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Polish spouses/ Małżeństwo po polsku

This ongoing project has been created together with one of known Polish photojournalists,  my ex-husband, Przemek Wierzchowski. The roles of the title couple have been played by the authors.  Here, it is to highlight how easy it was to undermine the idealistic vision of a nation that had once aspired to be a member of the modern democratic and diverse European community... 

Playing particular roles in front of the camera, they tell the stories  from daily-life of Polish society. Sometimes sentimental, sometimes funny or tragicomic, but always critical, the images show not only private situations of the couple but also current social and political reality of the country. What we can see here, is usually an unleavened, orthodox Poland, mentally and intellectually limited, plunged in populism and misogyny, where politicians, instead of creating and raising social standards, opened the real Pandora's Box. Under the rules of ultra-right “Law and Justice” party, the society, once proud of having won the battle with the communistic system, unexpectedly turned back toward old times when such terms as “freedom” or “democracy”  were just a hot air. How simply it was to achieve: to start considering the worst qualities as the most desirable ones. It appears that disrupting integrity of a community, regressing it and breaking into extremely hostile parties is as easy as falling off a log...

The opening picture with the couple holding religious portraits is the symbol of Polish Catholic society, ossified, deeply rooted in unhealthy traditions, closed to progress and contemptuous of “others” of any kind. You will find here hypocrisy, boozing under the ubiquitous crucifix, hate and violence toward strangers, radical nationalistic attitudes and a sharp division between the only “real Poles” and  the colourful “enemies” of Polish identity...

This electrifying mixture has been shown in a convention of the old-fashioned trashy wedding portraits of married people captured in bombastic poses (so called “monidła”). The images were then intentionally retouched in a tawdry, cheap manner. The exhibition prints were once framed in old, often shabby gilded frames...

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