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Monsters Hunting Magda Kuca’s Photographic Tales

Artist Blog by Magda Kuca

Śmiguśniaki are the captives of the Tatars, whose tongues were cut off - they can’t speak so they rattle instead. To get protection from the cold, they clothed themselves with hay, acquiring plant-like properties. Their face masks protected their otherworldly origins - ‘Dziady’ are ghosts of the ancestors, connecting the world of the living and the deceased. Dziady are playing around, pouring buckets of water onto the passers-by on Easter Monday.

The Slavic Bestiary project deals with decoding Polish folk traditions, and exploring Slavic culture and is informed by pagan traditions of the past that draw upon the connection between humans and nature. The 19th-century large-format photographic technique of wet plate collodion was used - very technical and craft-based in nature-results in singular photographic plates. Original folk garments are unique pieces bearing forgotten traditions - used by the figure of mythological Turon during wedding ceremonies. He welcomed a new year or traditional costumes from Cracow. These authentic ritual garments taken from the closets of Polish museums and small cultural centres allow us to draw upon our imagination and reimagine Polish folk.

Part of the Slavic Bestiary series physically exists as a monochromatic plate still, 2018-2022.

This animated glass plate was shot in a large format camera using the historic wet collodion technique and developed by hand in the darkroom.

Traditional costume of Krakow, in the background sounds recorded in Puszcza Białowieska - one of the oldest primaeval forests in Europe.

As a still, it appeared on the cover of collector's Black + White Photography Magazine.

Magda Kuca is part of »Guest Room: Varun Gupta & Arpan Mukherjee«.

Check out her Artist Feature “The Grandmothers”.