Side by Side. Poland - Germany. 1000 years of Art and History

Unknown Author, "PrincessJadwiga", ca. 1530, source: Bayerische Schlösserverwaltung

The binational exhibition marks ten centuries of cultural exchange between neighbours Poland and Germany

Berlin's Martin-Gropius-Bau is hosting a show of close to 800 pieces ranging from works of art to documents detailing the spiritual and scientific development of both Poland and Germany. The exhibition reveals the intricate shared cultural past of the two bordering nations through a wide array of pieces donated by major private and institutional collections in Poland, Germany and other European countries, such as the National Museum in Warsaw, the Łódź Museum of Art, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Vatican Library. 

Curated by Anda Rottenberg, the exhibition presents some 250 paintings, 30 sculptures, 60 historical volumes, 80 manuscripts, 60 etchings, 70 documents, 100 craft items and150 photographs, film, music and prints. It is the first time that such a broad showcase of this rich cultural heritage has been presented, beginning with representations of political and diplomatic figures significant to the early relations of the two countries, starting with St. Adalbert and Richeza from Cologne, who married the future King Mieszko II and became Queen of Poland in 1025 through the Landshut Wedding, battles of the Teutonic Knights up to World War II, Solidarity and EU accession.

The most iconic pieces include the portrait of Margrave Albrecht von Brandenburg-Ansbach by Lucas Cranach the Elder from the year 1528, outstanding 17th century paintings from Danzig and “Prussian Tribute” by Jan Matejko from 1882, along with works by major contemporary artists - Mirosław Bałka, Artur Żmijewski, Krzysztof Bednarski, Edward Dwurnik, Jochen Gerz, Anselm Kiefer, Gerhard Richter, Wilhelm Sasnal, Gregor Schneider, Günther Uecker, Piotr Uklanski, Luc Tuymans and Krzysztof Wodiczko. Many of these artists use make use of the complexities of political conflict and strife of the past in creating a new commentary on the state of Poland, Germany and Europe in the present. These works are not without controversy, as the removal of Żmijewski's "Tag", which depicts naked people playing games in a gas chamber, has proven. After protests from a prominent member of the Jewish Community, the work was effectively censored. 

See more on the removal of Żmijewski's "Tag"

The exhibition opened on the morning of the 21st of September with an official VIP ceremony presided over by patrons Polish President Bronisław Komorowski and German President Christian Wulff. In his speech, President Komorowski emphasised that "art is more precious than gold, it gives people a sense of immortality" and declared that the exhibition "tells the history of important and fruitful neighbourly relations as seen through the looking glass of culture and art. Luminaries from both the political and artistic spheres from both nations were in attendance. 

The opening of the exhibition was accompanied by a concert of Polish dances composed by the German composer G. P. Telemann and performed by the Orchiesta Czasów Zarazy / Times of the Plague Orchestra. The Orchestra attempts to reconstruct early Polish music from the years 1717-1722, based on Telemann’s manuscripts and notes. The Orchestra performed 31 dances and was accompanied by a fiddler and piper.

See report on reviews in German dailies of the exhibition

The exhibition is accompanied by an extensive catalogue edited by the Polish art historian Prof. Małgorzata Omilanowska and published by DuMont-Verlag, with essays by renowned experts from Germany and Poland as well as guest authors from other countries.

Martin-Gropius-Bau has a history of housing exciting exhibitions that touch on major themes of cultural history. The museum works closely with the latest archaeological finds and the international contemporary arts scene. The building itself is classified as a historical monument, opening with great pomp in 1881. 

The initiative was developed on the basis of an agreement between the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage in Poland and a representative of the Federal Republic of Germany for Culture and Media.

Presidents Bronisław Komorowski and Christian Wulff are patrons of the exhibition.

Date: 23rd of September, 2011 - 9th of January, 2012

Venue: Martin-Gropius-Bau, Universität der Knute

Organised by: Royal Castle in Warsaw, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berliner Festspiele

Funded by: the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.

Project cofinanced by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.

Source: Adam Mickiewicz Institute

[[nid:4965287]]
Rate:
(3 votes)

At her first individual exhibition in Great Britain, Agnieszka Polska is to show her work featuring a group of artists who vanished from the history of art...

Dorys is Poland's most famous celebrity portrait artist. Thanks to the National Digital Library Polona, his works are now in the public domain.

"The Vanishing of Ethan Carter", materiały promocyjne

The Vanishing Of Ethan Carter, the new adventure game from Adrian Chmielarz, has gained spectacular reviews from all over the gaming world.

Max Cegielski, the curator of the Adam Mickiewicz Migrating University in Istanbul speaks about the lesson that Mickiewicz can teachto modern-day Turks, as...

Boomini, doll house, photo press materials

Polish designers are bringing out products that are educational and picture pretty. Hand-made goods made of ecological and natural materials are pushing their...

  •  
  • 1 of 499

(Beijing, 16 Oct 2011) The Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Poland’s international cultural relations body today launched the “I, Culture Puzzle” programme at the...

ART Food workshops in Ćmielów; photo courtesy of IAM

Students from design schools in Poland as well as from abroad are meeting at the 2nd edition of the Art Food workshops which merge cuisine and design. The...

Music and theatre from Poland are presented at Edinburgh's two major record-beating festivals. Scotland hosts showings of Song of the Goat Theatre's Return to...

Kraków has more historic buildings than any other city in Poland and the unique coffeehouse culture is legendary. The nightlife here makes the city seem like a...

The book cover; photo: materials of the publisher

Michał Witkowski's "Lovetown" (Polish title "Lubiewo"), published early this year in Great Britain, has received critical praise in recent issues of "The...

  •  
  • 1 of 238

The culinary tastes of the generations born in the PPR (the Polish People’s Republic) were shaped mostly by canteen food and home cooking, which was based on...

Throughout centuries, Poland has been populated by very diverse ethnicities and linguistic groups, all of which have left a mark. Here's a look at some of the...

Andrzej Wajda during a rehearsal of "The Possessed" according to Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 1971, Teatr Stary in Krakow, photo: Wojciech Plewiński / Forum

Forty years since it irreversibly altered the Polish theatre scene, Wajda's adaptation of Dostoyevsky's "The Possesed" resurfaces on the small screen. "The...

Culture.pl presents a guide of a phantom city - a Warsaw that no longer exists.

Plac Zbawiciela / Saviour Square, photo: Grzegorz Czaplicki

Forget the Old Town and the National Museum. Here are directions to the hotspots of counter-culture where you will encounter the laid-back yet edgy lifestyle...

  •  
  • 1 of 499