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Converging Paths: The Photography of Pawel Figurski

Thursday, January 21, 2016
12:00 AM
Institute for the Humanities Common Room, 202 S. Thayer, Ann Arbor

Note: The common room is open M-F 9am-5pm

Converging Paths: The Photography of Pawel Figurski explores the invisible boundary between the sacred and profane and the people who pass through those spaces, leaving one world to enter another. Figurski focuses his gaze on the ways in which his subjects’ relationship to faith are transformed through the act of pilgrimage and through the encounter with sacred spaces. He is particularly interested in the intrusion of the quotidian into the realm of the sacred.

While the exhibition deals primarily with religious life in Figurski’s native Poland, the artist brilliantly captures Eastern Europe’s diverse religious worlds, tracing a plurality of spiritual paths, whether in the pilgrimages of Hasidic Jews to Lezajsk, Orthodox Christians to the Grabarka Monastery, or Catholics to Czestochowa.

Religious life in that part of the world is sociologically interesting and aesthetically arresting.  It is this intersection of the social and aesthetic domains that make Figurski’s photographs so captivating.

Pawel Figurski is a graduate of the prestigious Lodz film school. He has shot and directed music videos, television serials and documentary films, for which he received several awards, including an Emmy (2005). For almost a decade (2002-2011), he documented Jewish life in Eastern Europe as part of the Archives of Historical and Ethnographic Yiddish Memories at Indiana University. Figurski's photography, in Converging Paths, explores the invisible boundary between the sacred and profane and the people who pass through those spaces, leaving one world to enter another.

Information on Feb. 27 interview with Pawel Figurski by U-M Professors Jeffrey Veidlinger and Geneviève Zubrzycki.

Presented in conjunction with the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies and the Copernicus Program in Polish Studies.