Zbigniew Łagocki. CERTAIN Boundaries

Temporary exhibitions

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  • Saturday, September 25, 2021, 6:00 PM - Sunday, November 14, 2021

One of the greatest Polish photographers of the 20th century, occasionally stepping beyond the boundaries of intimacy, he always remained faithful to the ideals of beauty and humanism. He has created a series of iconic portraits of eminent Cracovians and documented the activities of Piwnica Pod Baranami and local theatres. The exhibition at Manggha Museum includes the cycles Aerotica, Body Building and Touches.

Crossing ‘certain boundaries’ is a frequent and important element in Łagocki’s work. It exists in different modes – knowingly or unknowingly. Directly or indirectly – symbolically. It has various meanings. It is a way of delving into knowledge, exploring the world with a desire to understand it, and also a desire to understand another human being. It is also a way of negotiating and crossing physical boundaries, or the boundaries of intimacy, an attempt to understand the world through oneself – one’s own vision, limitations, knowledge, and culture – all the way to ‘designing it’ in photography. The artist consciously deals with important and difficult issues, in which it is allowable to cross boundaries; any boundaries; certain boundaries. However, Łagocki’s photographs never seek to capture attention through graphic imagery. They are manifestos of beauty and humanism instead. (Maria Luiza Pyrlik, curator)

Zbigniew Łagocki was a highly valued artist, instigator of artistic activities and events, and teacher, one of the most prominent figures in Polish photography; he took part in a number of photographic competitions in Poland and abroad, and received over 20 medals. He had more than 20 solo shows and participated in dozens of collective exhibitions at home and all over the world.
Born in 1927 in Lwów (now Lviv in Ukraine), after the Second World War he and his parents were forced to move to Kraków. An architect by education, between 1959 and 1963 he worked for Höfer & Stryjeński in Geneva. During that time he crossed boundaries, travelling to France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, and other countries. He explored.
He was involved in photography all his life. From 1957, he took part in various photographic exhibitions, in which he received awards, and was also invited to be a juror in contests at home and abroad. In 1967, he received his most cherished award – the gold medal at the São Paulo Art Biennial for his series of photographs Aerotica. His travels and command of the French language enabled him to function on the international photographic scene. He was awarded the Jan Bułhak Medal for his outstanding artistic achievement in photography.
In 1968, he organized the subsequently famous exhibition of Polish Subjective Photography, enlisting the cooperation of Zbigniew Dłubak. Another collaboration with Dłubak was the 1971 show Beginner Photographers. Łagocki organized exhibitions of Contemporary Polish Photography in several countries, e.g. in Switzerland and Mexico. In the meantime, he showed his own works in solo shows at home and abroad, and participated in collective exhibitions.
From 1977 Zbigniew Łagocki taught photography at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, where he created and headed Poland’s first Photography Chair, and also served as a prorector. In 1994 the title of Professor of Fine Arts was conferred upon him.
He was active to the end, photographing and creating exhibitions; his last one, entitled My Mountains, was shown in April 2009.
He died in May 2009 in Kraków.
In 2017, the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków published a sizeable retrospective monograph on his work, entitled Zbigniew Łagocki.

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