European Prospects
Exploring European Identity through Photography

Michal Iwanowski

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Michal Iwanowski

Michal Iwanowski

Biography

Michal Iwanowski is a Polish born, Cardiff based artist and a current Ffotogallery tutor. Iwanowski studied Documentary Photography at the University of Wales, Newport, graduating in 2008. His work explores the relationship between landscape and memory; marking the silent passing of otherwise insignificant individuals and histories. In 2009, he won the Emerging Photographers award by Magenta Foundation, as well as being given a Honourable Mention at Px3 Prix De Photographie, Paris. Iwanowski received Arts Council of Wales and Wales Arts International grants for his projects Clear of People and Fairy Fort Project and in 2012 had a residency in Kaunas, supported by the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture.

Portfolio Minus the Mother

“Psychoanalysis uses the term 'anticipatory grief' referring to 'the feelings experienced by those waiting for someone to die. Knowing their loved one is dying, they start the mourning process before the actual death. (...)

But it could be argued that anticipatory grief is in fact a phenomenon that occurs when the one we are mourning is very far from death. (...)

The result of anticipatory grief is the painful realization that the object already contains the possibility of its non-existence. A nothingness is created. (Darian Leader)

Talking was not easy for either of us. So instead - we started making photographs, in the woods surrounding my parents' house. Mama would ask what she should wear, and swe would walk into the landscape.

We did that for two years. 

In the meantime, mama's emails to me took a different tone - in a beautiful, poetic language, she shared with me fragments of her dreams, her scattered thoughts about the lost time, and the overwhelming fear of losing yet more of it. In those letters she told what a child does not necessarily want to hear from their parents. 

Yet I asked those questions. Hoping it might leave me prepared for the future.

It is an unsettling and daring move to talk about a loved person as if they were no longer alive. 

With this project, I am encouraging you to think about your losses, those that have happened, and more so, about those that are still to take place. 

I am inviting you to meet my mother.”

Michal Iwanowski

Portfolio Clear of People

Michal Iwanowski’s work retraces an epic journey his grandfather and great uncle made in 1945 after escaping from a prisoner-of-war camp in Russia, and in extreme hardship walked 2000km to Poland in search of their family.

Clear of People documents this journey. The images and writing capture Iwanowski’s own travels through landscape marked by history as well as echoing his grandfather’s experience of a quest for safety in a hostile environment.

Publications

Publications: 

2010 BLOWN MAGAZINE, October 2010

2009 FLASH FORWARD, Emerging Photographers 2009, The Magenta Foundation

2008 BRITISH JOURNAL OF PHOTOGRAPHY, December 2008

2007 SOURCE, Issue 51

Exhibitions: 

2014 Clear Of People, Ffotogallery, Cardiff, UK

2011 Eisteddfod, Y Lle Celf Exhibition at the National Eisteddfod of Wales, Wrexham, UK

2010 Strange Bedfellows II, The Assembly Rooms, London, UK

2010 Flash Forward, Griffin Museum of Photography, Boston, USA

2010 Dialogue: A Fake Romance?, Elysium Gallery, Swansea, UK

Additional information: 

In October 2009, Iwanowski was commissioned by Wales Arts International to make work as part of the Fairy Fort Project on a roadtrip across Western Ireland.