Poland — a Country of Folklore?

15.10.2016 – 15.01.2017 Poland — a Country of Folklore?

Zachęta – National Gallery of Art

curator: Joanna Kordjak
collaboration: Katarzyna Kołodziej and Michał Kubiak, Marcin Lewicki, Jacek Świdziński
music project within the exhibition: Antoni Beksiak
special participation: Tchorek-Bentall Foundation

How was folklore and folk art perceived directly after the war and in the first decades of the Peoples Republic of Poland? How did the ‘people’s’ government make use of it? How did its status change, the moment it was introduced into museums and galleries? What was the status of the folk artist — perceived as ‘the other’?

Poland — a Country of Folklore? answers i.a. these questions, presenting the complexity and ambiguity of this cultural phenomenon. The history of exhibitions which took place at the Central Bureau of Art Exhibitions (now Zachęta — National Art Gallery) in the 1950s and 1960s, and among them the famous show The Others organised by Aleksander Jackowski, is an important point of reference here.

The exhibition shows the countryside as seen by ethnographers, art historians, art collectors and artists — folk art and folklore as the emanation of the countryside in the city. It was in the city where decisions were made what is folk and what is not. The exhibition tackles the subject of institutionalisation and centralisation of folk art and its propaganda use on a larger scale than ever. It concentrates on the unique phenomenon of misalliance between Young Poland’s interest in peasantry and Socialist Realism, and on ‘self-folklorisation’, i.e creating an export image of Poland as a ‘country of folklore’.

Folklore and folk art are yet situated in a broader context — as one of the fundamental categories which
modern artists referred to. Interest in folk art was connected with the key modernist interest in primitivism as the source of authenticity, childlike spontaneity and fantasy.


poster: Rita Walter-Łomnicka, Visit Poland, 1956, courtesy of The Museum of Independence, Warsaw

Few words about the exhibition (in Polish)

00:00/00:00

We thank Bartosz Wronka for making the clip.

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Information

Poland — a Country of Folklore?
15.10.2016 – 15.01.2017

Zachęta – National Gallery of Art
pl. Małachowskiego 3, 00-916 Warsaw
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Godziny otwarcia:
Tuesday – Sunday 12–8 p.m.
Thursday – free entry
ticket office is open until 7.30 p.m.

Partners of the exhibition:

Special participation:

Special thanks to: