February 23, 2010 - KW Institute for Contemporary Art - EARLY YEARS
February 23, 2010


Zbigniew Libera
Wyjscie ludzi z miast (People leaving the cities), 2009

28 February – 02 May 2010

Opening: 27 February 2010, 5-10 pm

Auguststraße 69
D-10117 Berlin


Artists: Wojciech Bąkowski, Yael Bartana, Tania Bruguera, Oskar Dawicki, Sharon Hayes, Sanja Iveković, Daniel Knorr, KwieKulik, Zbigniew Libera, Anna Molska, Paulina Ołowska, Agnieszka Polska, Joanna Rajkowska, Ahlam Shibli, Jan Smaga, Anna Zaradny, Artur Żmijewski

Curated by Joanna Mytkowska, Sebastian Cichocki, Ana Janevski, Katarzyna Karwańska
Presented by the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw

Contemporary art is having its moment in Poland these days. Museums are being built, and new institutions, public as well as private, are emerging. Some artists’ names have become household words, and their practice—previously ignored or misinterpreted—benefits from a wider understanding and acceptance. The fact that the most central tract of land in the Polish capital will soon see the construction of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw speaks for itself.

The exhibition EARLY YEARS at KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin wanders through the fields of institutional self-reflection. It searches for terms apt to describe the emergence of a museum of art in the present, of actual artistic, political and social discourses. A museum established amid the collapse of meta-narratives, aware of the institutional critique which had made the museum’s hegemonic nature a subject of dispute for decades, and, finally, familiar with the realities of the economic crisis—such a museum must rely not only on long-term strategic planning, but also contend with the moods, uncertainties and intuitions of the moment.

The “early years” of the title usually describe that unique moment of an artistic biography when one remains naive and is only starting to learn from one’s own errors, but is at the same time at the height of one’s authenticity, independence and heroism. The show is based on the concept of moving slightly into the future and using that futurist perspective to look back to the time of the great beginning, in a search for a history fitting for a founding myth.

For this exhibition the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw sought out the collaboration of artists with whom it had previously worked in its pioneering days. The museum shared its concerns with the group, and they reciprocated by sharing their expectations of the new institution. The final product is a show that invites the viewer to scrutinize in retrospection the moment when everything is still possible, that moment of tense balance between hope and disillusionment, between engagement and compromise. This is the real protagonist of the show.

EARLY YEARS is part of the project “The Promised City”, a cultural initiative between Berlin and Warsaw with performances in Mumbai and Bucharest. Artists, curators and academics from Germany, Poland, India, and Romania have developed various new creative productions, all of which are interdisciplinary and revolve around subjects of the dreams, illusions, and promises of modern metropolises.

Further information can be found at www.promised-city.org

Press Contacts

KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin
Denhart v. Harling, T: +49. (0)30. 24345942, press@kw-berlin.de
Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw
Marcel Andino Velez, T: +48. (0)22. 5964024, marcel.andino@artmuseum.pl

The exhibition was organized by

The Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw
ul. Pańska 3
00-124 Warsaw, Poland


in collaboration with:

The Polish Institute Berlin
Goethe-Institut Warsaw
The Municipality of Warsaw

With financial support from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland

Exhibition partner: Star

KW Institute for Contemporary Art

KW Institute for Contemporary Art
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