Anna Orłowska, Carrying Case

The cycle “Futerał” (“Carrying Case”) consists of a series of photographs taken in the interiors of castles and magnate palaces which have become the source of artistic inspiration. Despite the wartime destruction, numerous plundering and barbaric invasions, there is a great number of various representative buildings in Poland that have been saved from oblivion. Anna Orłowska creates her own, individual rules and criteria for recording the existing reality.

She has chosen ten historic buildings for her project: the Castle in Łańcut, the Ducal Castle in Oleśnica, the Palace in Nieborów, the Castle in Moszna, the Castle Museum in Pszczyna, the Castle in Płakowice, the Palace in Ponary, the Ublik Palace, the Palace in Łupki and the Palace in Rodele. The palaces were designed in such a way that the service facilities and rooms were hidden from aristocrats. It is even hard to imagine this maze of corridors, stairs, rooms, e.g. kitchen rooms, butlers’ rooms, etc. They still remain inaccessible to new users as well as visitors. A moment of reflection allows us to realize that the class society will exist as long as the inequalities in the possession of economic resources exist and they influence the living conditions.

he class order manifests itself today in the area of consumer choices and practices, even as prosaic as clothing, cuisine, physical activity, through which we communicate to others who we are, and they form the basis of social inclusion and exclusion and are a vehicle of symbolic violence. The most important aspect of Orłowska’s project – the palace as a model of the contemporary time and of the hierarchical dependence between people is therefore still valid. The class diversity is shown very well in the novel by Władysław Reymont “The Promised Land”. It was symptomatic that the owners of the palaces were separated from the brick factories and workers by a wall.

The social hierarchy is visible in the existing 19th-century urban development in Lodz, with huge, remaining intact since the beginning of the century palaces, representative buildings, with walled factories creating entire complexes. Currently, the functions of the objects have undergone a transformation, whereas the class division has remained unchanged, the wealthy and the poor function side by side.

Contemporary palaces serve large corporate companies, international hotel chains and those who can afford to pay an enormous sum of money for a flat in an apartment building. For the above reasons, the presentation of photographs from the series “Futerał” at the Bałucka Gallery, located opposite the historic palace formerly owned by Izrael Poznański, one of the wealthiest manufacturers, has a special meaning, as it is a bridge between the historical object and the contemporary understanding of the palace in the stricte metaphorical sense. Not only is the cycle of Anna Orłowska’s photographs a documentation of the palace interiors, their transformations, adaptations to new functions, a presentation of the elements of their equipment that have survived to date, but primarily a story about the need for domination, about class differences, conflicts and the changing society.

Adriana Michalska /fragments of a text for the exhibition catalogue/

The exhibition is shown as part of FUTURES Platform.


Anna Orłowska (b. 1986, Opole) is an artist based in the field of photography. She studied at the National School of Film, Television, and Theatre in Łódź and at the Institute of Creative Photography at the University of Silesia in Opava; and was a recipient of a Photo Global scholarship from the School of Visual Arts in New York. Her works have been exhibited at the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw, Exile Gallery in Berlin, Panoptikon Fotografins Hus in Stockholm, the Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography, Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne, Aperture Foundation in New York, and Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona. She is the author of the artist’s book Futerał (2018). Orłowska was the recipient of artist grants by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage in 2010, 2013, and 2017. In 2015, she was nominated for the Discovery Award at the Rencontres d’Arles; and, in 2017, she received the Overseas Photographer Award at the Higashikawa International Photo Festival. She is represented by Wschód Gallery in Warsaw, where she lives and works.

Read about other FUTURES Projects at Fotofestiwal 2019:



Opening: 30.05, 5:00 PM
Location: Miejska Galeria Sztuki w Łodzi - Galeria Bałucka, Stary Rynek 2
Opening hours: Tue-Fri 12:00 AM-5:00 PM, Sat-Sun 12:00 AM-4:00 PM
Curators talk: 16.06, 2:30 PM

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