Warsaw celebrated the best of new Polish film, theatre, literature, visual arts, and classical and contemporary music with winners of the 20th edition of Polityka magazine's prestigious awards: Marcin Dorociński, Ivan Vyrypaev, Szczepan Twardoch, Julita Wójcik, TWOgether Duo and Très.b
The Polityka Passport prize given each year by Polityka magazine to the most active, promising names artists, musicians, filmmakers, writers, performers and cultural activists in Polish culture today. The 20th awards gala was a special anniversary edition, with initial recommendations announced in cooperation with art critics, then a readers' poll that played a decisive, unprecedented role in establishing the winners.
This year, performance and installation artist Julita Wójcik was awarded in the Visual Arts category, chosen over fellow nominees Katarzyna Krakowiak and Radek (Radosław) Szlaga for her "creativity, nestled in equal measure within simple acts and interpersonal contact". The award refers specifically to her project Rainbow, realised in 2011 as a tribute to the virtues of tolerance, openness and optimism within the European Union, and part of the extended cultural programme of the Polish EU Presidency. With hundreds of volunteers and the support of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Wójcik built a huge arch adorned with 3,000 fake flowers arranged in a rainbow pattern. Constructed in Poland, the installation traveled to Brussels, where it stood in front of the European Parliament for several months. Rainbow was brought back to Poland in 2012, refurbished with fresh flowers, and installed in the middle of the Warsaw's popular roundabout at Saviour Square (Plac Zabwiciela).
The reinstallation coincided with unrelated events that drew inspiration from the Rainbow message: the Pride Parade / Parada Równości on the 2nd of June, the Corpus Christi / Boże Ciało festivities and the opening of the Euro 2012 football championship. "The Rainbow fits all occasions", as Wójcik explained, "and therefore communicates my main message: that it doesn't stand for anything political or social, that it be completely free from any assigned meanings. Simply - that it be beautiful". Warsaw residents and tourists welcomed the Rainbow with open arms; however, there have been instances of vandalism or accidental damage. On the evening of the 12th of February 2012, masked men set fire to the Rainbow, which caused extensive damage before firemen could put the blaze out. The Adam Mickiewicz Institute released a statement following the incident, condemning acts of such vandals, and the Rainbow was repaired. It was damaged during a fireworks display on New Year's Eve 2013, days later the Rainbow was again set alight by vandals. No plans have been announced to repair the installation; however the Institute stands behind the values the Rainbow represents, and refuses to be daunted by the threat of vandalism.
In the film category, the winner was actor Marcin Dorociński for his lead roles in Róża (Rose) and Obława (Manhunt). The actor was commended for "his perfect pitch in acting, which always protects him against sell-outs and the kitsch. And for his constant evolvement with each new film". Dorociński's fellow nominees were the director Leszek Dawid, nominated for his Jesteś bogiem, and Marcin Krzyształowicz, who directed Dorociński in Obława.
In the theatre category, Ivan Vyrypaev beat Michał Borczuch and Mirek Kaczmarek. The Russian theatre director, who has been conducting a series of projects in Warsaw, has been recognised for "reminding Polish theatre that art of the stage can also be poetry. For the faith in the power of stories and an iron-cast structure of the text layer, as well as experiments with the actor’s performative identity."
The nominees in literature were Kaja Malanowska, selected for her novel Patrz na mnie, Klaro (Look at me, Klara) and Zośka Papużanka, who recently debuted with the novel Szopka. The winner of the Passport prize is Szczepan Twardoch, the author of Morfina (Morphine), a brave, wild study of masculine weakness and the fluid Polish national identity, depicted in the first months under German occupation in 1939.
In classical music, Wojciech Blechacz and Agnieszka Budzińska-Bennett's nominations were bested by the TWOgether Duo. The duo was founded in 2007 by cellist Magdalena Bojanowicz and accordionist Maciej Frąckiewicz, and were recognised for their "very mature and distinct interpretations of the contemporary repertoire."
Popular music nominees included Marcin Masecki and the Małe Instrumenty (Small Instruments) ensemble, and the trio Tres.b was awarded the Passport prize. The group was founded in 2005 by the Dutch guitarist Olivier Heim, Danish percussionist Thomas Pettit and Misia Furtak, the Polish vocalist and bassist.
In addition to the laureates in the six main fields, the jury and the public participating in the readers' poll selected a special winner for the title Creators of Culture, presenting it to Elżbieta Penderecka and Krzysztof Penderecki. The composer received the award in recognition of his prominent, innovative works, which have garnered international fame and acclaim, as for his decades of accomplishments as a pedagogue and in cooperation with younger artists. Madame Penderecka, the composer's spouse, was honoured for "creating significant musical events, unearthing the manuscripts of major Polish composers, which were kept in the archives of the Jagiellonian Library, patronage over the Sinfonietta Cracovia and the Beethoven Academy Orchestra, as well as her huge merits in promulgating and animating the Polish music scene."
The Passport awards are presented annually at the intiative of the Polityka weekly magazine, and constitute a symbolic document of identification to open the path into the world for the selected artists. The awards recognise talented individuals who are fearless in crossing all kinds of boundaries, and whose works reach Polish and international audiences. Previous Passport holders include Krzysztof Warlikowski, Grzegorz Jarzyna, Mirosław Bałka, Leon Tarasewicz, Paweł Mykietyn, Rafał Blechacz, Małgorzata Szumowska, Andrzej Jakimowski, Krzysztof Krauze and Dorota Kędzierzawska.
Editor: SRS, AL
Source: press release