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 36 photographs from this unusual and rarely shown collection.


The artist described it as “a metaphorical story about life and roads” and added the struc­ture of a quasi-​conceptual typology in which images of empty roads, road signs and cros­ses were juxtaposed. Despite the univer­salist con­cept, the specific photographs have an individual charac­ter, and the whole, apart from the sym­bolic meaning, can also be read as an original nar­rative about the Polish land­scape. The artist focuses on tel­ling details—tawdry road­side and cemetery cros­ses with cast crucifixes, ruts in dirt roads, and cracks in asphalt sur­faces. The over­whel­ming materiality of these inalienable elements of the everyday land­scape under­lines the metaphysical meanings inscribed in them. The critic Jerzy Busza described the space depic­ted by the artist as “incredibly abs­tract and tan­gibly con­crete, metaphysical and real.” Disc­losing the trajec­tories of human destinies from rem­nants of local material cul­ture was a special feature of Rydet’s photographic prac­tice. Her photos, poignan­tly simple, sometimes even raw, are also dense with details and textures. What at first comes across as poverty also conveys sur­prising diver­sity and rich­ness. The semiotic land­scape created by Rydet stun­nin­gly com­bines dif­ferent orders of photographic observation: typological documen­tation and creative photography. The artist often sub­jec­ted the images recor­ded on the negative to fur­ther proces­sing using the solarization tech­nique, which impar­ted an unreality to the shots and gave them a cosmic aura. In this specific microcosm, played out in greyscale, in the artist’s words, “Only one direc­tion of movement, towards death, is certain.”



Zofia Rydet

4.02 – 25.03.2023