This new audio-visual installation tells powerful story of Paderewski and Polish Independence. Paderewski Remixed opens on 16th September 2018 as a highlight of the Bridging Europe Festival in Budapest.
Charismatic, courageous, dashing and inspired – these words, and many more, have been used to describe Ignacy Jan Paderewski. The Polish pianist, composer, statesman and humanitarian achieved lasting international fame in a world untouched by social media and instant celebrity. His remarkable legacy as performer and politician is brought to life in a new audio-visual installation created by Yeast Culture to mark the centenary of Poland regaining its independence.
The Paderewski Remixed installation captures the emotional force of Paderewski’s art as well as the tumultuous times in which he lived. Yeast Culture’s innovative artwork, presented on stacked video monitors, connects with the emotional heart of his composing and enhances its visceral intensity and expressive beauty with a breath-taking blend of still photos, rare archive film, visual montage, sound recordings and a series of onscreen texts.
Ignacy Jan Paderewski
Ignacy Jan Paderewski
Pianist, composer, activist, polyglot, orator, politician, statesman, humanitarian, businessman, patron of art and architecture, winegrower, film actor, icon: Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941) led a remarkable life.
Four separate banks of screens create a ‘video canvas’ for Paderewski Remixed. These are used to tell the pianist’s story and set his long, eventful life within the wider context of contemporary history. The onscreen imagery is complemented by an irresistible soundscape delivered through speakers scattered around the exhibition space.
The flexible nature of Yeast Culture’s installation, with its striking array of multiple video monitors arranged in four banks, means that it can be reconfigured to suit the specific needs of venues of many shapes and sizes. It can also be enjoyed from several perspectives, delivering different yet equally powerful experiences to viewers at floor, mezzanine and upper-gallery levels.
While the Paderewski Remixed experience is more about the immersive ‘sensation’ of watching than traditional linear film viewing, its contents convey details of the pianist’s personal biography and its relationship to international affairs. It also captures the decadence of life in the capital cities of fin-de-siècle Europe, the chaotic drama of two world wars, and the attempts made by Paderewski and others to secure global peace and stability.
Paderewski was appointed the first Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the newly created Republic of Poland in January 1919. Although his political career was brief, he represented Poland at the Paris Peace Conference. Paderewski Remixed includes footage of Paderewski arriving at Versailles in 1919 with US President Woodrow Wilson and other Allied leaders for post-war treaty negotiations. The installation also charts the rise of Hitler and shows the Nazi invasion of Poland, complete with film of the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein firing the first shots of World War II.
Paderewski, Modjeska & Curie: Shaping Independent Poland from the Outside
Paderewski Remixed has been programmed to create a unique atmosphere of the pianist’s world. Viewers will see a multitude of snapshots and moving images on different screens and single pictures projected over several monitors. Its highlights include a striking montage of the pianist’s fingers racing across the keyboard; street scenes filmed in Vienna in the early 1900s; soldiers marching to war in 1914; the top-hatted Paderewski arriving at the Versailles peace conference; and a life-sized image of the veteran pianist addressing guests at the Polish Embassy in Paris six months before Hitler’s conquest of France in 1940.
Paderewski’s compelling performance of Liszt’s Second Hungarian Rhapsody, recorded for the 1937 British film Moonlight Sonata, in which Paderewski played himself, runs as a thread throughout the installation.
Nick Hillel, Yeast Culture’s founder and creative director, was invited by Adam Mickiewicz Institute to develop the installation for Müpa Budapest. He visited the building, home to the Bartók National Concert Hall, Ludwig Museum and Festival Theatre, in March 2018 and subsequently created Paderewski Remixed for its exhibition space.
London-based Yeast Culture, established almost two decades ago, has drawn critical acclaim and won numerous awards for its cross-disciplinary collaborations with artists and organisations as diverse Nitin Sawhney, Brian Eno, Michael Nyman, Jamie Cullum, Courtney Pine, the Philharmonia Orchestra, Cirque du Soleil, the National Film Council, the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and The Beastie Boys.
Bridging Europe Festival in Budapest
ignacy jan paderewski
polish contemporary classical music
Paderewski Remixed was commissioned by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute as a part of the Polska Music programme and POLSKA 100, the international cultural programme celebrating the centenary of Poland regaining independence.
POLSKA 100 is financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland as part of the multi-annual programme NIEPODLEGŁA 2017–2021.
Source: press release, compiled by NR, Aug 2018