Dominik Wojciechowski, The Castle
Curator: Mateusz Sarełło
My mother has been separated for fifteen years. In 2016, my father had to move out of the apartment. However, he maintained a physical presence in the apartment, in the form of a pile of miscellaneous objects still stored there, or through unannounced visits. These pictures were taken during the period when my mother was anxiously awaiting a decision on the petition she had filed seeking to require my father to leave the marital home.
— Dominik Wojciechowski
In The Castle, Dominik Wojciechowski attempts to narrate an intimate slice of family history—a ‘small history’—a thing which is extremely difficult to describe using visual language. To do this, he roams beyond his photographic comfort zone and draws upon other fields of art adjacent to photography. He constructs temporary sculptures out of everyday objects, whose very everydayness begins to disturb and weigh on us, both in the emotional sense but also in terms of literal, physically burdensome weight. These ordinary objects also become tools for transferring affection, with their quotidian, utilitarian nature multiplying their communicative potential.
The unusual nature of these installations is meant to convey not only the feelings of the artist’s mother toward his father, but also her relationship to the apartment itself: rooms which had undergone a transformation, from forming a living space which once brought family members close together, to one that had lost its familial identity. Faced with a clutter of unwanted objects amidst the stuffiness of a claustrophobic interior, in which his mother woke up to find herself a prisoner, Wojciechowski was motivated to reinvent the space. To do so, the artist enlisted the assistance of his protagonist: his mom. Her performative presence, with its physicality, its tangibility, its objectiveness, and its determined sense of humour, is an attempt at surviving a trying domestic situation, and at turning the page on a difficult chapter of life. The project undoubtedly also serves as a form of therapy for the artist himself.
And what of the title, The Castle? Is it an intricate construction through which, with a dose of humour, the artist filters the pain of a family falling apart, and the accompanying feeling of stricken helplessness, into a visual statement? A stage upon which a private drama unfolds, which for Wojciechowski serves as a maquette for giving emotions materiality in the form of an assemblage of ephemeral monuments to the family that was? Whatever the case, it is an engrossing, intimate micro-world well worth immersing oneself in.
— Mateusz Sarełło
Dominik Wojciechowski (born 1993, Poznań, Poland) is a photographer, researcher, and translator. He earned a master’s degree in Croatian Philology, with a specialisation in translation, from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. He currently studies at the Institute of Creative Photography in Opava (Czech Republic). For the last five years, he has been exploring and photographing different forms of ‘Yugo-nostalgia’ in the former Yugoslav republics. He is also an enthusiast of Muay Thai (Thai boxing).