Tadeusz Rząca "Autochromes"

Bydgoszcz Art Center
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The exhibition will present a collection of autochromes by Tadeusz Rząca - a Krakow photographer and entrepreneur - made in the years 1910-1920.

Tadeusz Rząca "Autochromes"
Tadeusz Rząca

Autochrom is the name of the oldest color photography technique. These extremely valuable glass transparencies are extremely rare in Polish collections. They show, among others, monuments of Kraków and Tarnów, street scenes, foothill surroundings and the Tatra Mountains.

Tadeusz Rząca is one of the most interesting Polish photographers of the early 20th century, but until recently his works were virtually unknown. His artistic approach to the image, breaking away from the pictorial trend of contemporary photography, resembles Young Poland painting in its colors and themes. Like Kazimierz Tetmajer, he was fascinated by the contrasting colors of the village near Kraków. He even managed to persuade to pose in folk costumes women close to him. In his mountain photos, however, the gray-green tone of the Tatra walls and lakes is somewhat reminiscent of Leon Wyczółkowski's painting.

Among several series devoted to places chosen by the photographer, photos of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska are unique in their expression. Next to their undoubted documentary value, one can notice the subtly emanating mood of contemplation. The author made sure that nothing in his slide photographs did not disturb the religious atmosphere and loneliness of the pilgrim.

The ubiquity of nature is another very characteristic feature of the Row's photography. Beginning with fascination with her vitality, in spring photographs of flowering trees. These paintings, perhaps lined with Art Nouveau tastes, draw attention to the organic potential of vegetation, especially spring and flourishing. There are other shots related to Art Nouveau - this time more Japanese in their expression and mood - photographs of a delicate, lonely rowan tree or evening views of the city.

But it is not everything. Greenness, greenness, greenness. Virtually everything that photographs is green. Tadeusz Rząca took many photos documenting monuments. He did not do it on behalf of official factors, but for himself, practicing his art of photography. In spite of everything, he also moved away from popular architectural approaches, which, especially in his contemporary photography, are mostly dead and devoid of any movement. Nature lured him too much. It's enough to look at his shot of the Wawel Hill or the monastery on Skałka. In the series of photos of the Tenczyn castle in Rudno near Kraków, the yellow meadow and green hill dominate so much in most paintings that you can ask yourself whether nature is a relay for the castle or rather a castle for nature.

Text: Marta Miskowiec