Primer is a large-format monograph by Karolina Karlic that runs 164 pages including an afterword by Sally Stein. This first printing is offered in an edition of 100, plus a Collector's Edition of 25 that includes a signed artist print of "Body Shop Boys, Metro Detroit - 2010"
My work is invested in/is committed to the representation of American culture, specifically immigrant emplacement and diaspora around communities of industry and labor. I am dedicated to telling the stories of those who have been affected by the modern evolution of industries, particularly the contemporary auto industry. Those changes —economical, political, and emotional—have left an indelible mark on this country, and specifically Michigan, where I grew up, and continue to revisit.
Primer - Elementarz is an exploration of the personal stories of those who exist behind this auto industry, along with charting the evolution (or de-evolution) of that industry, and as a result, how our social dynamic has shifted. From my personal perspective, this book tracks the reach of the U.S. auto industry, stretching from Detroit, to California, to Eastern Europe, where my father—an engineer—implemented new industrial plants. As a family chronicle, the book’s five chapters are punctuated by my father’s attempts to communicate with me via texts written from abroad, one sign of his lifelong effort to sustain both his family and his own identity during many shifts in residence and work.
Finally, the large format photographs depict my own path, which represents the industrial showcases of the auto industry throughout the American landscape alongside my extended family’s everyday life in Poland. If there’s underlying drama in this chronicle, it’s how these two worlds connect and disconnect. Man’s quest for work, sustainability, escape, isolation, and advancement, tread the book’s pages. These desires, which are familiar to many immigrants from abroad including Eastern Europe, and to the black workers who moved their families north during the Great Migration of the interwar period, echo throughout the book, as a testament to an American dream that beckons to a huge variety of peoples even as it does not always deliver on its promises.