exhibition: 24. November 2023 – 26. Januar 2024
opening: Thursday, November 23, 7pm
FOTOGALERIE is pleased to present the first comprehensive solo exhibition by Berlin-based photographer Natalia Kepesz. The exhibition is composed of three works from 2020-2023, all of which revolve around the perception of war in Eastern Europe with a focus on Poland, the photographer’s home country.
Iron Curtain (Text Henning Sußebach)
Since Russia’s attack on Ukraine, an Iron Curtain has closed again in the middle of Europe. How does it feel to have Russia as a neighbor? What does it mean to live now, at this time, at this global breaking point? What does everyday life look like for people who remain invisible on maps? On a journey through five countries, from Estonia to Ukraine, we meet young people who are changing their life plans. Old people who fear a repetition of history. and children who learn to shoot. An expedition into a little-known world – and yet into the soul of our continent. For Europe’s East is far more than the gray mass of disposal that some people portray it as in German talk shows.
Let this dead photograph remind you of me alive
The project deals with the stages of Polish war memory, in particular with the staging of the Second World War in Poland. The inspiration for this work is the story of my grandmother, who ran away from home at the age of 17 to fight in World War II. She sent her mother a photo from the front in 1945. On the back was written, “Let this dead photo remind you of me alive”.
The process of the project consists of taking analog black-and-white photos, which are recolored in a next step. On the one hand, this fulfills the experience longed for by many reenactment participants of “bringing to life” the old black-and-white war photographs. At the same time, the colorization work uncovers patterns of war memory.
“Niewybuch” provides an insight into the world of military camps, a phenomenon that has experienced a massive influx in Poland in recent years.
In addition to being taught military basics, children and young people are playfully indoctrinated into obedience, fearlessness and patriotism. Between fake blood, drill and unreserved use of weapons, the work raises the question of the emotional effects of military education and addresses the tension between a child’s quest for adventure and the excesses of the Polish military cult.