Prospekto Gallery, Vilnius, Lithuania
'What Is To Be Considered Human', article by Agne Narusyte, First published online in the Lithuanian photography magazine Fotografija, April 2019. Translated here by Alexandra Bondarev. Download PDF
Jolanta Dolewska’s In this hollow valley straddles the dual discourses around photography as image and object. It combines different elements – hand printed photographs carefully retouched with subtle patches of silver powder; and clay works, moulded in the hands of someone else, but expanded in shape by the exhalation of breath of Dolewska. In that sense there is a third element, that of the physiological.
The work successfully develops her recent Breathless, a series of photographs speculating on the idea of breath, death/life and stillness/movement, by photographing human bodies at the point of exhalation to emphasise shape.
In the current work, which was made for this exhibition at Prospekto Gallery, she retouches the photographic prints with the silver material (inherent to analogue photography), to accentuate, rather than conceal, the 'imperfections' on human skin and the dust on photographic prints. ‘I use material which traditionally is valued for its financial or decorative purpose. I would like to draw attention to the way we look and differentiate what is beautiful, how we determine what is desired to be seen on image surfaces and how our aesthetic choices are related to the financial value of things we look at.’ The hand of the artist is indelibly etched on the image surface. Likewise with the objects, the accidental cracks in their surface tell us of their unique and fragile materiality.
Clay works II are clay vessels (fabricated for her), into which she blew air resulting in the expansion of the objects and stretching the walls of the vessels to the point of bursting. The ruptures appear in the weakest, thinnest, points on walls of the vessels. Around the ruptures, there are also visible stretchmarks alike ones on human skin.
The body's vulnerability underpin this work. Doleweka references Agamben's concept of bare life, where the body is reduced to biology without political rights. Dolewska asserts that people's rights and status are very present issues - with current, and upcoming, changes to citizens' rights, immigration laws in Europe and internationally in the US and other countries.
The combinations are enticing – the photographic image and the material object – one on paper from industrial making, the latter hand crafted. Furthermore, a philosophic approach form the basis of the work - becoming, existence, reality – which further extends its ‘becoming’ in a possible fourth dimension: its crystalisation into the visible shape of the exhibition.
Jolanta Dolewska is an artist based in Glasgow, Scotland. Solo Exhibitions include Sdraiati accanto a me at Condominio Fotografico Associzione Culturale, Modica, Sicily, Italy (2018); Repertoire Threshold Artspace/Perth Concert Hall, Perth (2017) and Reservoir (curated by Sunil Shah), Rough Print Gallery, Dalston, London (2016). Amongst many recent group shows are Altered States (curated by Nadia Pérez), Kunsthalle Exnergasse, WUK, Vienna, Austria (2019); and Narratives Alongside Him, Kaunas Photography Gallery, Lithuania (2018). She studied an MA at Royal College of Art in London and was included in The Photographers Gallery exhibition FreshFaced + WildEyed the following year.
See more of Jolanta's work here
This exhibition is a partnership between Street Level Photoworks and the Lithuanian Photographers Association. Supported by Lithuanian Council for Culture and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania. With thanks for Vilma Samulionyte.
Gedimino Ave. 43,
Mon - Fri: 12:00 - 18:00
Saturday: 12:00 - 16:00
This event runs parallel to Geneva Sills' Cones & Eggs , on show at Vilnius Photography Gallery.
More Information: Lithuanian Photographers Assocation
Images: © Jolanta Dolewska