February 14, 2009 - Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi (MS) - Working Title: Archive
February 14, 2009

Working Title: Archive

Marysia Lewandowska
Tender Museum, 2009
Photo from the private collection of Olga Stanislawska

“Working Title: Archive”
The history of the exhibition “Constructivism in Poland 1973–1994″
Marysia Lewandowska
Lasse Schmidt Hansen

curator: Magdalena Ziolkowska


27.02 – 3.05.2008

Muzeum Sztuki, Lodz, PL


The exhibition “Working Title: Archive” is concerned with opening up the archive of one of Europe’s oldest contemporary art museum to artists and curators. The exhibition seeks to link the history of the Muzeum with current artistic practice and cultural trends. Today’s culture is constantly in archive mode – documenting and attempting the preserve every piece of reality surrounding us. At the same moment, we live in a network culture, in the midst of participatory media, having given priority to access and transparency while slowly forgetting what the past might mean. There are still places where the past is not only deposited but its traces are systematized, indexed and categorized according to historical classification systems. One of these is the archive of the museum, which serves as a place to reconsider the relation between the past and the present not only in terms of what it contains but what it obviously doesn’t, its absences, gaps, omissions, eclipses and denials.

Reflection on the archive and its accessibility lay at the very heart of the practice of both invited artists – Marysia Lewandowska and Lasse Schmidt Hansen – who share a distrust of the status of the document itself, its presence and power.

Marysia Lewandowska’s project “Tender Museum” focuses on knowledge produced at the margins. She redistributes and fictionalises the encounter with archival sources. Public and private accounts of the Muzeum are mixed together in a sequence of film and sound recordings,. By insisting on releasing previously unseen materials into the public domain her project directly re-imagines the foundational act of generosity associated with the Muzeum Sztuki.

Elaborate attention to details intrudes into the works of Lasse Schmidt Hansen, who also bases his practice in modernity’s drive towards bureaucratisation and documentation. Rather than emerging out of the archives themselves, his objects are generated on the basis of such processes as accumulation, redundancy, and preservation – part of the generalised archival desire to which a large number of institutions respond.

The last section of “Working Title: Archive” brings to life the journey of one of the most famous exhibitions in the history of the Muzeum Sztuki. “Constructivism in Poland” originated in Lodz and travelled to more than sixteen international venues from 1973 onwards. The tour re-established the reputation of Polish Constructivism outside the country for the first time since 1945. This re-presentation of the show will look at the ideological framework through which the artistic movement was implemented into the narrative of western art history.

The exhibition will be presented during the reopening of the museum space in Wieckowskiego Street on 26 February 2009. The building – a former palace of the Poznanski family – has been the main venue for the Muzeum Sztuki since 1946. Two young designers, Paulina Stepien and Magdalena Piwowar, have created an exceptionally modern project, which respects the historic interiors of the space. With the reopening of the building in Wieckowskiego Street, the Muzeum Sztuki enters a new phase, which began with moving the collection to the ms2 space. Currently, the programme of twentieth and twenty first century art will be shown simultaneously in both ms and ms2.

Muzeum Sztuki

Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi (MS)
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