The Sound of Two Songs
Published on 1 May 2010
This Photoworks publication is the result of the artist’s ‘love affair’ with Poland.
Mark Power became transfixed by Poland whilst making a one-month project in the country for a Magnum commission in 2004. However, Power believed that his initial investigations in Poland only scraped the surface of a country that is approximately the same physical size as the other nine new EU members added together. Consequently, over the five years, Power made approximately twenty further visits. The archive now consists of 2000 large format 5×4″ negatives.
The result is a beautiful series of photographs, which eloquently describes the changing social values of a country caught between the past, the present and the future both in terms of attitudes and the contradictions in its landscape. As Power says in his introduction ‘Poland is a beautiful country. Poland is an ugly country.’
The Sound of Two Songs moves effortlessly between images of the urban and the rural, the old and the new, setting the crumbling inner city housing estates of the communist era against the new developments of colourful apartments and gleaming shopping centres. Power’s project also explores the effect of global capitalism on the Polish landscape with advertising hoardings dominating the cityscape effortlessly and setting a sharp contrast between the decay and aspiration of the country.