Mateusz Kowalik is a Warsaw-based documentary photographer, who debuted a year ago at TIFF Festival with a true intimate series — Steps.
Mateusz dedicated this project to his family, who overcame severe tense of his mother’s disease, 21st century plague — depression. Mateusz was observing and immortalizing in his memory, moments of the relation between the two beings and disturbing intruder, which the artist describes in the poetic words. „She comes quietly, unnoticed. Insolently sits in a stranger’s living room and calls everybody. Says that she is going to stay, doesn’t know how long. Since that moment, she is going to define the life of the whole family. With a thick glass separates an innocent person from reality. She takes sleep away, instead providing time for thought and sadness.
Close ones receive fear, helplessness for her. She forces difficult decisions, but also a fight with one’s weaknesses. Months go by, and she is getting stronger, feeding on passing time. She does not react to remedies, is not cured by determination and sacrifices.” After the tough struggle finally the first ray of the sun brightened. When „the mind is clouded with half-slept night, but the sight is sharp and bright”. The day when „a first clear thought appears,” as Mateusz shares.
Only then, when his mother was cured, Mateusz could start to work. He recreated the scenes saved in his memory and translated them into stirring, full of emotions and yet tranquil visual narrative. He raised fragile subject, which is commonly present in the modern society, and yet he managed to deal with it with no pathos or glorification. The work deserving appreciation.