Magdalena Mądra lives and works in Wroclaw. Graduate of Department of Photography of the University of Arts in Poznań and Polish philology at the University of Wrocław, where she also attended cultural studies. She works as a project coordinator and photographer at the Grotowski Institute. The exhibition of her photos from research expeditions as part of the ‘Armine, Sister’ project by Teatr ZAR was presented in Wrocław, Łódź, Warsaw, London, Paris and Oslo. In 2015–2016, she documented commemorative rituals in Haiti, Brazil and Belarus – the photographs were shown at the ‘Dziady of the Old and New World’ exhibition within the ECoC Wrocław 2016 programme. As part of Agnieszka Bresler’s ‘Womanstate’ project, she created portraits in women’s prisons, shelters and self-help homes. She collaborates photographically with the documentary film festival Faito Doc in Italy, where she has twice exhibited her works (2015 and 2018). In 2020, at the University of Arts in Poznań, she achieved her bachelor’s degree with work titled ‘A certain quantum of anxiety in a free state floats here on the surface’ – her diploma exhibition was presented at the Studio BWA Gallery in Wrocław. Master’s thesis entitled ‘If the border runs, I wait for it to disappear from the picture’, presented at the Szewska 16 Gallery in Poznań, she defended in 2022.
She creates photos, installations, films and mixed media artworks. Her literary and cultural studies and many years of work in the theatre lead her thinking towards questions of time and memory, structure and organicity, ephemeral nature of aesthetic experience, polyphony, trauma as well as representation of emotions, the possibility and conditions of arousing empathy. Using poetic and metaphorical language, she tries to disrupt the boundaries between what is real, legible and recognized versus created, incomprehensible and foreign. She is interested in both image and crossing its two-dimensionality, contexts of artworks and their cultural uses. She experiments with materials, yielding to their influence or leaving them towards their image. Embraced by the ecology and economy of images, she undertakes work with existing photographs, giving them new meanings, reviving their potency. She wonders about the violence of seeing and the compulsion to look, and the power of images over reality. Developing forms based on intuition that encourage the viewer to make personal associations is her strategy. She is inspired by the existing imagery in the long tradition of visual arts and imagination. Open to the variety and richness of interpretations, she willingly submits already completed projects to recontextualization. Close to her are the ‘dancing senses’ of Jacques Derrida and ‘becoming-other’ of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Gauttari. She would like to fall into images just as Paul Celan falls into words. Recently she has learned that people like her are called ‘late bloomers’.
Selected individual exhibitions and shows:
‘If the border runs, I wait for it to disappear from the picture’, master’s diploma exhibition, Szewska 16 Gallery, Poznań
‘A certain quantum of anxiety in a free state floats here on the surface’, bachelor’s diploma exhibition, Studio BWA Wrocław
‘Alter ego’, Galeria u Agatki, Wrocław
‘Dziady of the Old and New World’, Kamienica Rynek 25, Wrocław
Selected group exhibitions, shows and activities:
‘The Limits of Possibility’, installation within Survival 20. Art Review, 24-28.-6.2022, former Bethanien hospital in Wrocław
‘Transformation’, an installation prepared together with Mariusz Urbański as part of the Artistic Academies Review “Infinite Collection” during the Photofestival, 9-25.06.2022, The Academic Design Center, Łódź
‘Sharing the Screen’, an exhibition of students of the Image Transformation Studio UAP, Obrońców Stalingradu 17 Gallery, 27.04-03.05.2022, Szczecin
‘The sun has set, sharpness turns into softness. And the other way’, installation as part of ‘Good evening in Wrocław’ group exhibition, 18.02-27.03.2022, BWA Wrocław Główny
‘A driving force’, Madoa Festival, Wykwit Gallery, Wrocław
‘Sirens’, exhibition of the Think Pink Collective, Browar Mieszczański, Wrocław