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Lviv Just Before USSR Collapsed: Photo Archive of Tadeusz Rolke

Until March 2017, in the Center for Urban History for East Central Europe in Lviv there is an ongoing exhibition ‘Tomorrow Will Be Better’. It is based primarily on the works of Polish photographer Tadeusz Rolke, taken between 1989 and 1991. Bird In Flight asked the curator of the exhibition, Andriy Boyarov, to choose the most interesting photographs.
Tadeusz Rolke Age 87

Polish photographer. Early in his career worked for Światem Młodych and Stolicą. In 1970, went to Germany, where he worked for Stern, Die Zeit, Der Spiegel. Currently lives and works in Warsaw. Is a co-founder of edition.fotoTAPETA publishing house. In 2010, received a Gloria Artis gold medal.

In 1990, Polish photographer Tadeusz Rolke was commissioned by GEO Germany to photograph Lviv in Ukraine. The editors rejected the resulting photographs. 26 years later they have finally found their audience — at the exhibition Tomorrow Will Be Better, running at the Center for Urban History for East Central Europe in Lviv until March 2017.

Curators Andriy Boyarov and Marek Grygiel have chosen 50 photographs for the exhibition, which show protests and demonstrations along with the everyday life of citizens.

Andriy Boyarov, curator of the exhibition:

“Tadeusz Rolke brought us a time capsule where we can see our past. Tadeusz and his photographs exist beyond time and nationality. It is not only because he lived in Germany for many years and worked for well-known Western outlets. Cosmopolitanism is a part of his agenda, and social withdrawal is his observation method.

However, it seems that it is different for his Lviv project. In these photographs Tadeusz becomes engaged and emotional, almost an insider. He comes so near that he is almost one of his characters. And the phrase ‘Tomorrow will be better’, said by someone who belongs to the group, is perceived as confident and definite, impossible not to believe.”

Photo of Tadeusz by Mariusz Kubik

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