A Consciously Planned Coincidence

A Consciously Planned Coincidence

Wojtek Wieteska on the Power of the Past
Aleksander Hudzik
time 8 minutes

I would like the reality before and after my exhibition to be different, to shift the viewer’s perspective. This is the essence of art, says photographer Wojtek Wieteska.

Aleksander Hudzik: You have placed a small photo on the table. In it I can see a kid who seems to be having a good time. Can you tell me what I’m looking at?

Wojtek Wieteska: This is the only photograph from Berlin that I have. It was taken by my dad on November 24, 1969. This boy is me. It’s my birthday, I’m looking at a miniature electric train, a toy I got as a gift.

Berlin, Gartenstrasse 26, My fifth birthday, November 24, 1969, photo: Dad © Wojtek Wieteska

How did you end up in Berlin in 1969?

My dad was contracted to East Berlin as a chef. He worked at the Café Warschau. It was a strange place, only years later I found out that American intelligence agents met there. We lived at Gartenstrasse 26, fifty yards from the Berlin Wall. At the time, the tenement served as a long-term hotel. We lived in one room, and from the window I could see a little bit of West Berlin.

Why are these memories so important to you?

Because they are my first memories, they are visual, and they contain what I work with today. It is because of them that I have retained these moving black-and-white postcards in my memory.

Berlin, Gartenstrasse 26, summer 2012 © Wojtek Wieteska

Did I hear correctly: black-and-white memories?

Yes, because that reality was gray. The only color I remember are red apples for Christmas, covered in transparent red icing. When I bit into them, the shell of crystalline icing cracked under my teeth, and then soft flesh. This was the first sensual experience I remember.

What was yo


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Also read:

Who’s Afraid of Helmut Newton?
Photo by Wojtek Wieteska
Experiences, Opinions

Who’s Afraid of Helmut Newton?

A Conversation About His Photography
Ania Diduch, Wojtek Wieteska

As long as people keep pointing out Helmut Newton’s kinkiness, it means his vision is working: questioning points of view, laughing at clichés and individuals who make strong statements about how we should live and who we should love, forgetting that we should love ourselves first. Just like the women in Helmut’s photographs.

On the occasion of Helmut Newton’s exhibition at CSW Znaki Czasu in Toruń, which you can now visit online, we spoke with Dr Matthias Harder, chief curator of the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin, and Marek Żydowicz, founder of the Camerimage Festival and co-curator of Newton’s show in Toruń.

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