#photography & visual arts
The Gothenburg Museum of Art, in cooperation with the National Museum in Warsaw and the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, opens an extensive exhibition of Polish art from the turn of the 20th century.
Young Poland is a significant period in the history of Polish art, although it remains largely unknown to foreign audiences. The Gothenburg Museum of Art exhibition aims to change that by presenting Polish art from the end of the 19th century to Swedish audiences. The exhibition contains more than sixty artworks on loan from the National Museum in Warsaw, the National Museum in Kraków and the Museum of Art in Łódź. Most of them are large-scale paintings created by the most notable Polish artists, such as Olga Boznańska, Józef Chełmoński, Jacek Malczewski, Józef Mehoffer, Edward Okuń, Wojciech Weiss, Witold Wojtkiewicz and Stanisław Wyspiański.
The exhibition will contribute greatly to the attempts to change the narration on the art from the end of the 19th century, which in the Nordic and Western countries is so strongly connected to the Paris scene. Even though many of the artists decided to move to Paris, the exhibition focuses on those who later returned to Poland and stresses their connections with Munich, England, Italy and St. Petersburg. By presenting artworks created in various parts of Europe, the exhibition enters into dialogue with Gothenburg Museum of Art’s impressive collection of fin de siècle Nordic art.
The mobility of art over national borders and changes in the European map are themes that characterise both the turn of the 20th century and our own time. Freedom of expression, the possibility of individual life choices, critical thinking and artistic self-expression are important themes in the exhibition. The curators stress that:
The concepts of freedom and hope were important themes for Polish culture and art. Traces of symbolism, neo-romanticism and early modernism created a unique and distinctive artistic atmosphere, with Kraków and Warsaw being the places where this atmosphere was most evident.
Poland and Sweden are neighbours, both countries have access to the Baltic Sea and have some common history. One of the intentions of the exhibition is to elucidate the cultural and artistic connections, dialogues and differences between these two countries and their art scenes.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue presenting research in a number of essays by leading scholars from Poland and Sweden. Apart from an introduction written by the curators Dr. Kristoffer Arvidsson (Head of Research, Gothenburg Museum of Art) and Eva Nygårds (Curator, Gothenburg Museum of Art), the catalogue includes essays by Joanna Persman (Swedish art critic), Dr. Andrzej Szczerski (National Museum in Krakow), Iwona Danielewicz (National Museum in Warsaw) and Agnieszka Morawińska (Director, National Museum in Warsaw). The essays will focus on comparisons between art from Poland and the Nordic countries at the turn of 20th the century, relationships between Polish artists and the art scene in other countries, as well as the historical circumstances of the Young Poland movement.
The exhibition at Gothenburg Museum of Art will coincide with the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining its independence. Apart from the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, the Gothenburg Museum of Art is co-operating with the Polish Embassy and the Polish Institute in Sweden in order to raise interest in this exhibition as part of the celebration of the anniversary in Sweden and other Nordic countries.
North and South
The project is organised by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute operating under the Culture.pl brand as part of POLSKA 100, the international cultural programme accompanying the centenary of Poland regaining independence.
Financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland as part of the multi-annual programme NIEPODLEGŁA 2017-2021 as well as by the Anna Ahrenberg Foundation’s Fund for Scientific Aims, The Wilhelm and Martina Lundgren Support Fund, the Längmanska Cultural Foundation, the Royal Patriotic Society and the Polish Institute in Sweden.
Source: press releases, written by ZŁO, Sep 2018, translated by MW, Oct 2018