Agnieszka Rayss takes photographs of small museums

Agnieszka Rayss takes photographs of small museums
Agnieszka Rayss

Have you ever been to the Timble Museum or the Diving Museum?

Agnieszka Rayss who takes part in the recent Sputnik’s project “Puls” has decided to visit these tiny, cameral collections.  

Do you collect something on your own?

Nothing at all. Not that I am a minimalist, however collecting is not my cup of tea. Collections fascinate me, especially these unusual selections and the people behind them. 

Your task as a collective was to study Warsaw. What does your project “From the Records of a Collector” say about contemporary Warsaw?

I hope that receivers will find an answer to this question. We have decided to set off to explore the areas outside the city which are less known. To take a closer look at the outskirts.

This is where the heart of the city is?

For sure it’s interesting over there. It also lies in the character of the Sputnik collective to bring to light less popular topics. 

Tell me what kind of Warsaw was presented by other people from the collective?

Adam Pańczuk published an alternative guidebook “On Warsaw” with his photos and texts by Sylwia Chutnik, Filip Springer, Jan Śpiewak and Paweł Althamer. Rafał Milach in his project “Centre” takes photos of the Warsaw outskirts, which not necessarily are beautiful. Karolina Gębara has prepared together with immigrants the newspaper entitled “The New Varsovians”. Pamela Brożek also cooperates with the residents of the centre for foreigners in Targówek. So we are not talking here about any sort of a nice cafe in the city centre [we are meeting at STOR in Bracka – editorial note] but about something that happens on a different level. At Sputnik, we like digging into the matter.

Muzeum Nurkowania, fot. Agnieszka Rayss
Agnieszka Rayss, Z zapisków kolekcjonera

Mostly photos of small museums, weird collections portray quite small, dark interiors with shelves and cabinets filled with dusty objects. You have found a different way to present them.

I wanted my photos to be minimalistic, showing the relationship between an object and a human, and at the same time full of intensive colours and cheerful. I needed a change because I have been dealing with a topic of war and conflicts for some time. I have become interested also in mysterious objects which purpose at first glance is unclear. I have also resigned from the traditional form of a book in favour of a collection of single photographs, something of a “collector’s portfolio”, numbered and signed. Photographs can be kept in this file, but you can also use it differently, hang it on the wall or give it to somebody else.

Agnieszka Rayss
We have decided to set off to explore the areas outside the city which are less known. To take a closer look at the outskirts. At Sputnik, we like digging into the matter.

The Neon Museum, the Legia Warsaw Museum or the “Charm of the PRL” Museum are pretty known. However, I haven’t heard of the Timber Museum or the Museum of Computers and Games.

The first one is located in Targówek near Porthos, a hat atelier, and the Museum of the Computers and Games has recently been established and is located in the basement of the Electronic Market. The objects there are not presented in cabinets but you can actually use them and play. And there are over 200 pieces! The Museum of Cassettes doesn’t even have a place yet, but the archives are already quite amusing. 

Some of these museums are open once a week, or even once a month. But you can easily make an appointment. Mostly these are bottom-up initiatives, set up by private people or foundations. I respect and admire their passion. 

Was there such a place where you didn’t obtain a permit for shooting?

It happened at the Dollhouse Museum. Finally, I used a dollhouse that is available for sale at their shop. It turned out even better – more mysterious. 

What is inspires you in photography nowadays?

I cannot escape from the topic of war. Just like we all do.

Muzeum Życia w PRL, fot. Agnieszka Rayss
Muzeum Naparstków, fot. Agnieszka Rayss

In the file “From the Records of a Collector” you will find photos from these Warsaw museums:

The Museum of the Computers and Games, Niepodległości Ave 208A, pavilion 1, www.wmkig.pl
The Legia Warsaw Museum, Stadium of Legia Warsaw, Łazienkowska St 3, www.legia.com
The Timber Museum, Artmode Atelier Porthos, Gorzykowska St 15, by prior arrangement: 508 325 934
The Neon Museum, Soho Factory, Mińska St 25, www.neonmuzeum.org
The Diving Museum, Grzybowska St 88, www.muzeumnurkowania.pl
The Museum Chamber of Warsaw Trams – tram depot in Mokotów, Woronicza St 27, every first Monday of the month, www.tw.waw.pl
The “Charm of the PRL” Museum, Piękna St 28/34, www.mzprl.pl
The Museum Chamber at the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology PAS, Pasteura St 3
The Museum of Cassettes, www.muzeumkaset.pl