Exhibitions at The National Museum in Szczecin in 2020 (updated)

2020 at The National Museum in Szczecin promises to be impressive. The Museum staff has planned as many as thirty exhibitions.

The greatest treasures of Szczecin collection will return into permanent expositions. The public will also see exhibitions arranged in cooperation with institutions from Germany, Lithuania, Georgia, Denmark and even Kenia. Nonetheless, this year is a jubilee one for two reasons. 2020 is the 75th anniversary of establishing our institution and the 50th of granting it the status of a national museum. 

"Living in the Present Future” is an exhibition carried out by the Szczecin museum and Danish Bornholms Kunstmuseum. It has been available on the Baltic island since last Ocotober. Since January it is presented in Szczecin. Over a dozen artists from Poland and Denmark take up the topic of re-defining humanity and its future, emphasizing the increase of the connection of the body and consciousness with newest technologies. Exposing the human being merged with nature and non-human forms of life, they highlight new ethical and existentional dimension of humanity facing rapid changes in the world. The list of the artists include: Roman Lipski, Amalie Smith, Lea Guldditte Hestelund, Artur Malewski, Ewa Juszkiewicz, Emil Westman Hertz, Izabella Gustowska, Aneta Grzeszykowska, Peter Frimand and SUPERFLEX. The exhibition curators are Magdalena Lewoc and Marlena Chybowska from NMS and Mathilde Renberg from Bornholms Kunstmuseum. It is worth mentioning that the exhibition will be displayed in renovated halls of The Museum of Contremporary Art ("Multimedia Museum of Contemporary Art in Szczecin – Stage III” project, funded by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and by West-Pomeranian Voivodeship).

An exhibition entitled "The Promised Land of the Sybiraks" opened at The Dialogue Centre Upheavals in January. It is related to the 80th anniversary of first major resettlement of Poles from the Eastern Borderlands to the Soviet Union. It presents barely known documents and photographs showing the fates of, among others, those who, after having left the territory of the USSR, with the army of Genral Władysław Anders found themselves in Africa. The exhibition, arranged by Aneta Popławska-Suś and Paula Sendra, will be available until the end of March 2020.

In March, the Museum at Wały Chrobrego will present an exhibition entitled "Polish Identity" prepared by the Poster Museum in Wilanów. Its Curator Mariusz Knorowski wrote about the idea for the exhibition: "The poster assimilates and processes the message related to national iconography. It used to happen that it sacralised some of its lofty aspects at times of upheavals, took polemics with established stereotypes and worn out schemes and hierarchies, becoming the weapon of ideological struggle. The exhibition has the character of an art show and is full within its limits. It is a kaleidoscope of images scattered throughout the century, which concerned the issue of identity to a greater or lesser extent, sometimes touching it only allusively or referring to it as the alleged content, but understood by itself. "

May will bring a new international porject, carried out in cooperation with Georgian National Museum. The exhibition entitled "Henryk Hryniewski. Polish Painter in Georgia" will be the first Polish presentation of the output of this extraordinary, versatile artist. Hryniewski was a talented printmaker, painter, illustrator and architect. He is the author of the facade and interior decoration of one of Tbilisi's most wonderful architectural monuments – the building of the National Library. He was also one of the founders of Tbilisi State Academy of Art and its lecturer. The exhibition will be prepared by Eka Kiknadze from Georgian National Museum, Dr. Piotr Rypson and Lech Karwowski with Marlena Chybowska-Butler from The National Museum in Szczecin.

Simultaneously, at the ground floor of The National Museum in Szczecin – The Museum of Contemporary Art, "Objects", an exhibition of works by Waldemar Wojciechowski will open.

In May, The Dialogue Centre Upheavals will open two expositions curated by Agnieszka Kuchcińska-Kurcz. The first of them, "My Solidarity”, will present objects from family archives of Szczecin residents that relate to "Solidarity" trade union and the ways of preserving the remembrance of it after the union was announced illegal during the Martial Law. The other exhibition, "The Wilkowski Family", is being prepared within an international "Upamiętnić ludzi – młodzież tworzy przyszłość (To Commemorate the People – Youth Creating the Future)” program under the umbrella of Foreign Ministries of Poland and Germany. Youth form Szczecin and Nausterlitz jointly visit places related to remembrance of World War II and contact Nazi victims' families. The open-air exhibition at Plac Solidarności will show those people's fates. 

Another international project: "From Čiurlionis to Kairiūkštis. Lithuanian Art in the First Half of the 20th Century" is the title of an exhibition arranged in cooperation  with M. K. Čiurlionis National Art Museum in Kaunas. It will be Poland's first general presentation of artistic phenomena that occurred in Lithuanian art of the verge of the 19th and the 20th cenrturies as well as the last decades before 2000. This art was developing intensively, simultaneously with and similarly to Polish Modernity and early Avant-Garde. The early-Modrnist building of The National Museum in Szczecin will host around a hundred works carefully selected from Kaunas collections. Their authors are such artists as: Petras Kalpokas, Antanas Žmuidzinavičius, Adomas Varnas, Antanas Samuolis, Admomas Galdikas, Anatomas Gudaitis, Kazys Šimons, Adolfas Valeška. There will also be a choice of rich and versatile creations by Mikalojus Čiurlionis, probably the most iconic Lithuanian artist of the verge of the centuries, considered a kind of national prophet. The exhibition will be arranged by a Polish-Lithuanian curators duet: Osvaldas Daugelis and Dr. Dariusz Kacprzak. The vernissage is to be held on June 19th 2020.

Also in June, an open-air exhibition entitled "The Furthest Poland – Szczecin in the First Years After the War: 1945-1948" will open at Plac Solidarności. The exhibition will be prepared in cooperation with the State Archives in Szczecin and the Western and Northern Lands Network. This is one of the events associated with the celebration of the 75th Anniversary of Polish statehood in Western Pomerania.

When famous Flis Odrzański (The Oder River Timber Rafting Event) participants will be mooring at the Szczecin wharf, the halls of The National Museum in Szczecin at Wały Chrobrego will be housing an exhibition devoted to the river itself. "Oder / Odra. Constructed Reality", an exhibition of photographs by Götz Lemberg, is a contemporary portrait of the border river. Chosen views of nature, creating personal panorama of the Oder River and referring to lanscape painting tradition will be inspiration for discussion on history and cultural heritage of The March and Pomerania.

The Dialogue Centre Upheavals will present even three new expositions this summer. They are being prepared by Agnieszka Kuchcińska-Kurcz. The first of them, "Alien among Compatriots", has been created on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of establishing Polish administration over West Pomerania. The exhibition will consist of photographs by Stefan Cieślak taken during the first postwar years and of those obtained from the Institute for Western Affairs in Poznań, authored by the Institute's staff sent just after the end of World War II to the Western lands to record the condition of the territories given to Poland according to the decision of superpowers. The second project, entitled "Wolfpack", will depict Polish-Bolshevik war of 1920. The exhibition, prepared jointly with Military Office of Public Education, will present copies of war photographs, documents and posters. The third exposition, "One Tribe", will be dedicated to "the time of Solidarity" – a moment of Poles' extraordinary unity, that created a social movement of world-unique scale.

The last week of September will bring another imporatant event at the Wały Chrobrego Museum building. Two new permanent exhibitions will open. They have been carried out within "Common Hertage, Common Future" EU (Interreg VA). The Crucifix of Kamień Pomorski, carved columns from the Kołbacz monastery or Polyptych from Stargard will return to the exposition. The permanent exhibition entitled "Matter of Light. Mediaeval Art Gallery" will be dedicated to art and culture of the Middle Ages in West Pomerania from its Christianisation to 1530s. It will present artworks that had been used in sacral spaces. They are related to the centres that were of greatest importance for the history of the region, like Kołobrzeg, Kamień Pomorski, Kołbacz or Szczecin. They are representative for numerous issues typical for the epoch's art and culture. They also show the peculiarity of Pomeranian art in the context of European artistic tendencies of that time. The curator of the exhibition is Kinga Krasnodębska from The National Museum in Szczecin Old Art Department. The exposition entitled "Hidden Meanings. Art in Pomerania in the 16th and 17th Centuries”, in turn,  will show Renaissance and Baroque art of Pomerania within the context of works created in other parts of Europe. It will present relics related to Pomeranian gentry and middle class families as well as paintings created in Flanders, the Netherlands and Italy. Along with the story of Pomeranian art, the exhibition will be telling about ways of creating meanings in contemporary art, that is, about artworks as message carriers as well as alegories and symbols hidden in them. Apart from paintings and sculpture there will be shown goldsmithing and ceramic goods, cast iron furnace panels and examples of old weapons. The curator of "Hidden Meanings" is Monika Frankowska-Makała.

And now let us return to contemporary art. "[Made in America]” has been planned to be the first part of presentation of newest art from the collection of Jack Helgesen – a Norwegian collector living in Szczecin. His collection, consisting of several hundred objects, contains works by the most renown contemporary artists. For 2020, an exhibition of contemporary American art, with works by Leon Golub, Andres Serrano, Thaddeus Strode and Fred Wilson, has been planned.

The Museum building at Wały Chrobrego is an example of unique time warp. Here one may travel to ancient Greece ("Ancient Roots of Europe" exhibition) or admire exotic beauty of African art ("In African Village", "Between a Mask and a Fetish. Art of Africa" and "Children of Magic"). Since September it will also be possible to pay a visit to... Mexico. Katarzyna Findlik-Gawron from the Department of Non-European Cultures is preparing an exhibition entitled "Mexican Folk Art". The exposition will show, among others, pictures made on so-called amate paper from Xilitla, paintings on wood, Chiapas and Oaxaca textiles as well as clay, woolen and wooden animalitos, exquisite and amazing for rich ornamentation and for their authors' imagination. Mexican folk art emanates with joy. It may be characterised by multicolour, interesting forms and intriguing topics. It is as syncretic as the culture it is a part of: there may be found both patterns originating from great ancient civilisations and Spanish motifs. The curator of the exhibition is Katarzyna Findlik-Gawron.

In turn, the visitors of The Museum of Contemporary Art will see "Duets", that is, a Polish-Kenyan exhibition carried out within "Transcultuiral Pespectives in Art and Art Education” (TPAAE) project. One of TPAAE objectives is supporting the development of visual arts in Kilifi region through research and direct interactions. The project has been carried out by Łukasz Jastrubczak, Zorka Wollny form The Art Academy of Szczecin and Marlena Chybowska-Butler from The National Museum in Szczecin.

The cycle that depicts individuals who played crucial roles in the life of the city will have its next part in autumn at The Szczein History Museum. This time the exhibition will be dedicated to Polish architect, urban-planner, painter and postwar Szczecin cultural animator Helena Kurcyuszowa. The exposition curators are Dr. Anna Lew-Machniak and Małgorzata Peszko.

The end of the year at The National Museum in Szczecin promises to be exceptionally intense and interesting. An open-air exhibition entitled "Evil/Accident", dedicated to people of December '70 whose lives had been entirely changed by the revolt, will be displayed at Plac Solidarności. The majority of them accidentally became the heroes of those events and "by blind chance" got involved in great history. The exhibition has been being prepared by Agnieszka Kuchcińska-Kurcz.

The last project held at The Museum of Contemporary Art is a retrospective exhibition on Szczecin's outstanding sculptor Anna Paszkiewicz's 80th birthday. The artist's output is a combination of monumental open-air sculptures and intimate study forms. She carves in stone, wood and bronze. Several monumental works by the artist are well-known in Szczecin – today they are among the city's most popular monuments and sculptures, including "Bogislaw and Anna Jagiellon", "Wings" and "Maternity”. The Museum of Contemporary Art exhibition will present sculptures and large-sized photogpraphs recording the artist's output.

"Archeomoderne. Art and State-Building Myths in West Pomerania after 1945” is the title of an exhibition held on the 50th anniversary of the establishment of our institution and the 75th of its direct predecessors (The Municipal Museum, The Museum of West-Pomerania), that is, of Polish museology in the city and in the region. Peculiarity of Szczecin in the regional context (so-called Recovered Territories) and in the national scale makes it possible to observe the phenomenon of approximation of visual arts and archeological as well as ethnographical research that was growing in years 1945–1980. Archaeological environment gained the strongest position in the capital of West-Pomerania in regard to theoretical studies on culture after World War II. Unlike Wrocław and Gdańsk, Szczecin did not manage to attract outstanding aestheticians dealing with contemporary art. Artists functionned in symbiosis with prehistorians, mediaevalists and ethnographers.  Excavations and centrally controlled propaganda of the "return to the Motherland" turned the creators' attention towards archaic form interpreted in a patriotic way. The culmination of this process occurred in 1960s. The whole decade was a time of creating monuments and artistic accents in the region that were both ancient and modern in form. During it, there also occurred a domination of so-called matter painting, close to formal effects of archaeological and relic preservation activities. The exhibition, apart from The National Museum in Szczecin exhibits, will show artworks from the collections of numerous Polish institutions and individuals. The curator of the exhibition is Dr. Szymon Piotr Kubiak.

The last of the exhibitions created within Interreg VA "Common Heritage, Common Future" program, "Dawn of Pomerania. Pomeranian Antiquities", is to be open at the Museum at the beginning of January 2021. The exposition in The Museum of Regional Traditions will show the most precious objects from the archaeological collection of The National Museum in Szczecin.


Travelling exhibition entitled "Barbarian Tsunami. Migration Period in the Drainage Basins of the Oder and Vistula Rivers", prepared by The National Museum in Szczecin, University of Warsaw and eleven Polish museums, was shown at Muzeum Okręgowe Ziemi Kaliskiej in January. It shows material records of events that took place around 500 A.D. They brought lasting changes in cultural and ethnical character of a large part of Europe, including territories located in the drainage basins of the Oder and Vistula Rivers. The exhibition depicts the verge of Antiquity and Early MIddle Ages. 

More and more intense cooperation with neighbour Museum der Stadt Pasewalk ("Pommern/Pomorze 2020" project carried out commonly) will result in a cameral exhibition held in February 2020. Small but interesting museum, located in historic Prenzlauer Tor, that takes care of the heritage of Paul Holz, will show drawings by this artist, born in Riesenbrück near Pasewalk. They will be brought from the collection of the Szczecin Museum. The exhibition has been being prepared by Dr. Ewa Gwiazdowska and Anke Holstein. 

"Gazing at the Stars. Dogon People and Their Art", an exhibition arranged by the Department of Non-European Cultures, presented in Szczecin two years ago, in June will visit Muzeum Kultury Kurpiowskiej in Ostrołęka. The exhibition is dedicated to Dogon people, inhabiting south-central part of the Republic of Mali. They have been fascinating with their culture and art for years. That society keeps oral tradition of complicated and esoteric knowledge on the origins of the Universe, of the Earth and of the ancestors of toady's Dogons. Dogon artworks presented on the exhibition became a basis for a tale about the inhabitants of Bandigara Massif, their religion, cosmogonic knowledge and myths. 

Another result of the intense cooperation with Bornholms Kunstmuseum has been planned for December 2020. This time the Baltic island will be visited by works of Polish art of the 19th and 20th centuries from the collection of The National Museum in Szczecin. The exhibition is being prepared by Dr. Beata Małgorzata Wolska.