Władysław Hasior: The Photo Notebooks

Publication of Władysław Hasior's Photographic Notebooks on our website by the courtesy of the Tatra Museum in Zakopane.

"The Photo Notebooks" is a collection of diapositives, created by Władysław Hasior since the late 1960s, comprising ca. 20 000 items. The photo collection includes also his re-photographed, earlier photos.

The slides formed the basis for what he called “the cinema,”or commented displays that he organised in his studio-gallery. A shortcut through the artist’s thought, delimiting his horizons, interests and his manner of their structuration (reminiscent of Aby Warburg’s "Mnemosyne Atlas" or present-day Tumbler or Instagram), can be found in a thematically cross-sectional series titled Inspirations.

The artist had come across photography as a stage of the creative process already in Hansen’s studio during his studies. I have not yet ascertained the date of the artist’s first purchase of a camera. He most likely did not have one during a few months of his motorcycle journey to the West (1959/60), which he documented in his diary and sketchbook. He certainly used a camera in his work with the “Kenar’s school” students in the early 1960s, and the preserved film records of the unveiling of "The Iron Organ" in 1966 show him with the twin-lens reflex camera Flexaret made in Czechoslovakia.

The slides collected at the Władysław Hasior Gallery of the Tatra Museum in Zakopane were divided by the artist into 400 sets comprising the cycles already discussed. They also include the documentation of the artist’s activities (including staged photography) and travels, as well as thematically or iconographically composed lectures in art history (with the re-photographed source material from books).

The Photo Notebooks is a lesson of sensibility drawn from the observation of natural world, in places including human intervention: interaction with the natural environment, mostly in the shape of agrarian culture, industrial civilisation, and art. The photographs only rarely represent people. Hasior closes up on detail, recording mostly its visual properties, sometimes contrasting them with landscape phenomena in wide shot. Individual studies are juxtaposed in order to demonstrate various aspects of one phenomenon and to place it in a wider context, which was a frequent practice in literature of the period.

A separate cycle of larger size is Wayside Poetry, in which he investigated (primarily in the 1970s) the institutionally inspired and emotionally constructed semantics and iconosphere of publicly available space: he mostly photographed Polish ads, propaganda slogans, bulletin boards, which drew his attention with their content, the context of their appearance or their visual form.

He was also interested in monuments, including the commemorative architectural complexes, a detailed problematisation of the iconography of power (he discussed the issue in an article published in 1971 in the literary magazine “Odra”), as well as funeral and religious architecture (both large architectural complexes and rural wayside shrines), of Christian denominations and other religions.

He had a personal relationship to the theme of “woman in art” and collected his erotic preferences in four separate notebooks.


Texts: Ewa Tatar

Text about the Gallery of Władysław Hasior: Gabriela Sułkowska

Cooperation: Gabriela Sułkowska, Adrian Przywara

Technical cooperation: Magdalena Drągowska, Maciej Harland - Parzydło