Zofia Rydet (1911–1997), creator of the iconic Sociological Record and the fantastic World of Feelings and Imagination, was an artist gifted with a sense for observing the entropy of the world around her. This exceptional photographic perspective is revealed in all its power in the series Endlessly Distant Roads, executed in 1980. In the exhibition at Raster, we present a selection of 40 photographs from this unusual and rarely shown collection.
The new exhibition is devoted to the grey areas of the imagination—religious fervour and visions arising from an excess of metaphysical stimuli or, on the contrary, from a scarcity of such stimuli and a longing for spirituality in a world dominated by the economics of everyday pragmatism.
From the Sociological Record cycle. Myth of Photography (Raba Wyżna), 1978-1990, gelatin silver hand print, ca. 24 x 30 cm
From the Sociological Record cycle. Women on Doorsteps (Ostropa), 1980-1990, gelatin silver hand print, 24 x 18 cm
Metaphorically and seasonally, the exhibition 1000 Hands suits the climate of the pre-spring thaw, illuminating a landscape of exhaustion and approaching, intuitively sensed change. In Polish literature this metaphor carries a political dimension. In the works shown together here by Rafał Bujnowski (1974–), Peter Puklus (1980–) and Zofia Rydet (1911–1997), what is vital is the very process of transformation, and the accompanying ambivalence, the temperature of interpersonal relations and the potential of the human hands from the title.
The fabric of the skin, wrinkles, hand gestures. The joint exhibition of works by Zofia Rydet (1911–1997) and Aneta Grzeszykowska (born 1974) is a show of two artists who use the camera to construct captivating and rhetorically rich images of the female body.
The work of Zofia Rydet (1911–1997) focuses on the depiction of people. In her photographs—many of them portraits of the middle-aged and elderly—the artist betrays an inclination toward metaphor and allegory as well as an ability to capture deep empathy. Although her best-known work, a series of naturalistic portraits in residential interiors, employs the term “sociological” in its title, the intention aimed deeper. The point was to engage directly with life and its material staffage, which irrevocably ages and passes away.
Rydet associated primarily with the photography community throughout her creative life. She was one of the most active and recognized figures in Polish artistic photography of the 2nd half of the 20th century. But the power and specificity of her art extends beyond the bounds of this discipline. Rydet worked in series which she generally realized over many years, pursuing a number of them simultaneously. In developing the form of her photographs, the artist employed techniques including collage, photographic objects and typological juxtapositions, exploiting strategies drawn from conceptual, sociological and creative photography. Rydet’s most important series include Little Person, in the spirit of humanistic photography; the surrealist World of Feelings and Imagination; and the monumental and unfinished Sociological Record—the artist’s magnum opus. Rydet’s multifaceted and stylistically rich oeuvre combines strong existential traits characteristic of a generation that experienced wartime trauma, in time taking on a personal, individual cast in her works. Another key theme in her work is her broad and original treatment of the female portrait, including the autobiographical motifs that particularly enshrouded her later works.
The artist’s legacy and the study of her work are fostered by the Zofia Rydet Foundation: www.fundacjarydet.pl
- Prototypes 03: Carolina Caycedo & Zofia Rydet. Care Report, Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi, PL
- The Sword-Swallowing Toad, Austriackie Forum Kultury, Warszawa, PL (with Marianne Vlaschits)
- Family Values; Polish Photography Now, Calvert 22 Foundation, London, UK (group show)
- Répertoire (Record), 1978-1990, Jeau de Paume, Château de Tours, Tours, FR
- Głowa, skóra, twarz (Head, Skin, Face), Raster, Warszawa, PL (with Aneta Grzeszykowska)
- Zapis socjologiczny 1978-1990. Wyimki: Śląsk i Podhale, Muzeum Miejskie w Tychach, Tychy, PL
- Record 1978-1990, Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, PL
- Zapis socjologiczny, Muzeum Fotografii w Bydgoszczy, Bydgoszcz, PL
- Fotografie Zofii Rydet, Galeria Studio, Warszawa, PL
- Zapis socjologiczny (1978 – 1990), Gdańska Galeria Fotografii, Gdańsk, PL
- XII Baltic Triennial, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, LT (group show)
- Po niebie został tylko księżyc, Muzeum Tatrzańskie: Galeria Władysława Hasiora, Zakopane, PL (group show)
- Rainbow in the Dark, SALT Galata, Istanbul, TR (group show)
- Głębia ostrości, Państwowa Galeria Sztuki, Sopot, PL (group show)
- Popes, MOCAK Museum of Modern Art in Kraków, PL (group show)
- Fotomontaż sentymentalny, Galeria Asymetria, Warszawa, PL
- Dokumentalistki – polskie fotografki XX w. ( She-Documentalists—Polish Women Photographers of the 20th Century), Zachęta - National Gallery of Art, Warszawa, PL (group show)
- Fotografie (Photographs), Muzeum Narodowe we Wrocławiu, Wrocław, PL
- Fotografie (Photographs), Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi, Łódź, PL
- Hommage a Zofia Rydet, Centre Regional de la Photographie, Douchy les Mines, FR
- Fotografie. Śląskie wspomnienia, Muzeum w Gliwicach, Gliwice, PL
- Zofia Rydet czyli serce, wywiad z Zofią Rydet,rozm. Juliusz Garztecki, "Fotografia", #9, 1967 (PL)
- Krzysztof Jurecki, Zofia Rydet. Próba podsumowania dorobku twórczego, "Format", #4, 2000 (PL)
- Wojciech Wilczyk, Potrzeba zapisu, "Art&Business", 1999 (PL)
- Krzysztof Jurecki, Nieskończoność dróg w fotografii Zofii Rydet, "Kalejdoskop", #6, 1999 (PL)
- Jerzy Lewczyński, Zofia Rydet 1911-1927. Szkic biograficzny, "Wiadomości fotograficzne", 1997 (PL)
- Krzysztof Jurecki, Niekwestionowana wielkość (o Zofii Rydet), "Exit", #3, 1994 (PL)
- Wojciech Nowicki, Zofia Rydet. Zapis socjologiczny 1978-1990, Gliwice: Muzeum w Gliwicach 2016 (PL)
- Wojciech Nowicki, Dno oka – eseje o fotografii, Wołowiec: Wydawnictwo Czarne 2010 (PL)
- Barbara Panek-Sarnowska, Socjologiczność fotografii Zofii Rydet, Zielona Góra: Lubuskie Towarzystwo Fotograficzne 2005 (PL)
- Adam Sobota, O fotografiach Zofii Rydet [w:] Zofia Rydet, Śląskie wspomnienia, Gliwice 1995 (PL)