The Tatra Conference

The Tatra Conference

Open Art Projects

The road the the Valley of the Five Ponds, October 2014. Photo: Maria Loboda.
November 17, 2014

4–6 December 2014

Tatra Museum
Krupówki 10
34-500 Zakopane

The Tatra Conference is an international meeting of artists, curators, art historians, writers and anthropologists held in the mountain resort of Zakopane. Their works, discussions and presentations will be devoted to the avant-garde tradition of the locality, the artists once associated with the town, as well as its mythology and surrounding nature. Drawing on the history of the Zakopane’s artistic colony—a group of artists and writers for whom Zakopane of the late 19th century was the centre of intellectual debate and a source of inspiration, the conference is conceived as an attempt at exploring and investigating the creative potential of the place.

The point of departure is the art of sculptor Władysław Hasior (1928–1999), his entire life very closely linked with Zakopane, who still remains one of the best known artists of post-war Poland. A charismatic author of monuments, assemblages, performances and set designs, though travelling abroad and drawing on his foreign experience, Hasior has always remained close to the material culture of the Tatra Mountains region, its customs and symbols. The recent renovation of the artist’s gallery and his archives have resulted in the reopening of research of his art and educational activities. Thus the symposium about the Tatra Mountains, Zakopane, and Hasior himself is an important component of the conference, with contributions presenting the town and its history from the viewpoint of art, literature, anthropology and politics, where Zakopane is more of an intellectual construct, an idyllic utopia, a product of the imagination. Continuing along these lines, one of the panels of the symposium is focused on Hasior’s artistic practice seen through the lens of local traditions and customs, but also concentrating on the figure of the artist himself who had very consciously created his public image. Other presentations treat the sculptor’s work in a broader artistic context, with questions about the exceptional nature of his art and its affiliations with international tendencies, as well as his own entanglement in history and politics. By gathering specialists from different disciplines, the event is seen not so much as an academic revision of Hasior’s practice but an impulse triggering a critical approach to his rather complex oeuvre.

The conference assumes a broad field of references and tropes of interpretation of Hasior’s art. An artistic programme lies at its core, with participation of international artists whose works will be presented in a number of locations, mainly at the exhibition titled Modest Muses which focuses on ordinary objects transformed into extraordinary works of art. The presentation is about the insightful and vigilant observation of quotidian reality. Historical and contemporary works blur the boundaries between the common and the special. They question the rationalistic division of the world into the animate and inanimate, displaying it via the prism of intuition and imagination. The entire mood of the exhibition is determined by its specific location—the mysterious nature, fantastic mythology of the place and surrealist motifs present in the practice of the many artists who had worked there. There is also an annex to the show—a projection of slides selected from Hasior’s Photography Notepad, documenting the vernacular culture of Zakopane and the region. In addition to the show, artist Maria Loboda has created a piece locating it in the high mountain shelter at the Valley of the Five Ponds. The conference also includes a film programme, Echoes from the Highlands, inspired by the nature of the Tatras and the local rituals, as well as a performance by Miet Warlop and a concert of the Pathman band made up of musicians who had collaborated with Hasior in the past.

5–6 December 2014
Participants: Katarzyna Chrudzimska-Uhera, David Crowley, Julita Dembowska, Anna Dezeuze, Jan Gondowicz, Łukasz Gorczyca, Dorota Jarecka, Ewa Klekot, Błażej Pindor, Slavs and Tatars, Ewa Tatar, Sarah Wilson, Anna Żakiewicz

Artistic programme

Modest Muses
5 December 2014–11 January 2015
Preview: 4 December
The Tatra Museum, Gallery of 20th century art at Villa Oksza
Artists: Caroline Achaintre, Geta Brătescu, Ewa Ciepielewska, Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys, Habima Fuchs, Walon Green, Bĕla Kolařova, Mark Leckey, Basim Magdy, Charlotte Moth, Paulina Ołowska, Erna Rosenstein

Agnieszka Brzeżańska
4 December 2014, 20h

Film programme
Echoes from the Highlands

5 December 2014, 20h
Sokół Cinema
Artists: Ben Rivers, Harry Smith, Cem Raios T’Abram collective
Curated by Margarida Mendes

Pathman and Kinior
5 December 2014, 22h
Dworzec Tatrzański

Maria Loboda, Day for Night at the shelter in the Valley of the Five Ponds

Entry to all the events is free of charge, however the number of places is limited. Therefore we kindly request confirmation of participation by 20 November by email to tatraconference [​at​]

Please follow the programme on Facebook.

The artistic programme is organized by Open Art Projects and the Tatra Museum in Zakopane.

The symposium is organised by the the Tatra Museum in Zakopane and Volans Association.

Project initiator: Kola Śliwińska
Curator: Kasia Redzisz
Artistic programme coordination: Magda Materna with assistance of Emma Knaflewska
Symposium coordination: Kola Śliwińska, Ewa Ciepielewska
Coordination on behalf of the Tatra Museum: Julita Dembowska

The symposium is possible thanks to the funding by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute in Warsaw, as well as the City of Zakopane in partnership with the Zakopane Promotion Office.

The artistic programme has been financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, Małopolskie Voivoideship and the City of Zakopane in partnership with the Zakopane Promotion Office.

Project supported by Institutes of Polish Culture in London, Stockholm and Paris.

Partners of Open Art Projects: The Starak Family Foundation, Spectra Art Space, Polpharma, European Compensation Center

RSVP for The Tatra Conference
Open Art Projects
November 17, 2014

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