Dichotomy of Nests

The project Dichotomy of Nests tells the fate of Silesia and its inhabitants since the 1970s. It shows the dramatic division of Silesian family groups due to the massive wave of emigration to the Federal Republic of Germany that took place during this time.

This process led to the division of families, spouses were separated, parents from children, grandparents from grandchildren and siblings. Members of the same families lived in two different political systems, in different states, in different cultural areas and languages, which meant a test of strength for the stability of family ties, especially before the fall of the Iron Curtain. Although Poland’s accession to the European Union and the greater mobility associated with it have helped to facilitate the functioning of divided families, contacts between their members are primarily limited to short summer holiday or Christmas visits, so that the gap left by the emigrants cannot be filled.

The author herself comes from a family divided by emigration and speaks from experience in this project: she knows the methods of staying in contact with each other despite everything and the functioning of the family as a whole, not only in terms of large spatial distances but also on a long time scale.

The photographs of Dichotomy of Nests were taken in a domestic setting, in the private environment of the protagonists, namely in the kitchen, i.e. in a context associated with familial warmth. The portraits were exposed with the aid of the pinhole camera, an archaic medium of photography, the camera without a lens, the camera obscura, which required the subjects to remain patiently meditative in front of the camera during the long exposure time. The loneliness of these brothers and sisters on one side and on the other of the border becomes clearer for the viewer through presentations of the works in stereoscopes, which, like peep-boxes, tear the visitor out of the gallery situation and allow entry into the intimate world of the portrayed.

The project was initiated by the German-Polish artists’women initiative SilesiaTopia in spring 2012, which aims to organise art events and exhibitions on German-Polish relations and to promote an exchange of artists.

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Dichotomy of the Nests I – XV

(Pinhole stereo photographs in 16 stereoscopes)

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… :: … Exhibition in Rondo Sztuki in Katowice … :: …