Leszek Sczaniecki “Oostblok Connections” 9.06 – 14.07.2007

June 9, 2007 11:05 pm Published by
Logo Gallery WM
Leszek Sczaniecki
Leszek Sczanieck ‘Oostblok Connection’
Het Westen en het voormalig ‘Oostblok’ zijn voor het eerst sinds WO II volledig vrij om elkaar te ontmoeten. Leszek Sczaniecki, Pools van origine, wil ons introduceren in de poëtische wereld van Oost-Europa, vol warme, expressieve karakters. Geïnspireerd door zijn theater achtergrond, presenteert de fotograaf zijn personages tegen hun natuurlijke achtergrond met een uitstraling van hun innerlijke schoonheid. Zijn het ook nog steeds de droombeelden waarmee het Westen het Oosten bekijkt?
For the first time since World War II, Eastern and Western Europe have been able to freely meet on equal footing. Through his photographs, Leszek Sczaniecki, originally Polish, wants to introduce us to the picturesque, poetic world of Eastern Europe full of its natural warmth and expressive characters. Inspired by his theatre background Leszek Sczaniecki portrays his subjects against the landscape from which they have grown, bringing out their inner beauty. Are these still the same symbolic images through which the West perceives the East…?


Leszek Sczaniecki
Leszek Sczaniecki “Oostblok Connections”
In order to avoid political humdrum about east and west and how painful they try to meet, I was thinking about a different angle to tackle the title of the exhibition: Oostblok Connections.
Years ago I was on an international conference on identity and roots. For a native American Indian roots were a piece of sky and a hill slope. For some Europeans roots were their adherence to bold national history. But the prevailing tone in the statements – and a convincing one for me – was of roots as your emotional blueprint, the anchor your identity rests upon. The place you return to in your mind, with your emotions, with or in your dreams.In other words, your roots are like a “safe heaven”, the place where you come to rest, where you feel at ease, in harmony with yourself. This place can be grim, can be unpleasant or can be delicious, but whatever it is, it is giving the feeling you’re in the right place.
Looking at the pictures of Leszek Sczaniecki, you see exactly this. You see people in a natural part of their own small, traditional habitat, a part they seem to be in harmony with. We live in a globalizing world, we run around the globe, we are often told that we mix into something like a homo globicus. But looking at he pictures here, we see that this is only very partly true. Everybody needs his safe heaven, his little own roots, his unique habitat.

I first met Leszek Sczaniecki almost 30 years ago. I was at that time engaged in organizing performances for Teatr Ósmego Dnia “the Theatre of the Eight’s Day” from Poznan in Poland. Leszek was photographer and light-engineer in that theatre. When he settled in Amsterdam in the late eighties, we of course found each other again. I am sure Leszek will agree, that apart from his pictures, which I have seen on numerous exhibitions in Amsterdam – among others here at Wanda’s in 2001 and 2004 – I know something about him from numerous discussions we had. Discussions, in which he very vehemently defended his roots against all kinds of alien infringements, attempts to assimilate him. Leszek almost always portrays people, or settings in which people are traceable. Whether that’s a theatre or a farmers house, a bar or a field. He protects them in their own natural self.

The title Oostblok Connections is in this respect slightly provocative. I accept the challenge.
Remember, that whoever comes here from wherever, carries his roots with him. And even when a person assimilates, he withdraws in his own safe heaven to recuperate. If you remember that, you can start to respect one’s roots, one’s otherness. If you go abroad yourself, you should remember, that you meet people in their natural habitat. And if both sides acknowledge each others right to possess such roots, there may start a beginning of a process of better understanding. So that one day Dutch and Poles will accept each other with the same mixture of curiosity and indifference, as for example Belgium and Spanish consider their relations today. With regards to Eastern or Central Europe and its Western part still something has to be done, and Leszek definitely provides a contribution to that.
Herewith I declare the exhibition Oostblok Connections officially opened.

Jan Minkiewicz

Leszek Sczaniecki
Leszek Sczaniecki “Oostblok Connections”
Leszek Sczaniecki was gedurende 10 jaar als fotograaf verbonden aan de Poolse theatergroep Teatr Ósmego Dnia. Sinds zijn vestiging in Nederland (1987) maakt hij als freelance fotograaf foto’s van diverse theaterproducties in binnen- en buitenland. Het is dan ook geen toeval dat in zijn fotografisch werk het documentaire portret centraal staat.

mei 1995 : Fotofestival Naarden, Portfolio Galerij (solo)
November/December 1996 : Educatief Centrum Kennemerland, Haarlem (solo)
Maart 1998 : “Ontmoetingen in Polen” TrappenGalerij, Scheltema, Amsterdam (solo)
Juni 1998 : Instituut voor Sociale Geschiedenis, Amsterdam (solo)
Augustus 1999 : Fotoinstallatie op het theaterfestival ‘Girovagando’ Sassari, Sardinie (solo)
Maart 2000 : “Polen in de Bijlmer” De Bijlmer Galerie
28/6/2001 – 2/9/2001 20 x 20 inches of Holland, WM Gallery, Amsterdam
27/9/2002 – 20/10/2002: Tweede Fotografenavond tentoonstelling, ABC Treehouse Gallery, Amsterdam
22/11/2003 – 20/12/2003: Egosentrika, WM Gallery, Amsterdam
23/9/2004 – 31/10/2004 Water, ABC Treehouse Gallery – Amsterdam
23/10/2004 – 7/11/2004: 30 Dirty Pictures, WM Gallery (Wanda Michalak) – Amsterdam
Februari 2005: De regen tegemoet, TrappenGalerij, Scheltema, Amsterdam (solo)
5/10/2006 – 29/10/2006: Fotografenavondtentoonstelling 2006: Music in the Air, ABC Treehouse Gallery, Amsterdam

Website: www.leszeks.com

Leszek Sczaniecki
Leszek Sczaniecki “Oostblok Connections”