Zofia Rydet

born in 1911 in Stanisławów, died in 1997 in Gliwice

Scissors and Zofia Rydet

works from: 1955-1997
curator: Andrzej Różycki
exhibition venue: Galeria 87, no. 87 Piotrkowska Street

The exhibition presents work with scissors which resulted in the world-famous collages by Zofia Rydet. Never shown before, these ‘cut-outs’ are a testimony of the long forgotten process, replaced with the omnipresent Photoshop.

The Scissors… exhibition is dedicated, above all, to all those who stick to Photoshop in their PCs, trying to achieve satisfying visual images, still regarded as photography. We present the photomontages by Zofia Rydet from the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s, covering a period of approximately 10 years of the artist’s work, in Galeria 87 at Piotrkowska Street. Originals of works, presented by us, include boards with photos, cut out (!!!) with scissors, which together form coherent compositions. In the times when the artist exhibited them, they were only photographic reproductions of these montage masterpieces. Thanks to the kindness of artist’s inheritors, we have a chance to show a significant part of the photographic ‘backyard,’ the time when the scissors are at work. We have a one of a kind opportunity to present what was preserved in the archives of the artist – a secret creative workshop. There are various versions of photographic themes here, various methods of reaching final versions, and cut out photos, waiting to be used.
Today, photomontage in its traditional form is neither fashionable nor practiced. There is no need for that. Photoshop, used by the present generation, is a perfect and modern tool. Classic photomontage was very advanced at its times, though. Using scissors as a tool in photography meant literal and metaphorical separation from complexed photography that copied the aesthetics of painting.
Let me quote the most popular critic of art of those times, Mrs Urszula Czartoryska: ‘The real world, as interpreted by Zofia Rydet, is very relative. Her works are made of its pieces, building a vision which mentions reality only from afar. Photography referred to this notion in technical terms and called it photomontage, whereas other types of art called it simply poetry. I think that we should not be afraid that the word ‘poetry’ announces too much here. The way Zofia Rydet feels assures that.’
Additionally, we recommend this exhibition mainly to those who feel the need for historical reflection and want to learn about the origins of the contemporary phenomenon called Photoshop. In fact, Photoshopmontage is an electronically developed form of photomontage. Exegetically, or etymologically, if you wish, both of these operations and actions are closely related: they are processes of combining and composing… However, cutting a traditional photograph is a final operation, whereas digital editing allows to undo any montage operation. The scissors in Zofia Rydet’s hands were run exclusively by an artistic vision. On the other hand, the easiness of computer operations is frequently used for commercial purposes, which cannot be undone, as the progressing tendency shows.

Andrzej Różycki

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