Łukasz Trzciński
The Cabinet of Good History
15th march 2014
to 18th april 2014

Łukasz Trzciński’s exhibition The Cabinet of Good History focuses on visual memory (to quote Susan Sontag, we ‘only remember photographs’) and its incessant transformations of reality.

The departure point is provided by the cabinet of an employee of a small cultural institution in Upper Silesia who, possessed by an obsession for ‘protecting the image’, archives all the photographs he comes across which are of any historical significance. The photographs ‘secured’ in this manner – often key images from the history of the region – lose their basic informative details. The obsession with conservation spontaneously transforms itself into a mechanism of erasing details. The activities of a man obsessed becomes a striking, multilayer metaphor for working with an image as a conduit of content, for the prevalent boom in archiving and digitising and for historic records in general.

Basing his work on objects inspired by historic images and their details found in the xerographic studio of the obsessive Silesian archivist and in institutional archives as well as private photo albums of local residents, Łukasz Trzciński asked members of the local embroidery club to make some rugs based on ‘erased’ images from the history of the region, stripped of detail through the process of digitisation. The re-created and ‘hand-embroidered’ past regains its colour, re-created as deemed right by the embroidering women, keen on their craft. History provides scope for one’s own inspiration, incessant re-creation, operating on history itself. The photographs and documents used in the exhibition acquire the status of ambiguous authorship, which keeps changing from the moment of the making the original record via subsequent reproductions by the archivist and the embroiderers.

The exhibition is accompanied by Agnieszka Kilian’s essay, ‘Anarchy in the Archive’, and a discussion panel featuring Agnieszka Kilian, Stanisław Ruksza, and Łukasz Trzciński, moderated by Kuba Śwircz.


The project was created as part of Project Metropolis, a programme co-organised by CCA Kronika, Bytom and Imago Mundi Foundation. Its first presentation took place at the Kronika in Bytom. The presentation in Warsaw is co-organized by Asymetria Foundation.

07.03.2014 14:31:02

Born in 1975 in Krakow, began working with the medium of photography as a documentalist and received many Polish and international awards such as Pictures of the Year International (2004, 2006) or Grand Prix of the European Central Bank Annual Award in 2005; his works have twice won The Photo of the Year of Polish Press Photography (1999, 2002). In the course of his long work with involved photographic images he began to show growing interest in a discussion of its function, almost rejecting his own photographic practice. Assuming an analytic stance in relation to the medium of photography, he shifts from the author's position to an observation point, frequently transferring the responsibility for the creation to others. Since 1999 he has been working on a multi-dimensional project entitled "New Europe", which also reflects to a considerable extent the evolution of the artist's approach to photography. Initially Trzciński focuses on the processes of an individual's adaptation to the changing mechanisms of the system and the society. The constantly developing project involves 21 series based on the photographic medium. "New Europe" discusses contemporary local topics of the diversifying countries from the perspective of the political, economic and cultural backgrounds. It reveals a legacy of the previous system's burdens and historical entanglements. Although for this reason the whole project is set in specific geographic boundaries and draws on the identity of particular societies, subsequent narratives seem to go beyond the initial constraints as the recipients discover their bearing on a frequently distant reality. "New Europe" thus becomes a kind of global master-key when planning new horizon, it is a universal substitute term. In 2011, the opening "New Europe" exhibition in L'Espace Photographique Contretype in Brussels won Łukasz Trzciński a nomination for the Deutsche Borse Prize.

28.09.2012 14:30:42

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Łukasz Trzciński
The Cabinet of Good History