This album of photographs by Czesław Olszewski is a unique cultural testament to the decade just prior to the outbreak of World War II. It is a fascinating voyage to the “Warsaw of the future” via the city’s modernist architecture.
The album is an attempt to revive the integrity of the Warsaw Architecture School of the interwar period. Yet it is also a narrative of the visionary modernist perspective, of how architecture creates a new spatial and aesthetic order, and how photography invokes an awareness of this order within us.
The album presents close to 300 archive photographs of selected architectural structures in Warsaw, including public buildings, residential estates and villas, as well as the modernised highways of the 1930s. These photographs were scanned from the original, glass negatives. When possible, the photographer’s original frames were restored on the basis of existing notes.
The album is preceded by an essay by Professor Marta Leśniakowska and Piotr Jamski, specialists at the Art Institute at the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN). The text casts a closer look at the life and works of photographer Czesław Olszewski, and also explores the significance and specific character of architectural photography as a historical document.