Antoni Zdebiak was one of the most interesting photographers of the Polish People’s Republic. “Anthony Zdebiak. You can see the artist’s cave archive on the website of “Music Cooperation” and the Virtual Photography Museum. From more than 7,000 photos of him, we have selected those that express the style, fashion show, record trends and important events in Polish music.
Zdebiak’s work includes projects such as album covers, fashion shows and music stars from the 1980s, at the crossroads of art and popular culture, as well as Perspektywy. “Ilustrowany Tygodnik Polityczno-Informacyjny”, in which Zdebiak collaborated in 1973-1977. It’s hard to fit Zdebiak’s photographs into rigid frames, whether it’s pictures full of symbols and metaphors, or everyday scenes where ordinaryness turns into visual poetry.
Attractive, modern, art-pop sessions have been created for the Republic, one of the most fashionable bands in the history of Polish music. The new wave, led by the brilliant Grzegorz Ciechowski, was a post-punk band with a distinctive aesthetic. Its co-author was Anthony Zdebiak, the creator of sessions, posters and covers for the first two albums of the Republic. At that time, musicians wore rebellious British style and bangs. They loved contrasts: black and white, light and dark. They were both mild and resentful, both male and female. In Zdebiak’s photos, Republika is attractive, sexy and photogenic.
Performances on album covers
The cover of Budka Soufflera’s album “Let’s Save What Can Be Done !!” presents numerous shots of the burning Fiat 126p. The plan was arranged in Mięćmierz near Kazimierz Dolny. Wrapped in the propaganda newspaper “Trybuna Ludu”, the baby walked along the picturesque shores of the Vistula and then swam on the surface of the river and burned.
Features of the performance, photography and object distinguish the cover of the album “I Ching”. The name, content, and visual form of the avant-garde music project refer to the Chinese philosophical Book of Changes. The event was chaired by Zbigniew Hołdys and was co-created with the cream of Polish music since the early 1980s. Artists from Martyna Jakubowicz, Wojciech Waglewski, Perfect, Maanam, TSA and Breakout. Pop-art photographs reproduced and painted with an air brush show a man shooting into his own shadow.
Brygada Kryzys, Deserter, Tilt, Siekiera – Anthony Zdebiak created sessions, covers, posters and documented concerts for them. You can see one of hundreds of self-portraits created by Zdebiak on the cover of the 1985 album Morawski Waglewski Nowicki Hołdys’ Pigs. The artist has also published a “Book of Faces” full of his images. It opens with a quote from Friedrich Nietzsche’s genealogy of morality: “Everyone is the farthest from himself. Self-portraits are devoid of narcissism, they are works of art that seek spiritual and intellectual meanings.
The sources of these experiences can be found in the theater. The artist, who plays in the Theater of Vision and Movement, focuses on the body and gives rise to various traditions. The group was founded in 1969 in Zdebiak’s hometown of Pulawy and later moved to Lublin. The photographer also met Jerzy Grotowski in his career.
He took photos of fashion and celebrities
The collection of the Virtual Photography Museum is pleased with the sessions created with Alexandra Laska, one of the first or first stylists and designers to create images of the stars of the Polish music scene, and in this case also the artistic director. .
In 1980, Zdebiak and Laska created a poster for newcomer singer Majka Jeżowska. The rising star on the cover of her debut album “Jadę w świat” is wearing pink pants, a white shirt, a striped vest and a funny current with an antenna. It violates gender patterns. Jeżowska is accompanied by a surreal and Pop-artist piano made of bright, fluffy pink fabric. A mascot is an object from a fairy tale or a nightmare.
A year ago, Majka Jeżowska became a student at the Katowice Academy of Music. He studied at the famous Department of Popular Music and his professor was Krystyna Prońko, whose picture is also in Zdebiak’s virtual archive. The author of the hit “Rain in Cisna” sits on a wooden staircase and knits. She wears fashionable stilettos and is reminiscent of Halston models with a round hairstyle.
Urszula read, “Empty blues, nothing but holes in heaven.” The cover of Urszula, his first album in 1983, was created by the duo Laska and Zdebiak. The album is supplemented by photos taken in a fashionable attic.
Fashion session sensu stricto It was established in 1987. The initiator and creator of the project, Alexandra Laska, broke the patterns in the fashion world and posed in clothes with her own design. The material was intended for the calendar, but was never published. The clothes are picturesque or reddish in color. The luxury of the late 1980s, mixed with glamor à la Alexis, Japanese influences, geometry and Grace Jones-style rock, post-gender camp. The collection can also be combined with the Azzedine heritage‘and Alaïi. Laska was also responsible for the characteristics, structure and direction of movement.
Employees from Poltex
Features of the report, works of art and a futuristic look distinguish the series showing the employees of Poltex, Zakłady Przemysłu Bawniczego im. Julian Marchlewski in Lodz since 1977. The former property of Israel Poznański is today a huge shopping, hotel and museum complex. The images were part of a photojournalism commissioned by Perspektywy and accompanied by the text “Cotton City” by Anna Wawrzycka. The article is dedicated to the multi-generational families of textile and textile workers. The unusualness of the scenes is reminiscent of Dutch genre painting, only the scenery is futuristic.
Portraits of Polish cities
1977, downtown Lodz. On the wall of a residential house near the Israeli Poznański Palace, you can see a mural depicting delicate models in Western Pomeranian costumes. This is an advertisement for Mody – Zakłady Przemysłu Urządzowego “Emfor” trade store. The fast life of the industrial metropolis continues here.
In an interview from the construction of one of the Katowice housing estates since the 1970s, young women pose on the roof of a skyscraper. The protagonists wear clothes that combine Western European trends with the Polish people, which were very fashionable at the time – this is probably another material of Perspektywy.
The story of the city and fashion are also photographs from the National Polish Song Festival held at the Opole in the 1970s, featuring some of the most interesting Polish artists. We were at KFPP. You waited for KFPP. Zdebiak watched the performances from behind the scenes and captured the girls in fashionable pants. In the other photo, there is a girl with a camera, probably the legendary Polish supermodel Małgorzata Niemen.
It’s hard to pull yourself out of the Virtual Photography Museum’s archives, but it’s easy to drown there. – The artist has left behind rich, charming notes that clearly show that there is practically no boundary between artistic and commercial photography. In addition to poetry, philosophy and personal thoughts, the notes also include ideas for creating a music video and nail polish ad design for Budka Soufflera. – says the curator of the exhibition Martha Szymanska. What was commercial and popular during the Polish People’s Republic could be avant-garde, ambitious, innovative and experimental at the same time. Sales and consumption did not determine the artist’s success. And pleasures were more important than pleasures.
The exhibition “Anthony Zdebiak. Musical Cooperation” will last until April 30 at the Archaeological and Photographic Foundation in Warsaw, https://faf.org.pl