Stefan Szczygieł. His photographic and film work

Warschau_Urban-Panorama_01
Documentary photos for the Urban Panorama installation in the “Centrum” underground railway station in Warsaw in front of the Palace of Culture and Science. Urban Panorama I, 2007/2008, 5oo x 18oo cm.

Stefan Szczygieł’s films reveal very specific artistic characteristics. By slowing down the shooting speed and giving the result a slow-motion effect he decelerates the urban landscape and gains an important moment of abstraction. Furthermore, since the films were shot in black-and-white, the cities seemed utterly different from real cities with their pulsating speed and frequencies. Nonetheless the films do not seem anachronistic or lifted out of time like the Blow Ups. It is rather the case that Szczygieł used the lack of colour, the deceleration and the resulting degree of abstraction to dis-locate experiential time clearly from real time. Thus we, the viewers, experience the city between two aggregate conditions and this makes it seem new, unseen and extremely innovative. We think the real city has changed places with its cinematic lookalike, or at least has been mixed up with it. In addition Szczygieł’s choice of showing the film in black-and-white suggests a historic component; for we only know this in the form of technically simple, old-fashioned “newsreels” that were shown in cinemas in the mid 1950s.

Thus it is no surprise – indeed it is much more characteristic – that the premiere of the films ZEITFLUG – Hamburg and ZEITFLUG – Warsaw at the 17th Hamburg Film Festival in 2009 in the “Metropolis Kino” took place as a guest showing in the old “Savoy” cinema.
It is worth mentioning a further characteristic in the film series: Szczygieł shoots his films from a slightly lower perspective as if the camera is being held by a child. This makes everything appear to be larger. Even people seem to be taller than they are and this shift in perspective is linked in the minds of the viewers with the idea of “discovery”, just as children discover their surroundings. Indeed, the decelerated, washed out space in ZEITFLUG gives people of all ages a chance to discover the world anew.

Another remarkable factor is decisive for the quality of his films. The passers-by and protagonists do not seem to be aware of the camera. No one looks into the lens, feels observed or consciously reacts to the fact that they are being filmed. No one waves their hand, glances unsurely or turns away, although Szczygieł sometimes comes extremely near. Without using a telescopic lens, the camera show a man’s upper arm, the hands of a woman reading a book, and the wrinkles on the face of a homeless man. We get to see the surfaces of objects just as we are able to observe the material of the headscarf worn by a young woman. The townsfolk move around normally in a completely relaxed fashion as if the camera does not exist. The connection between existence and people’s behaviour on the street, independent of their activities and the way in which Szczygieł uses his camera, turns some of the slow-motion images of the people into stills, in both senses of the word (sculptures and snapshots), and parts of the urban architecture.
 

 

Mediathek
  • Stefan Szczygieł

    Stefan Szczygieł

    Stefan Szczygieł, 2009 in Hamburg. Photo: Hinrich Franck
  • Coin

    Coin

    From the series “Blow Ups”, 2001-2005, “Coin” (5 cents), photogram, 200 x 200 cm.
  • Silberdose

    Silberdose

    From the series “Blow Ups”, 2001-2005, “Silver tin”, photogram, 200 x 260 cm.
  • Blatt

    Blatt

    From the series “Blow Ups”, 2001-2005, “Leaf” (Brooch), photogram, 350 x 200 cm.
  • Buch

    Buch

    From the series “Blow Ups”, 2001-2005, “Book” (Collection of legal regulations), photogram, 230 x 200 cm.
  • Latarka-Elekrodyn

    Latarka-Elekrodyn

    From the series “Blow Ups”, 2001-2005, “Elektrodyn”, photogram, 250 x 200 cm.
  • Feuerzeug

    Feuerzeug

    From the series “Blow Ups”, 2001-2005, “Cigarette lighter”, photogram, 200 x 300 cm.
  • Guzik

    Guzik

    From the series “Blow Ups”, 2001-2005, “Guzik”, photogram, 200 x 200 cm.
  • Telefon

    Telefon

    From the series “Blow Ups”, 2001-2005, “Telephone”, photogram, 200 x 260 cm
  • Taschenuhr

    Taschenuhr

    From the series “Blow Ups”, 2001-2005, “Pocket watch” (opened), photogram, 250 x 200 cm.
  • Zorki

    Zorki

    From the series “Blow Ups”, 2001-2005, “Zorki”, photogram, 200 x 300 cm.
  • Warschau, Brücke

    Warschau, Brücke

    From the series “Urban Spaces”, 2005-2009, “Warsaw, Bridge”, Inkjet photo print, 60 x 170 cm (Edition: 10).
  • Warschau, Hala Mirowska

    Warschau, Hala Mirowska

    From the series “Urban Spaces”, 2005-2009, “Warsaw, Hala Mirowska”, Inkjet photo print, 60 x 170 cm (Edition: 10).
  • Warschau, Złote Tarasy

    Warschau, Złote Tarasy

    From the series “Urban Spaces”, 2005-2009, “Warsaw, Zlote Tarasy”, Inkjet photo print, 80 x 170 cm (Edition: 10).
  • Warschau, Klostermauer

    Warschau, Klostermauer

    From the series “Urban Spaces”, 2005-2009, “Warsaw, cloister wall” (Powisle), Inkjet photo print, 60 x 144 cm (Edition: 10).
  • Warschau, Stadion

    Warschau, Stadion

    From the series “Urban Spaces”, 2005-2009, “Warsaw, stadium”, Inkjet photo print, 60 x 200 cm.
  • Warschau, Dach

    Warschau, Dach

    From the series “Urban Spaces”, 2005-2009, “Warsaw, roof”, Inkjet photo print, 110 x 100 cm.
  • Warschau, Saski Park

    Warschau, Saski Park

    From the series “Urban Spaces”, 2005-2009, “Warsaw, Saski Park”, Inkjet photo print, 60 x 170 cm (Edition: 10).
  • Warschau, Ursynów

    Warschau, Ursynów

    From the series “Urban Spaces”, 2005-2009, “Warsaw, Ursynòw”, Inkjet photo print, 108 x 60 cm (Edition: 10).
  • Warschau, Park

    Warschau, Park

    From the series “Urban Spaces”, 2005-2009, “Warsaw, Saski Park”, Inkjet photo print, 60 x 170 cm (Edition: 10).
  • Warschau, Łazienkowska

    Warschau, Łazienkowska

    From the series “Urban Spaces”, 2005-2009, “Warsaw, Łazienkowska”, Inkjet photo print, 60 x 170 cm.
  • Warschau, Przystanek tramwajowy

    Warschau, Przystanek tramwajowy

    From the series “Urban Spaces”, 2005-2009, “Warsaw, Przystanek tramwajowy”, Inkjet photo print, 100 x 240 cm.
  • Köln, Hohenzollernbrücke

    Köln, Hohenzollernbrücke

    From the series “Urban Spaces”, 2005-2009, “Cologne, Hohenzollern bridge”, Inkjet photo print, 85 x 240 cm.
  • Köln, Hauptbahnhof

    Köln, Hauptbahnhof

    From the series “Urban Spaces”, 2005-2009, “Cologne, Central Station”, Inkjet photo print, 100 x 230 cm.
  • Köln, Museum Ludwig

    Köln, Museum Ludwig

    From the series “Urban Spaces”, 2005-2009, “Cologne, Ludwig Museum”, Inkjet photo print, 150 x 240 cm.
  • Paris, Notre Dame

    Paris, Notre Dame

    From the series “Urban Spaces” 2005-2009, “Paris, Notre Dame”, Inkjet photo print, 95 x 240 cm.
  • Paris, Louvre

    Paris, Louvre

    From the series “Urban Spaces”, 2005-2009, “Paris, Louvre”, Inkjet photo print, 95 x 240 cm.
  • Paris, Seine-Ufer

    Paris, Seine-Ufer

    From the series “Urban Spaces”, 2005-2009, “Paris, Bank of the Seine”, Inkjet photo print, 80 x 240 cm.
  • Warschau, Urban Panorama I

    Warschau, Urban Panorama I

    Documentary photos for the Urban Panorama installation in the “Centrum” underground railway station in Warsaw in front of the Palace of Culture and Science. Urban Panorama I, 2007/2008, 5oo x 18oo cm.
  • Warschau, Urban Panorama II

    Warschau, Urban Panorama II

    Documentary photos for the Urban Panorama installation in the “Centrum” underground railway station in Warsaw in front of the Palace of Culture and Science. Urban Panorama II, 2007/2008, 5oo x 18oo cm...