“Twenty Twenty” Wanda Michalak, Pete Purnell, Pim Vlug 25.01 – 22.02.2020November 14, 2019 4:17 pm
Celebrating the 20 years anniversary of Gallery WM.
January 24th thru February 22nd, 2020
Gallery WM is celebrating it’s 20 year anniversary. We will do that by presenting a retrospective by the Gallery’s founder and namesake; Wanda Michalak. This exhibition will show known and iconic photographs by Michalak, as well as previously unseen work. This will be complemented by video-montages by WM’s resident photographer Pete Purnell as well as a mega-painting by Pim Vlug.
When Wanda Michalak and Paul Schäublin opened this quirky space in January of the year 2000, Gallery WM was envisioned to be a space showing true photographer’s photography; images that would be appreciated by professionals in the field. In the twenty years since, that field has evolved exponentially. With this continuing tectonic redefinition of the photographic field, so too Gallery WM has changed with it. From analogue to digital, black & white to enhanced saturation, classically framed vintage prints to hanging installations, a focus on aesthetics to concept-driven deconstructions, WM has seen and shown it all and more.
We invite you to come together and celebrate our anniversary with us! For we were there in 2000 and we are still here twenty years later, showing, exposing, presenting and exhibiting. Doubtlessly, we will be here twenty years hence! So please come, and make merry, and raise a glass, and make a toast to the next twenty years. Gallery WM cordially invites you all!
“Twenty Twenty” Opening 24 January 2020
Video Sebastian Rypson live from Varanasi (uncut version): https://vimeo.com/389196019
Opening Speech by Jaap Bisjterbosch
Once upon a time there was that girl in Poland who walked around in the magical darkroom of the photograhic shop of her mother. She smelled the mysterious odors of the chemicals and became fascinated by the photograghic image. At her 9th she got her first photo camera and grew up. She became a lover, a mother, a world traveller, a wife. She often took her camera with her so at first & at last she became a photographer. As a photograher she got interrested in portraits, landscapes, nudes. And long before people invented the stupid selfies she made beautiful selfportraits.
When a photographer is doing so many things, building up such a rich oeuvre, I always tend to search for a central theme, an important detail that al the pictures have in common. Looking for a word or expression that describes the real meaning of Wanda’s work the following came into my mind: Strength from being vulnerable . Her subjects often are vulnerable, almost fragile & and the same time strong, almost powerful. Think for instance of her series about men twenty years ago. Twenty years ago I wrote about these Men About: (quote) You photographed them in the nude: mostly strong and confident, but sometimes also vulnerable, even with a trace of innocence.(end of quote)
Her photographs of landscapes for instance in the series “Bon Soir Madame La lune”. The nightly landscapes are fragile, but at the same time they give in a romantic way a feeling of timeless power of the moonlight.
Or her photos of the Australian Magpies. She became friends with them, because she had an open eye for the power and the fragility of these feathered beings at the same time.
In 1991, 29 years ago, I invited Wanda into a special project of 4 photographers with the theme of the 4 elements. Wanda was working on the wind. She made the beautiful photo of herself standing on the top of a sand dune with a long sheet in her hand. The greater part of the sheet carried by the wind. Wanda Wind was her nickname. You can see this photo today. I think it is a precursor of her later series World Watching.
This combination and at the same time this paradox of strength and vulnerability is very visible in what I think is her key work:
“World watching”. In this series made on the spot in beautiful landscapes in the entire world her naked body becomes the landscape. Or the landscape becomes a naked body. Anyway her presence in the sheer beauty of the scene is of an overwhelming fragility and endless strength at the same time. She started this series in 1992 and I wonder if it will ever end. Frankly I don’t hope so.
We are also here today because 20 years ago this gallery started. The idea was Wanda’s I think. Twenty years ago she told me in this very room about the dreams she had. I wrote in a letter to her: (quote) So I think it’s good that you are starting a gallery of your own. An international photographer’s photo gallery. Where you want to show photo’s, which are real photographic. I’m convinced that it’s very necessary such an exhibition room came up.
It’s also good to hear that you want to organize special projects: Photographers working together at one theme, photography combined with other forms of art.(unquote)
Looking back twenty years later I must say you succeeded. It is international, although a bit Polish, it is photographic, sometimes you do give way to other forms of art. There have been many, many group projects, and this place grew into a vivid meeting place of photographers and lovers of the photographic art from all over the world.
Of course you did not run this gallery on your own. Let’s thank Paul for his endless support and logistic genius. He’s often here and always spreads his personal atmosphere of friendly hospitality. He deserves great thanks and admiration for all that.
When I was having my show of self-portraits here some three years ago I was impressed by the team work between Wanda, Paul and of course Sebastian. Who also is very important for the 20 years of this gallery. Together with Nahuel Blaton he continued the firm as two Anthropologists in Art when Paul and Wanda went to live in Australia. Those guys have put an extra dimension of content in the gallery.
And let’s not forget the silent cooperation of Pete (Purnell). I think of his practical work and his beautiful portraits of all the artists. He is not to be missed in the next twenty years.
Well Wanda, Paul, Sebastian (all the way in India), and not to forget Pete, from the deepest of my heart congratulations with this fantastic place in the photographic world. A big hug for you all!
Jaap Bijsterbosch 2020/01/24.
Tags: Pete Purnell, Wanda Michalak, Wilhelmus (Pim) Vlug