Edifice is a visual journey back to a time most people would like to forget. Pałka documents buildings that have survived the Communist regime, which years ago rolled over Central and Eastern Europe. The photographs show the interiors of the Polana Hotel, a closed holiday facility once owned by the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, and the now disused office building for the management of the Nowa Huta Steelworks, a fine example of Socialist Realism, once visited by Nikita Khrushchev and Fidel Castro.
Karol Pałka builds the Edifice in the title to tell a story about power and its impermanence. The Edifice provides shelter, security, peace, and at the same time, gives a sense of strength. However, the feeling is just an illusion, and the power – contrary to what those who wield it think – is not given once and for all, but only for a moment. The spectre of demise is near, lurking just round the corner, just behind the cold and thick walls of grandiose ideas.
“For man, unlike any other thing organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, emerges ahead of his accomplishments. This you may say of man—when theories change and crash, when schools, philosophies, when narrow dark alleys of thought, national, religious, economic, grow and disintegrate, man reaches, stumbles forward, painfully, mistakenly sometimes. Having stepped forward, he may slip back, but only half a step, never the full step back.” – John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
All images © Karol Palka
By Karol Palka