Zofia Rydet. Photography
The National Museum in Szczecin
Wały Chrobrego 3 | Wały Chrobrego 3

The exhibition arranged in cooperation with Contemporary Art Gallery Miejsce sztuki 44 in Świnoujście and Zofia Rydet Foundation in Cracow. 

Curator: Andrzej Pawełczyk (Galeria ms44)
The National Museum in Szczecin coordinator: Wojciech Ciesielski

The National Museum in Szczecin, 3 Wały Chrobrego St.
Exhibition open from August 12th to October 8th 2017. 

Zofia Rydet’s photographical output stirs with it hugeness, artistic quality and – what is also important – the strength of historic record. Primarily not valued properly, placed in the context of photo-amateur movement, presently becomes inspiration for generations of creators and researchers, with its author becoming an icon. Her sensitivity recorded in black-and-white pictures is spread between two poles: realistic and seemingly reserved approach of "The Sociological Record", probably the most recognizable cycle in her output, and symbolic and emotional one in, for instance, collages of "The World of Feelings and Imagination". On one hand, roughness of documentary image, on the other – expressive, surrealistic compositions. The second ones, in contemporary, cynic world, to some may, because of their sentimentalism, seem troublesome, embarrassing, on the verge of kitsch. However, their co-existence with reportage cycles reinforces their influential force.

A humble part of great output is presented on an exhibition at The National Museum in Szczecin. It will be comprised of works from the cycles "Time of Vanishing", "World of Feelings and Imagination" and "Infinity of Far Ways". 

 

Zofia Rydet – one of the most outstanding individuals of Polish photography. She was born on May 5th 1911 in Stanisławów in Eastern Borderlands, daughter of Józefa and Ferdynand Rydet. In 1933 graduated from Główna Szkoła Gospodarcza in Snopków near Lviv, then worked in Orbis office in Stanisławów. There she faced the war and three occupations: Soviet, Hungarian and German ones. After the war and short stay in Rabka she settled in Bytom, where she run a stationer's and toy shop. At the age of 40 she discovered her youthful fascination with photography again. In 1954, encouraged by success in local photographic competitions, she joined Photographic Association in Gliwice, where she developed her skills and friendships with other photographers. In 1961, as a member of ZPAF – Polish Artist Photographers Association – she moved from Bytom to Gliwice, where, since 1963, she taught photography at The University of Technology in Gliwice. Simultaneously, she was sending her photographs to international photography competitions in Poland and abroad, winning medals, honorary mentions and international AFIAP and EFIAP titles. He travelled a lot in 1960s, visiting, among others, Yugoslavia, Italy, Egypt, Greece, Lebanon, Albania, Spain and Hungary.
She took reporter photographs of children for her first important cycle entitled “Little Human”, shown on a number of individual exhibitions, and in 1964 published as an album. Her further photographic actions were dedicated to human: “Time of Vanishing” related to senility and,  created continuously since late 1960s, cycle of surrealistic photomontages and collages “World of Feelings and Imagination”, presented as a slideshow with a music background. The consequence of her fascination with human and the aim of her numerous travels around Poland was, created since 1978, a monumental “Sociological Record”. In late 1970s Zofia Rydet presented her conceptual cycle “Infinity of Far Ways”. The last important series was, made at the turn of 1980s and 1990s, “Silesian Suite” including self-quotations from earlier photographs. They were collages and photomontages, composed like folk sacral images, completed with field flowers, fragments of textiles and newspaper clippings. Zofia Rydet died on August 24th 1997 in Gliwice. Her works are found in the most important Polish collections: The National Museum in Wrocław, The Museum of Art in Łódź, The Silesian Museum in Katowice, The Museum of History of Photography in Cracow, The Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw and abroad in Museum of Modern Art in New York, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto and in National Museum of Photography, Film and Television in Bradford. The group of people closest to her were the most important individuals of Polish photography environment, artists and theorists, including: Anna Beata Bohdziewicz, Leszek Brogowski, Adam Bujak, Jerzy Busza, Urszula Czartoryska, Jerzy Garztecki, Jerzy Lewczyński, Krystyna Łyczywek, Józef Robakowski, Andrzej Różycki, Adam Sobota, Stefan Wojnecki. The main part of her output is presently a deposit of Zofia Rydet Foundation, the purpose of which is to promote and re-define the artist’s output.

 

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