Dorota Walentynowicz CHERISH

Opening: 1.07.2022, 18.00-21.00
Date: 1.07-4.09.2022
Venue: 4G, ul. Szeroka 37
Artist: Dorota Walentynowicz
Curator: Anna Ciabach
Visual identification: Julia Porańska
Opening hours: Tue-Sun Noon-7 PM

Dorota Walentynowicz's exhibition "Cherish" presents a selection of the artist's works: objects, photographs, installations and documentations, stretched on a grid of meanings that describes the relationships between women and cameras. In keeping with her transversal practice (from Latin transversus —  situated or lying across), the artist moves freely among disciplines, media, epochs and notions, between the private and the public, the material and the conceptual, between care and oppression. 

In her works, Walentynowicz experiments with the mechanics of images — she anthropomorphises the photographic camera but, at the same time, she goes beyond the anthropocentric perspective of the photographic act itself. She uses digital algorithms to analyse the potential infinity of the stream of images on the Internet, only to return a moment later to her ceramic sculptures, suggestively alluding to the primal and the corporeal. 

The starting point (or rather one of many) in this exhibition is the history of an American company — Kodak, a manufacturer of photographic equipment, that addressed its offer to female users from the very beginning of its activity. Kodak advertised its roll films and easy-to-use cameras, first produced in 1888, as tools used primarily to record family memories. In this way, women — in addition to their traditional roles — became domestic documentarians and archivists, gaining the opportunity to make the photographic record of their own history, thus joining a culture based on mass consumption with all the consequences of these processes.

Today, the widespread possibility of taking photographs with cell phones and, above all, the access to tools for making them public have radically changed our reality. The consequences of these changes are cyber-activism and hashtag revolutions, in which women are the initiators and active participants, along with virtual violence and disinformation. 

The eponymous "cherish" in English means to care for, to hold something or someone dear, and to adore something. At the same time, it is the name of Kodak's newest product — a kit that monitors infants’ behaviour in real time, also known as an “electronic nanny”. In Walentynowicz's case, the title "Cherish" operates on many levels: as a traditional task ascribed to women but also as a postulate of contemporary post-feminist movements based on the ethics of care or, in another perspective, as a hidden tool of control and restriction.


Anna Ciabach