It’s Always Summer There and Nothing Changes
As far as Dorota can remember, her grandparents lived in the same flat and for all those years, nothing changed there. Even many years after they both passed away, the flat remained the same. The same furniture, curtains, and souvenirs. Although the artist has never lived there herself, the flat became for her a symbol of her inviolable and strong relationship with her family, part of her identity. In 2019, the flat was renovated and put up for sale and for Dorota it felt like she was losing part of herself. After the renovation nothing looked the same, it was just an empty space with white walls and no history in it. In this empty flat with only a few pieces of furniture left, Dorota decided to train her memory by recalling her childhood plays. Starting with hide-and-seek, through recreating the artist’s fascination with chair and armchair constructions, she ended up changing into her grandma’s clothes. Dorota devoted a lot of attention to all personal properties that belonged to her grandparents, trying to place them in their original positions. While browsing through their souvenirs (souvenirs brought from exotic countries, such as letters sent from the furthest corners of the world, modern furniture) the artist realized that she had never asked about her grandparents’ background. Also, she has never wondered why the flat is situated downtown among the embassy and government departments. As a child, Dorota was unaware that this was not very typical for Polish houses but as she grew older, she learnt that it was due to her grandfather‘s involvement with the communist party. It was not a secret but nobody, even her grandmother, knew what was his part in it. The artist soon realized that the history of her family was built on secrets. Among these white walls, she felt uncertainty and lost trust in her memory. She couldn’t recreate the past from the pieces in the same way they were before. That is why the photographer decided to utilize all of her grandparents’ belongings and created something new, surreal sculptures and situations.
The photographer Dorota Stolarska (b. 1986) was born in Warsaw, Poland. She holds a graduate degree in Cultural Studies from the University of Warsaw and Photography from the University of Arts in Poznań. She also holds a Ph.D. (cand.) in Fine Arts from the Academy of Fine Arts in Łódź. She is a graduate of the seventh edition of the Migawki project (2015) organized by the Association of Creative Initiatives “ę”. Dorota draws her artistic inspiration predominantly from versatile sights of her homeland, Poland and the country’s vastly changing landscapes juxtaposed with its harsh history. In her works, she uses various media. Her photography works and photobooks have been shown at exhibitions in Poland and abroad.