Stefan Szczygieł. His photographic and film work
Interestingly enough Szczygieł photographs his “Domki” (the plural of “Domek”) in springtime when nature begins to awaken once more. Hence the buds and blossoms on the bushes make an even greater contrast to the abandoned morbid garden huts.
In his Domek too, Szczygieł remains true to his artistic questioning and once more points out relationships between usage, wear and tear, and aesthetics, without commenting in either the one or the other direction. The photos are sufficient unto themselves and scarcely need any “viewing instructions”.
The quality inherent in this series links Szczygieł with other series taken by international photographers. We only have to consider the urban photographs taken by the Americans, William Egglestone and Stephen Shore, or those of a younger generation taken at almost the same time as Szczygieł’s work, like the beach huts o.T. (Gouville) taken by the German photographer, Götz Diergarten. Other parallels can be seen in the Playhouses (plastic garden playhouses for children) made by the Dutch artist Wim Bosch: or in Malte Brandenburg’s Stacked, a series of photos of high-rise blocks in the suburbs of Berlin, and Kevin Bauman’s photo series of 100 Abandoned Houses in Detroit. Within the Polish art scene Szczygieł’s work is uniquely outstanding for its international themes and contexts.
Between 2008 and Szczygieł’s death in 2011 he shot his first art films with a digital camera. He gave all the films a German title, ZEITFLUG, followed by the name of the respective city (like ZEITFLUG – Warsaw for example). The series of films was shot in a number of different major European cities and not only shows urban and architectural features but, once again, how they are used in public spaces. He pointedly called his films “portraits between affinity and difference”.