura Grant Exhibition
 Sponsored by the Viso Lizardi Family
May 30th to June 17th, 2012 • United Photo Industries • 111 Front Street, Suite 204 • DUMBO Brooklyn NY 11201

Photo by Erin Trieb, 2011 FotoVisura Grant Winner
Curated by Adriana Teresa and Graham Letorney, the FotoVisura Grant Exhibition will be
presented at the new United Photo Industries Gallery in DUMBO, Brooklyn.
Opening Reception
Thursday May 31 from 6pm - 9pm
First Thursday Gallery Walk
Thursday June 7 from 5pm - 9pm

A Group Show Featuring

Erin Trieb, Thomas Michael Alleman, Brad Vest, Anastasia Taylor Lind/VII, Ula Wiznerowicz
Dimitri Mellos, Laura El-Tantawy, Sebastian Liste, Annabel Clark, Marcia Michael, Ivor Prickett
Wendy Marijnissen, Melissa Cacciola, Kai Loeffelbein, Emily Schiffer, Matt Eich/Luceo
Justin Maxon, Elizabeth Herman, Pete Pin, and Amnon Gutman.
United Photo Industries is a Brooklyn-born, art-presenting cooperative dedicated to identifying, harnessing, and occasionally conjuring unexpected exhibition opportunities. All in the name of fostering conversation, championing new directions in photography, and cultivating ties within an ever-expanding, globe-trotting community of photographers.

Curatorial Statement

Curated by Adriana Teresa and Graham Letorney—The FotoVisura Grant Exhibition features a selection of thirty images by twenty members of the FotoVisura international photography community, who were recognized for their personal projects by a panel of renown editors and curators in either the 2010 or 2011 FotoVisura Grant competition.
FotoVisura is about community as much as photography. Together, we stand for respect, tolerance, awareness and compassion, as well as, the understanding that one can exercise his or her freedom of expression within a space that believes that we can co-exist and grow in the difference.
This exhibition is a testimony to the broad spectrum and high quality of personal projects produced by the members of the FotoVisura community. Using their own resources, each photographer has taken it upon themself to bring to light a story that they feel strongly about. Some expose and even risk their own life during the process, yet all have become a voice to many who do not have one.
FotoVisura Inc. is committed to supporting these photographers during the process.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Clare Uchima

Here are some pictures from the session with Clare in Dumfries, Scotland.

                                © Ula Wiznerowicz

Monday, 21 May 2012

'Between Homes' at PDPL

My project 'Between Homes' has been published by Polish Documentary Photography LinksCurated by Ewa Meissner of Napo Foundation and Napo Images agency in Poland. One of Ewa Meissner's and Napo Foundation's goals is to promote Polish documentary photography internationally. PDPL on weekly bases publishes links to new stories by leading Polish documentary photographers and photojournalists as well as aspiring fresh talents.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Clare part 2

Off to Scotland for a weekend with Clare. Photo session part two :)

Monday, 7 May 2012

Behind the Curtain in PAcamera Gallery, Suwalki, Poland

Getting ready for my next exhibition in Poland in June 2012. Here are some very interesting reviews of my project Behind the Curtain after my exhibition at London's Polish Cultural Centre (POSK) on November 24, 2011:

Given its typically secondary role, it's rare for narrative to make such a radical difference to how we read a piece of art. Narrative is a form of secondary payoff which means we don't pause to look at a mere pretty landscape. Beauty carries a price and in the case of the narratives of Ula Wiznerowicz, it is a very high price. Is it significant that the pictures were taken in Poland? They could have been taken anywhere, and therein lies their communicative power. The destructive power of addiction knows no limits and is immune to the wealth of nations.
There is a curtain and a world behind the curtain. The title Behind the Curtain brutally transports the viewer from an aesthetic experience to an existential one. It suggests that the images carry a double meaning. We are confronted with the first circle of (Dante's?) hell. Beautiful landscapes introduce a visual dissonance. Cruel nature, indifferent to human fate and the losing battle fought by the subjects (often absent from the images) against their own weakness. Nature doesn't judge or assess value. Intruding into this record of the external world we find still life images taken indoors - spaces seen through the eyes of an artist. These compositions, while made up of modest everyday objects, can be beautiful too. These modest items are bare living essentials. No one has arranged them or shifted them around. Their owners won't throw them away. They are placed where they are needed.
The lens records the fading colours, a well-used gas stove, a cat looking for a comfortable spot amidst clouds of cigarette smoke, perhaps some leftover food. Occasionally people make their presence felt in the images, people who are powerless in the grips of addiction. There are also the landscapes which they do not see. And there are the women who never lose hope.
Grzegorz Malkiewicz

"If this is an exhibition about alcoholism then I'm the queen of Sheba." So began an exchange I overheard between two newly-acquainted photographers on the steps of London's Polish Cultural Centre (POSK). "Go and look for yourself, I challenge you to find anything in there on the subject."
The photos presented by Ula Wiznerowicz on 25 November at the POSK Gallery showed no bottles, vomit-strewn carpets or the iconic elderly alcoholic struggling to mount a bicycle in the mud of a country lane. There was also an absence of images of enlarged livers, faces full of swollen teeth or photocopies of invoices for nights spent in the state drunk-tank.
I don't think, however, that such images are really worth looking at. And anyway, such artistic motifs are already being used by the UK Department of Health as health warnings on cigarette packets. All the paper used to convince us of the terrible effects of drinking alcohol could no doubt be used to wrap up the whole planet. It doesn't look like those publications have ever successfully helped anyone to kick the habit.
Is it compulsory for an exhibition to shock? At least once a week I'm shocked by the excesses of my drunken neighbours outside my window. It's no secret that my chosen form of stress relief is to sip a dark ale wittily entitled 'Bishop's Finger'.
The images presented by Ula Wiznerowicz are, instead, a window onto a distant world, nearly forgotten by the majority of emigrants. It is a cruel world, an empty void in which the only cure for our painful grey of existence is alcohol, a wretched world devoid of content. The artist has made this world more palatable with a subtle palette of colours which sometimes make it hard to tell if we're looking at a photograph or a painting.
I must admit I was surprised by the maturity of these images which seems at odds with the young age of the artist. I don't how old Jacek Kaczmarski was when he wrote the song Encore One More Time, but I was reminded of its words when I considered the subject of the exhibition.  Somehow these two modes of expression seemed to chime together. They revealed an image of reality seen through the eyes of a man who lived life under the pressure of terrifying loneliness. In between alcoholic trances he saw himself standing on the precipice of his unfulfilled dreams. Perhaps it was only when I connected the words of the song with the images that I was able to see clearly. I don't know if Ula Wiznerowicz also had so clear a vision of what she wanted to express or whether she only intuited the existence of a certain state of consciousness, a state that seems very distant from the young, pretty and ambitious Londoner.
Michal Sedzikowski

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

'Behind the Curtain' in Przekroj Magazine

My photo reportage "Behind the Curtain" was published in Przekroj (Cross-Section) the oldest Polish weekly newsmagazine. The magazine focuses on current social, political and cultural events (both Polish and International).


© Ula Wiznerowicz
© Ula Wiznerowicz

Green tea, music by Leszek Mozdzer and wacom tablet:) I'm working on some promo pictures for a lovely pianist, Clare.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Trip to Poland part 2

It was only a few days ago when I was cycling around the site of the mine in Poland. That place has changed a lot since I have been there last time. Boguszyczki and Ostrowo, villages that are part of Wierzbinek Commune located in Wielkopolska Region have almost disappeared from the map of Poland. I spoke to the people who stayed amongst nothing but big mountain of sand, so much dust and noise. They trusted me and shared their personal stories. It was incredible.. Lovely Labyrinth team quickly developed all my negatives. After whole day of scanning yesterday the images are waiting for me to make an edit. I can’t wait to listen to all the interviews I have recorded and start putting the story together.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

On a bus

                          © Ula Wiznerowicz
I landed in Bydgoszcz. As usual, a friend of mine picked me up from the airport and drove back to her house. Time passed so fast that before I even realised, I was already seating on a bus, heading home. It was 7 a.m. in the morning. The road was almost empty and there was a silence on the bus as well, nobody was talking. I stole a glance at some passengers whose eyes were fixed upon a distant horizon. I decided to do the same and I stared at the well-known Polish landscapes. I saw those spindly birch trees and finally felt that I am getting close to my home. My heart started beating faster and I couldn't stop thinking about my project, people I am going to meet and stories I am about to listen to this time.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Trip to Poland

I'm getting ready for my trip home, doing some research and trying to find an easy explanation why all of my projects lead me to the same place, which is Poland. I came across an interesting essay by Rosamund Bartlett: “The Meaning of Motherland” applying to Simon Roberts body of work "Motherland". Bartlett talks about a sense of belonging to some place and love for the motherland. I think that is what inspires me to tell a story about my physical and mental attachment to my native landscapes. '…meditative landscapes – clusters of spindly birch trees under cloudy skies, village churches next to modest ponds, and houses surrounded by snow.' writes Bartlett and I automatically see this picture in my mind.

The project about Stripe Mine, hasn't got a title yet and it is something I have to figure it out :) In January 2010 The Tomislawice Strip Mine has started preparation to be ready for mining lignite for the beginning of 2011. The deposit is based on the southern and central parts of Wierzbinek Commune in Wielkopolska (Greater Poland) where I grew up. More soon...

                        © Ula Wiznerowicz

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Portfolio printing

As a part of the prize for winning Ideas Tap & Metroprint Portfolio Award I have had my first session mentoring from Young Photographers Alliance. Warm welcoming, nice tour around Metroprint and great conversation with Lisa Creagh completely made my day:)

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

La Lettre de la Photographie

I'm thrilled to be featured in today's La Lettre de la Photographie which dedicate an entire day to FotoVisura's Grant Winners. 
                                            © Ula Wiznerowicz

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Third prize winner of the FotoVisura Grant

Thank you to
Adriana Teresa for massive support. FotoVisura is pleased to announce the 2011 Grant for Outstanding Personal Photography Project. The Grant is focused on providing economical support and creative guidance to professional and student photographers seeking to continue developing their personal work.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

'Behind the Curtain' Uli Wiznerowicz w TVP Bialystok

Proszę oglądać od 22 minuty wiadomości :) 

Wiadomosci z Bialegostoku i regionu

Białostockim Ośrodku Kultury wystawa Uli Wiznerowicz, młodej polskiej fotografki, która swoją karierę rozpoczęła od sukcesów za granicą. Jej prace - dojrzałe artystycznie - mają też wymiar społeczny. Sfotografowała rodzinną wieś i jej dotkniętych chorobą mieszkańców.


Friday, 24 February 2012

Behind the Curtain at BOK Gallery in Bialystok, Poland

Exhibition Curator: Grazyna Dworakowska
Mała Galeria BOK - foyer kina Forum 
Opening: 28 February 2012 @ 5:30pm


One of my pictures has been published at The New Collectors Book

                                          Untitled © Ula Wiznerowicz
The New Collectors Book is a unique New York publication that presents galleries, curators, painters, sculptors, photographers, and mixed media artists whose work is gaining an increasing level of recognition within the international art community. It also offers artists a platform to show their work to the collectors, dealers and buyers of the commercial art world. From painting, works on paper, sculpture, video and new media, photography, and multi-media installations The New Collectors Book will highlight not only the work of wonderful artists from all over the world, but also the latest trends in art.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Ula Wiznerowicz - Winner of Ideas Tap & Metroprint Portfolio Award

We are delighted to announce the winner of our recent competition with IdeasTap to win a free portfolio of 25 12 x 16 prints, and one to one session mentoring from Young Photographers Alliance on how to edit and produce your own portfolios. 
We have had an over whelming response of very high quality work, and picking a winner was difficult, but we are pleased to announce that the winner is Ula Wiznerowicz, for her ‘Behind the Curtain’ and ‘Between Homes’ set.

Erin from YPA said: “YPA would like to congratulate Ula for winning the Ideastap/ Metro Print portfolio award.   She has a really strong set of images and it looks like she is well on her way to developing a successful career in photography.”

Ula Wiznerowicz's Behind the Curtain for the first time in Poland

Behind the Curtain selected for exhibition at Nizio Gallery, Warsaw

logo-witek [].JPG  www.nizio.com.pl

Gallery Curator: Mirosław Nizio

A short presentation about this exhibition was aired on TVP Kultura:
Media Partners: 
OBIEG: www.obieg.pl
Artinfo: www.artinfo.pl
Independent: www.independent.pl
Informator Kulturalny CO JEST GRANE: www.cojestgrane.pl
Radio TOK FM: www.tokfm.pl
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