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The Arc of Realism 1911-1997, by Zofia Rydet
This year we celebrate the 100th birthday anniversary of Zofia Rydet – reknown Polish photographer and artist. The exhibition is an attempt to interpret her enormous creative output. By building up on the tension linking the two most important stages of her artistic work, two great realisms – the surrealism of photomontages and pure realism of the ‘Sociological Record’ – it is meant to show the thematic unity which dominates over the diversity of formal choices. The title of the exhibition refers to the metaphorical curve of Rydet’s creative work. Starting from the realism of the 1950s, the line soars up to surrealistic photo-montages (1969-1979), to return to the purity of realism in the last stage of her career, as depicted in the monumental ‘Sociological Record’ (1978-1995). In her document of over 30,000 negatives, Zofia Rydet is faithful to reality again, and trust in a photo frame. However it is already a different kind of realism, read anew, personal, marked with the individual vision of photography and perception of the world.

In The Arc of Realism, the tight line of Zofia Rydet’s creative work, we notice the dilemma of a photographer who wants to be a documentarist, true to reality on the one hand, and aspiring to become an artist, a visionary, creating a kind of synthetic over-reality, soaring above realism, on the other. The final stage of her work shows that the artist overcame the dilemma and set out to retell the reality with total accuracy. However, it seems that for Zofia Rydet, a master of photo-montage and poetic creation, the decision was neither easy nor obvious.


Opening: 7pm 1 July
Dates: 1-15 July
Opening hours:
Mo to Fri  12-7pm
Sat & Sun  12-6pm

Centre for Creative Practice
15 Pembroke Street Lower
Dublin 2

Location Map

The works come from the collection of Fundacja im. Zofii Rydet (Zofia Rydet Foundation). Curated by Andrzej Rozycki and Karol Jozwiak.

About Zofia Rydet

Born in 1911 in Stanislawów, Poland and died in 1997 in Gliwice, Poland. She started taking pictures in 1950s. The majority of Rydet’s early photographies are portraits taken in the sitter’s natural milieu, primarly the portraits of children – based on “psychological observation”. In the late 1960s she started to work with photomontage technique – the cycle ‘World of Feelings and Imagination’. In the 1978 she started her most monumental project – the ‘Sociological Record’. The Record comprised several dozen thousand of negatives, taken in different regions of Poland.

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