Preview: Friday 1 February 2019
Free tickets available here
Lethe is the river that cleanses Dante in Purgatory, the one that wipes memories of the dead as they drink from it or bathe in it. The poet Sylvia Plath steps up from ‘the black car of Lethe, Pure as a baby’. It is an escape, a relief from our own physical limitations. ‘The soul that has been rash enough to drink from the fount of Lethe… is reincarnated and again cast into the cycle of becoming’, according to philosopher Mircea Eliade.
As important recollections slip from our memory, this loss brings its own kind of grief. The past becomes a vast, blank territory where even the most important memories from childhood are erased – if we do not remember them, perhaps these might as well not have happened in the first place.
‘Lethe’ is a collection of collages, portraits, objects and landscapes and drawn from Sylwia Kowalczyk’s own images, where these loose prints from her past grow into new entities.
‘Lethe’ won PDN Photo Annual 2016’s ‘Personal’ category and was shortlisted for The Renaissance Photography Prize with the accompanying exhibition at Getty Images Gallery in London. In 2017 the series was shown as Sylwia’s first solo show in the US in Blue Sky Gallery in Portland, Oregon and in November 2018 was invited to be a solo exhibition during European Month of Photography in Bratislava, Slovakia.