When you look into my eyes twice, I will part my lips or clench my fists
– photographs from the archive of the Institute of National Remembrance
Curator: Łukasz Rusznica
Private view: 17 November 2022, 6.00 PM-8.00 PM
Duration: 17 November 2022 to 15 January 2023
Venue: GGM2, ul. Powroźnicza 13/15
Exhibition texts: Tomasz Stempowski, Łukasz Rusznica
Visual identification: Joanna Jopkiewicz (Grupa Projektor)
Opening times: Tuesday-Sunday, 12.00 PM-6.00 PM
Tickets: PLN 10 – regular ticket, PLN 7 – reduced ticket, PLN 5 – group ticket (free admission on Thursdays and during the private view)
Late this year, an exhibition of photographs from the Institute of National Remembrance will be on display at the Gdańsk City Gallery 2. “The Archive of the Institute of National Remembrance holds nearly 40 million photographs: portraits, landscapes, still lifes, street scenes, aerial photographs, reportage photographs, scientific photographs, family photographs and many more. There are also images of death”, writes Tomasz Stempowski in his exhibition text. A very capacious resource, this archive contains photographs depicting both matters crucial to Polish history and evidence of the banality of human actions, petty crimes or acts of insubordination. Their common denominator is violence – expressed through the image of a human corpse or a sexual intercourse under the unblinking gaze of a regime agent.
From the perspective of the apparatus of oppression, each single detail is interesting and relevant. Nothing is insignificant enough to be overlooked. As always when it comes to memory, one encounters what is repressed and inconvenient, too. This is why silence is such a vital clue. After all, what stays undocumented can pose a threat.
What is the regime looking at? What is it interested in? How does this looking reveal the regime self?
This exhibition is another attempt to ask questions about history, memory and our past.
The book “HOW TO LOOK NATURAL IN PHOTOS” by Beata Bartecka and Łukasz Rusznica is part of the exhibition.
In his artistic work, Łukasz Rusznica (1980), a photographer and curator, focuses primarily on the photographic book. He runs the MpM14 gallery in Wrocław.
Tomasz Stempowski (1971), a historian and an archivist in the Institute of National Remembrance, author and co-author of articles and book publications, including: Piaszczyste drogi karpatczyków. Fotografie kpt. Karola Angermana z lat 1940‒1944, (Along the Sandy Trails with the Carpathian Riflemen. Photographs by Capt. Karol Angerman, 1940–1944), Zbiór fotografii Głównej Komisji Badania Zbrodni przeciwko Narodowi Polskiemu, (Collection of Photographs of the Chief Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation), Polskie drogi przez Szwajcarię. Losy żołnierzy 2. Dywizji Strzelców Pieszych 1940–1945 na fotografiach ze zbiorów Muzeum Polskiego w Rapperswilu, (Polish Ways through Switzerland. The Fates of the Soldiers of the 2nd Infantry Rifle Division 1940-1945 in Photographs from the Collection of the Polish Museum in Rapperswil), Oblężenie Warszawy w fotografii Juliena Bryana (The Siege of Warsaw in the Photography of Julien Bryan), Kariera SS-Oberscharführera Hermanna Baltruschata 1939–1943. (The Career of SS-Oberscharführer Hermann Baltruschat in 1939-1943). Album fotograficzny funkcjonariusza Einsatzgruppe i Geheime Staatspolizei na ziemiach polskich wcielonych do Rzeszy (The Photo Album of an Officer of the Einsatzgruppe and Geheime Staatspolizei in the Polish Territories Incorporated into the Reich), Prawo w filmie (Law in the Film). He runs a blog about historical photography at fototekst.pl.
Magazyn Szum, Gdańsk.pl, Trójmiasto.pl, Prestiż Magazyn Trójmiejski, Magazyn Linia, TVP Kultura
Co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage from the Cultural Promotion Fund.