clientMUSEUM OF MODERN ART IN WARSAW statusPROJEKT 2013 / REALIZACJA 2013 locationEMILII PLATER 51, WARSAW teamMARCIN GARBACKI, KAROLINA TUNAJEK, JOANNA BIEDNA, ANETA ZAREMBA picturesBARTOSZ STAWIARSKI textMUSEUM OF MODERN ART IN WARSAW
„The exhibition "In the Heart of the Country" is the first comprehensive presentation of the international collection of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw.
In a relatively short time—the Museum was established in 2005—the institution has acquired over 300 works. First and foremost, these are works purchased as part of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage’s "International Collections of Contemporary Art" programme, as well as donations and temporary loans from artists, private individuals and businesses. Many of the collected works were commissioned by the Museum for its exhibitions and public projects (such as pieces by artists like Sanja Iveković, Zbigniew Libera, Sharon Hayes and Paweł Althamer). The Museum collection also includes artistic archives—e.g. over 150 000 negatives from the eminent photographer Eustachy Kossakowski, plus a collection of films and photographs documenting the activities of Prof. Grzegorz Kowalski’s workshop at Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, which was so vital for Polish art after 1989. There is also a collection of several hundred films by artists, available online in the Museum’s Filmoteka.
"In the Heart of the Country" is the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw’s largest exhibition project to date. It reflects the full scale and scope of the Museum institution’s venture. Smaller elements of the collection were previously on show at the institution’s temporary headquarters, a residential building at No.3 Pańska Street ("Art Comes Before Gold" and "3xYES"), the Presidential Palace in Warsaw ("Today’s Art Makes Tomorrow’s Poland") and exhibitions abroad: the KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin ("Early Years"), the Polish Institute in Rome ("Vede Cose Che Non Ci Sono"), and Moscow’s Belye Palaty ("Auditorium Moscow"). Individual works in the collection have been on loan to many prestigious museums and galleries in Poland and abroad. For example, Mirosław Bałka’s sculpture Black Pope and Black Sheep will feature in the main exhibition at this year’s Venice Art Biennale.
"In the Heart of the Country" presents over 150 exhibits from the Museum collection. They cover several intersecting themes, such as the globalisation of art history; links between cities and contemporary art; emancipatory narratives in art; questions of memory and history; language and the ethics of modernity; socially engaged artists; and a topic rarely broached by contemporary art exhibitions: manifestations of spirituality. The exhibition’s title derives from John M. Coetzee’s hallucinatory novel, in which “the heart of the country” is a hole, a void, an insatiable phantasm of physical fulfillment and maturation (of the identity, body and community spirit). In the context of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, the title relates to the institution’s planned location—Plac Defilad (Parade Square), an inhospitable “gap” in the centre of the capital—as well as to a yearning for modernisation, which often turns artists and art institutions into moral hostages.”