"Passages and Returns: The Collection of the Ethnographic Museum in Kraków" shows an unusual series that establishes a link between experiences from the past and those of the present, as well as a parallel between the culture of the South of Poland with the South of France. The culture of Malopolska is displayed through people's experience and actual objects rather than narrative art. The "Passages" symbolise memories of childhood, while "Repassages" represent those values that we have retained within us to this day.
Nikifor, "Krakowska Wolnica"/"Wolica Square in Krakow", photo: Press materials
"Passages and Returns: The Collection of the Ethnographic Museum in Kraków" shows an unusual series that establishes a link between experiences from the past and those of the present, as well as a parallel between the culture of the South of Poland with the South of France
The culture of Małopolska is displayed through people's experience and actual objects rather than narrative art. The "Passages" symbolise memories of childhood, while "Repassages" represent those values that we have retained within us to this day. The 13 chapters take the viewer through a journey within the culture of Małopolska - tied in with a personal journey.
One of the most notable figures featured in the exhibition is the artist Nikifor
. The series spans turnstiles, door lock mechanisms, paintings on glass, hives, clothing, sculptures, toys and photographs: all seemingly ordinary objects once created for everyday use are now presented as still extremely valuable and useful tools in defining the artists's identity. The organizers of the exhibition believe that objects are originated by people via the power of culture influencing them. Thus, "Passages and Returns" present the region of Małopolska as a magnetic cultural area holding quite a powerful quality, offering contemporary Europe a forum for a debate about values and legacy.
People participating in the workshops inaugurating the preparation of the exhibition were asked to reflect on the following subject: "Bring up an important memory from your childhood; try to describe it. What does it mean to you today?". The project resulted with over 40 stories, each one of them consisting of a Proustian Madeleine of its own: the smell of apples on the porch of the country teacher's home, the sight of a father cleaning his shoes, the independent driving of a plow at age 12, observing a storm through the open window, a mushroom expedition in the forest with grandma, the collective cooking of pierogis, observing the procession of Corpus Christi, etc. Those stories proved that those apparently average, trivial events hold a major significance to most of us, that simple things and events hold a special place in our memory despite their ordinariness. The authors of the exhibition selected objects within the collection of the Ethnographic Museum in Kraków
that could resonate with the testimonies they gathered, and help the visitors revive personal memories.
The exhibition is divided into thirteen sections or stations, a very modern set taking visitors on a journey through the culture of Małopolskia, as well as their own personal past.
"Passages et repassages" is accompanied by the publication of an album in three languages. The concept follows the one of the exhibition on a reversed scheme: Using selected objects from museums as a primary source, a team of ethnographers, psychologists, sociologists, philosophers, art historians and writers dug out subjects and themes that remain relevant and contemporary, sometimes frightening, even scandalous. The numerous analyses display the infinite variety of artefacts collected in museums that embody memory, excess or loneliness.
The House of Craft and Art Crafts (Maison de l'Artisanat et des Metiers d'Art) that houses the exhibition is placed in the touristic centre of Marseille. The City officials helped create the venue, inaugurated in 1983, by funding the transformation of an antique mill into a prestigious gallery.
The exhibition is organised within the project "Małopolska. Passage obligé"/ "Małopolska: A Must See" co-financed by the EU and te Malopolski Region as a part of the Małopolski Regionalny Program Operacyjny.
Exhibition script: Antoni Bartosz, Bożena Bieńkowska, Grzegorz Graff, Dorota Gruszka, Anna Mokrzycka, Małgorzata Oleszkiewicz, Ewa Rossal, Małgorzata Szczurek.
Opening: February 10, 2011.
The exhibition runs through April 2, 2011.
Maison de l'Artisanat et des Métiers d'Art
(The House of Craft and Art Crafts)
21, Cours d'Estienne d'Orves
Souce: press release