Fun and games: Dominik Wojciechowski’s The particular Castle uses visual humour to make sense of house life

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© Dominik Wojciechowski

“For me, the whole process was like putting a stick into a good anthill and confronting my loved ones trauma, ” the Shine photographer says.

A cupboard crammed full of chairs is one of the first images to appear within 29-year-old Dominik Wojciechowski’s task, The Castle . Then, a picture from the photographer’s mother, hovering as if sat on an invisible seat. A third image shows a closed cupboard door, camouflaged against a brilliant, white wall structure. This is just one example of the playful way that Wojciechowski interacts with this series, as well as the humorous associations that tutorial us through the sequence.  

© Dominik Wojciechowski

© Dominik Wojciechowski

© Dominik Wojciechowski

The particular Castle explores the psychological significance of home and what happens when personal space can be encroached upon. It all began in 2019, when Wojciechowski was helping his mother deal with some concerning household issues. “A colleague recommended me that I could sign-up to have my father officially purchased out of the apartment my mum lives in, ” he clarifies. “At the time [my parents] had already been divided for 15 years and had lived apart for three of those. Yet he would still come over unannounced and a lot of his things remained all over the house. ” Wojciechowski filed the papers and waited for a choice. At the same time, he entered the photography competition organised from the Arsenal Gallery in Poznan. Under the theme of ‘Places of Everydayness’, entrants needed to look through records from the city’s Archives of Research upon Daily Life and make images in response. “That’s how this idea came to me, ” he says of his latest project. “I wanted to dive into the world of everyday objects, relate it to my mothers and fathers, and turn everything upside down. ”

© Dominik Wojciechowski

© Dominik Wojciechowski

The pictures in The Castle really are a hodgepodge of comical moments shot with an array of products found around the home. In some pictures, Wojciechowski has created makeshift sculptures, precariously balancing hemorrhoids of plates or twisting wires into the shape of hearts. Elsewhere he directs his mum to perform absurd poses, balancing plates on her feet and a brick – the basic element of house-building – on her head. In one picture, a marriage certificate peeks out beneath a gaudy dessert associated with jelly and cut plums. Wojciechowski’s favourite diptych through the series is one of his mother kneeling on the floor, utilizing a footstool to make it look like she’s proposing. It is a lighthearted enjoy on the subject of marriage, and the proven fact that his father had certainly not asked for his mother’s hands. “I think it’s hilarious, ” he says.

© Dominik Wojciechowski

A sense of humour is at the heart of all things The Castle is about for Wojciechowski, and the project ultimately became a collaborative way for mother and son in order to process their circumstances. “I made those sculptures to explore the broken relationship associated with my parents, and it was much more powerful because all of the items from that apartment brought back memories or emotions, ” he says. “But me plus my mum didn’t want to be dramatic about it. Turning crisis into a joke was our approach from the beginning. And, actually, my mum and I improved our relationship with my father by confronting it. ” Now based in Kosovo, Wojciechowski continues his interest in the particular relationships between people and the places we carve out with regard to ourselves.  

© Dominik Wojciechowski

© Dominik Wojciechowski

Joanna Cresswell

Joanna L. Cresswell is a writer and editor located in Brighton. She has written on photography and culture for over 40 international magazines and journals, and held roles as editor for organisations including The Photographers’ Gallery, Hidden Amsterdam and Self Publish, Be Happy. She recently completed an MA within comparative literature and criticism at Goldsmiths College, College or university of London

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