This is the second of CFile’s new Foto File feature: images from the photo essay, A Death in the Family, by Polish photographer Grzegorz Stadnik. The family that has been stricken is the ceramic industry in Europe, which has been in decline for decades, with plant after plant closing as production increasingly heads to Asia. These photographs were commissioned by the Polish artist Monika Patuszyńska for the Operation Książ phase of her project, Orphans and Bastards (see two other related posts in this week’s issue). For several years, Stadnik has collaborated with other artists, photographing their work, participating in symposiums, and shooting photo essays. He also documents everyday life, focusing on subjects that may soon be gone.
The Książ Porcelain Factory in Walbrzych, Poland manufactured a wide range of decorative and non-decorative tableware, plates, mugs, tea/coffee sets, dinner sets, and other china. From the beginning, the factory was intended to be a symbol of governmental potency and was heralded as the biggest and the most modern porcelain factory in Europe. The facility took 15 years to build and production began in late 1980s, but the factory has never really fulfilled its potential. The enterprise had 1,400 employees at its peak. After a few liquidations and bankruptcies (beginning as early as 1991) the factory faced its final bankruptcy in 2004 and was left deserted until the end of 2012 when it was demolished.
Above image: From Grzegorz Stadnik’s photo essay, A Death in the Family, which documents the abandonment of the Ksiaz Porcelain Factory in Walbrzych, Poland. Courtesy of the artist.