Looking Through Objects. Women in Contemporary Polish Design – Exhibition (Gdańsk)
12th of May – 6th of August 2023, NOMUS New Art Museum Gdańsk
The Looking Through Objects. Women in Contemporary Polish Design exhibition (in English) presents the profiles of 16 Polish female designers working at the intersection of product design, collector’s design, handicraft and art.
The curators’ idea is not only to show the designers’ work but also to build a feeling of actual contact with the artist behind each exhibit.
The object is accompanied by a large portrait of the artist at her studio and photographs showing her workplace and tools.
The curators interviewed the designers; quotes from these conversations accompany the presentations.
As a result, the visitor may feel that they have visited the designer at her studio and spent some time there to talk about her work and the essence of her design.
We can learn about different artistic methods and approaches by looking at the designs and “listening” to the designers.
Some of the designers carry out commercial commissions; others use design as an answer to the problems of the contemporary world.
For others still, a utilitarian object is simply a form of artistic expression.
Polish female designers featured: Agnieszka Aleksandra Bar, Alicja Bielawska, Alicja Patanowska, Anna Bera, Izabela Sroka & Julia Cybis, Justyna Popławska, Karina Marusińska, Karina Królak & Patrycja Smirnow, Magda Jurek, Maja Ganszyniec, Malwina Konopacka, Maria Jeglińska, Megi Malinowsky, Monika Patuszyńska, Róża Brito, Wiktoria Szawiel
The exhibition, which will be present at NOMUS, was first shown at the Museum of Applied Arts and Design in Tallinn from June 17 to September 25, 2022.
NOMUS is Poland’s youngest museum of modern art, operating as a branch of the National Museum in Gdańsk, Department of Modern Art. The museum has created a visitor-friendly space in a former school workshop building on the historic premises of Gdańsk Shipyard. Their mission is to talk with visitors about the contemporary world through the medium of art, and bring art itself closer to the viewer, make it understandable and accessible to all.
The Looking Through Objects. Women in Contemporary Polish Design exhibition was produced under the Looking Through Objects project by the National Museum in Gdańsk, co-financed by the Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage under the Inspiring Culture programme.
Curators: Agnieszka Jacobson-Cielecka, Gian Luca Amadei, Dario Lombardi
Project co-ordination: Agata Abramowicz, Gabriela Brdej
Exhibition visual identity and graphic layout: Kasia Kubicka
Exhibition design: Dominika Janicka
Promotion: Paulina Szwaj
Education: Noemi Etush, Nadzieja Mielewczyk
Partners: SWPS University, School of Forms
Patron: VOGUE, LINIA, trojmiasto.pl, gdansk.pl
Gian Luca Amadei, Agnieszka Jacobson-Cielecka
Design is located at the intersection of art, crafts and industry. From this vantage point, it reflects cultural, social and economic changes happening over time. During the last decade, insight and holistic thinking became the key values in design, replacing the spectacular, short-term trends of the past. As recently as 10 years ago, Poland was still a popular subcontractor for global brands rather than a design brand. Today, it is a strategic design and business partner standing out with its original craftsmanship, design quality and reasonable prices. Active and independent women designers have been participating in these changes on an increasingly noticeable scale.
The narrative of the exhibition Looking Through Objects focuses on contemporary Polish women designers. The starting point is the curators’ selection of objects allowing insight into the changes taking place in Poland. The presented objects belong to different categories: from serial industrial production to unique individual design. The designers’ approaches are also varied – from a pragmatic execution of orders to the artistic, intuitive search for creative freedom.
We met each of them several times to discuss their inspirations and creative processes, and individual strategies and approaches to their materials. We wanted to understand their influence and contribution to the changes that have taken place. The multitude of creative strategies proves that art, craft and technology, which we so readily compartmentalise from each other, are actually combined and may coexist in a single project. Design is a catalyst for art, crafts and industry, while simultaneously a means of expression of the female authors’ individual creative choices.
ABOUT THE CURATORS
Agnieszka Jacobson-Cielecka, curator of many exhibitions promoting Polish and European design, design critic. She is a lecturer at the School of Form, SWPS University in Warsaw.
Gian Luca Amadei, author of books and journalist who deals with design and architecture, researcher, lecturer at the Royal College of Art in London.
Dario Lombardi, independent photographer from Vienna.
Organizer of the National Museum in Warsaw:
Ministry of Culture and National Heritage
Patron of the National Museum in Gdańsk:
PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna
Co-funded by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage
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