Tomorrow Will Be Better

Tadeusz Rolke's photo from exhibition "Tommorow will be better"
Tadeusz Rolke's photo from exhibition "Tommorow will be better"
Tadeusz Rolke's photo from exhibition "Tommorow will be better"
Photographer Tadeusz Rolke (left) and co-curator Andriy Boyarov (right).
Exhibition opening
Exhibition opening

Tomorrow Will Be Better
photo exhibition by Tadeusz Rolke

August, 23, 2016 till May 14, 2017

"The series of photographs by Tadeusz Rolke about Lviv in 1989–1991 is an incredible historical source and expressive documenting of the transition period. Those are the pictures of real, unembellished and non-mystified life in Lviv. The could be boldly called "At the Crossroad of Time". These are the crossroads between the still omnipresent Soviet everyday reality with empty stores, crowds of the military in the street , low quality monotonous "cooperative" bought clothes, queues, lack of smiles, but with the hope for the better, and more fair future, because it was supposed to be "our own." (Vasyl Rasevych).

In 1990, a Polish photographer was commissioned by a German magazine "GEO" to go and document the events underway in Lviv. Due to unknown circumstances, though, the materials had never been published. After 26 years, a photo exhibition will try to re-create contextual and visual narratives the author wanted to put across. Out of over 100 photographs, we selected 50 images showing different stories of the city and in the city in the year of the collapse of the USSR. The stories include a wide range, from walkouts and demonstrations to transformation in public space and in the everyday life of citizens. It is a photo documenting of the crisis, of the feeling of uncertainty, but it also shows decisiveness and the anticipation of change.

The events of last years of the Soviet Union are documented in journalists reports, in academic articles and textbooks. However, the narrative by the photo artist is more interesting than a history textbook. Tadeusz Rolke’s lens captured the scenes from Lviv life in 1990. It leaves us to discern the meaning of perspectives and contrasts, to recollect or recognize some historical events. The most important thing in the exercise of recognizing images of the city and its citizens is not to give in to temptation and search for illustrations to the stories you had known before. Events from a history textbook are naturally present in the author’s visual imagery but they make up an integral entity with daily routine, and also with episodes out of large historical narrative that had been partially forgotten, that had disappeared and had not settled in the archives. The outsider view of the author on Lviv is supplemented with the texts by historians who are researchers, on the one hand, but who are also eye-witnesses of the events of the Soviet Union decline. The combination of the outsider view and the insider context-based position helps comparing different attitudes and perspective to find out what the year 1990 meant in Lviv and for Lviv. It is also an impetus for critical reconsideration of the 25 years of history of formation of our state, development of new society and its values.

Tadeusz Rolke  is a Polish photographer. His creative activities cover 60 years of intense work. It started with photo documenting postwar destroyed Warsaw and the reconstruction. He worked for many publications in Poland and Germany as a photo journalist, photo documentary maker, and fashion photographer. For Rolke, the main thing in photography is spontaneity of observation and documentation of reality. Exhibitions of Tadeusz Rolke were held in the Center of Modern Art "Ujazdow Castle" in Warsaw (projects "Taking Pictures of the 1960s, And More", 1997, "All is Photography", 2009), at Kunstverein, Hamburg, (project "Fish Market", 2002), at Foksal Gallery Foundation, Warsaw, (project "Rock&Rolke", 2006), and in hundreds of other small and large galleries and art centers in Europe and beyond. Visitors of the Center for Urban History are familiar with the works by the photographer due to exhibitions We Were Here (Hasidism) (2010) and The Girl Next Door (2011).

The exhibition will be supplemented with lectures and discussions program for general public , and an educational program. The educational program is targeted at children and teenagers, at lecturers and students, at teachers and pupils. The exhibition is planned to allow for a number of different formats, such as general tours, research school for teenagers, events for the youngest, cooperation with schools. The programs will center on the subjects of history of the 1990s with the focus of studying family recollections, microhistory, history of things, and daily life. For more details on the program, follow our website and the Facebook profile. The key topic of lectures and discussions will be on transformation processes in the 1990–2000s in different fields, such as politics and culture, and daily life in Ukraine and further in Europe. The topics will be discussed with historians, sociologists, politologists, and artists. The program started with the talk with the exhibition author Tadeusz Rolke, on August, 25. The supporting programs will last throughout the entire period of the display.

The exhibition was prepared by:


Andriy Boyarov
Marek Grygel

Managers of Exhibition Project:

Iryna Matsevko
Yevhen Chervonyi


Andriy Linik
Lavrin Shymin

Accompanying Exhibition Programs:

Khrystyna Boyko
Iryna Matsevko

Exhibition Assistant: Marta Peresada

Authors of texts:

Vasyl Rasevych
Serhiy Yekelchyk
Lubomyr Petrenko
Catherine David
Bohdan Shumylovych

Preparation of historical materials:

Yulia Shelep
Iryna Sklokina


Jagoda Wirzewska
Bella Hrankina
Natalia Kosmolinska
Ihor Melnyk
Wlodzimerz Pawlow
Wandy Fontela
Robert Jarosz


Lviv City Council
Consulate General of the republic of Poland in Lviv
Le Guern Gallery
Adam Mickiewic Institute

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