New Urban Legends

We cordially invite you to join us and the artist Urszula Tarasiewicz to celebrate the opening of her solo show NEW URBAN LEGENDS

The exhibition is hosted by the andel’s Hotel Kraków and Warimpex Finanz- und Beteiligungs AG, as a part of the project ANDEL’S PHOTO.

The curator of the exhibition Agnieszka Gniotek

Opening reception at the andel’s Hotel Kraków, ul. Pawia 13 on Thursday, September 24th from 7pm

The exhibition will be running through September 24th to November 1st, at the andel’s Hotel Kraków main lobby on the 1st floor

Urszula Tarasiewicz – one of the most interesting artists of the young generation who use photography in their work. She graduated in Photography from the Leon Schiller National Higher School of Film, Television and Theatre in Łódź. Minimalist photo wallpapers that create the illusion of open space and the mirage horizon are the hallmark of her work. The New Urban Legends is a series of photographs that has been presented and awarded internationally, including in Germany and Norway. Its firefighting subject became a part of the andel’s Contemporary Art collection and is on permanent display in the andel’s Hotel Łódź interiors.

About the show:
Praga remains the poorest district in Warsaw, but ten years ago its potential was discovered by artists. Studios, cafés, and art galleries began to appear all around the area. The dynamism of young, active individuals started to leave its mark on the old atmosphere. Thanks to their efforts, Praga’s poverty has been recognized and named. Several foundations have been launched. Their activity is primarily directed to kids. Children are easier to work with, although they, too, approach the social activists’ efforts with great caution.
New Urban Legends is the Moma Film Foundation’s initiative. It’s a series of activities where kids from the poorest families in Praga were given the chance to participate in creative workshops. Their task during literary class was to invent fictional stories about the place where they live. Then, the stories were turned into screenplays and finally, into films. The kids were engaged in the whole process, working as both film crew and actors. That’s how the Ząbkowska street dentists’ and a barber’s from Targówek adventures were created.
Officially, Urszula Tarasiewicz was employed in the New Urban Legends project as a production assistant and unit stills photographer. However, the workshops got her totally involved. She would be a driver, cared for the catering and solved the kids’ problems. She watched with fascination the joy with which the children turned into the stars of the stories. That’s what inspired her to create a photographic project based on the New Urban Legends – not a photo-journalistic project about the workshop, but rather, an autonomous presentation.
Three main factors contributed to the unique aesthetics of Ula Tarasiewicz’s photos. The first, perhaps the least important of the three, is technique – there’s a sublime magic in the pictures shot with a Hasselblad medium format camera, the kind of imaging that ennobles the model.
It has long been known that there’s no such thing as truth in photography. Objectivity doesn’t exist. In the process of creating the series, Tarasiewicz didn’t strive to be objective. That’s the second factor: her original way of seeing. We’re dealing with costume and characterization here, but still, Tarasiewicz offered her models far more than yet another opportunity to perform as actors, just this time in front of a photo camera.
The ‘stage’ Tarasiewicz created is greater, for it is a stage of life. Her little heroes are serious, but also pleased with themselves, individuals. The children here seem mature and wise, happy and fulfilled. And finally, the third thing: the stars of the photos themselves. In districts such as Praga you have to grow up faster, start to solve adult problems very early and make serious decisions. You do not put your trust in just anybody. Even if a stranger is nice to you and gives you a proverbial candy, he would always remain a stranger. In Tarasiewicz’s pictures the kids do not feel outsiders, they do not keep the distance anymore. They are at home and are proud of it. The artist managed to reach the truth, because she allowed the children to present themselves as they wished. She gave them the ‘stage’ and made no secret of her fondness for them.

The first solo album by Ula Tarasiewicz, published in 2012, features one of the stories from the New Urban Legends. This limited and numbered collector’s edition, in hardcover, is the first volume of the curated series published by the Art Galerie Siegen and Tomas Kellner. It accompanied the New Urban Legends exhibition hosted by the Art Galerie Siegen in 2012. Later on, the works were also shown in Oslo and the Wypieki Kultury gallery in Warsaw.
Ula Tarasiewicz is currently working on an exhibition and a collector’s album focused on the city of Łódź. The project features photos of the tenement buildings at Ogrodowa street and the Bałucki market. It also shows the residents and their belongings left behind after evictions and relocations; the stuff that ended up on the market square, offered for sale, collected in the homes of the low-earning residents of the city of Łódź.

Agnieszka Gniotek

Urszula Tarasiewicz (b. 1975) photographer, organizer of music events. She graduated in Photography from the Leon Schiller National Higher School of Film, Television and Theatre in Łódź. The starting point of her career as a photographer was a diploma project realized under the supervision of Professor W. Prażmowski. In it, she used a forgotten style of photo wallpaper. The artist lives and works in Poland and Norway. There, she gained experience working on film sets.
Tarasiewicz as documentary photographer is a sensitive observer of her surroundings, who in her works ennobles the absurd and marginal elements. The life in the industrial city of Łódź contributed to her search of beauty in kitsch, color in greyness and happiness in people who weren’t lucky in life. Her mode of shooting is plain, raw, ascetic. Tarasiewicz saves on the negative the moments which are a sign of their time and describe the environment without embellishments. When she photographs people, she allows them to play whatever roles they would imagine; she doesn’t create psychological portraits, rather, she encourages the creation of a situation that a particular moment demands.
The photographs from the series New Urban Legends are on display in the andel’s Hotel Łódź interiors. The series has been awarded in the Portrait category in the 2010 Curator’s competition of the Photo District News magazine, won the 2012 New Talent Award of the German edition of FotoMagazine, the 2012 Ars Victoria Book Award of the Photographer’s Network of Germany, and the 1st place at the competition organized by the Norwegian magazine for the publication and exhibition during the #17 Interfoto Debutantutstilling in Oslo in 2012. The series has been exhibited internationally, including in the Milk Gallery in NYC in 2010, Art Galerie Siegen in 2012, Bølgen & Moi Briskeby Oslo in 2012, and in the Wypieki Kultury gallery in Warsaw in 2013.

Urszula Tarasiewicz’s other series were shown at numerous group exhibitions, including the Critical Mass (2012) show in the United States; The Future is So Bright series created in Norway during the scholarship on Halsnøy Kloster was presented in Norway in 2013 and at the Ja to Ktoś Inny (‘I am Someone Else’)show in Warsaw in 2015 (curator Klima Bocheńska). Her photographs were featured at group shows, including the Call Me on Sunday show in the Galerie Krinzinger in Vienna (2014, curator Ursula Maria Probst), the Jam Factory gallery in Oxford (2014), and the Face to Face show in Stuttgart (2014). In 2015, Tarasiewicz was chosen by the New York Times magazine as one of only two Poles for the prestigious portfolio review in NYC.