Krzysztof Gieraltowski is not exhibiting in Germany for the first time and is therefore not entirely unknown. However, the current show of his work at the ifa Gallery Friedrichstraße in Berlin is his most comprehensive to date.
Born in 1938, Gieraltowski has been working on a portrait series of Polish people since 1976, and since then has been constantly on the lookout for known and unknown Polish citizens, whether they live in Warsaw, Paris or other cities around the world. Since 1976, Gieraltowski has been taking photographic portraits exclusively of people with a distinctive individuality. In this restless and inexhaustible process, he has already reached the limits of the genre.
Gieraltowski, however, is always concerned with expression. Even the works that appear to be documentary photographs at first glance are preceded by an engagement with the sitter. It is therefore not rational calculation that motivates him to photograph, but rather the intention that an encounter take place between him and the “object”.
Gieraltowski’s goal is not to capture an arbitrary moment. He reacts very emotionally to the particular situation of the person being portrayed, and from this he creates the idiosyncratic images that, for him, express something essential about the person. The result is an impressive photographic oeuvre whose expressiveness is unparalleled, an emphatic demonstration of the artistic power held by the medium of photography.