Contemporary Art for All ChildrenBook (in Polish)
The first exhibition prepared for and by children took place at Zachęta in 2003. Here is the catalog accompanying this exhibition!
Dear Readers, we’re back at the Zachęta and the Zachęta Project Room! Observing new rules, with visors, masks and gloves on, but already in our building, open to the public. Whew! Since 13 May, we’ve been gradually opening our exhibitions: Videotapes, Ahmed Cherkaoui in Warsaw, The Flying Lesson and Being Paul Cézanne at the ZPR. At the same time we have been constantly present on-line, as we haven’t been able to meet you at the gallery for discussions, guided tours or workshops. So we keep working both in the real and virtual world, getting used to this two-track reality, which will probably here to stay a little while longer. Also this message will have a dual form, as I’m writing it both as an employee of our Education Department and editor of Zachęta On-line Magazine.
A couple of weeks before the pandemics, we opened the exhibition Two Arts Are Better than One. It was prepared by colleagues from my Department – Zofia Dubowska, Karolina Iwańczyk, and Anna Zdzieborska – together with Katarzyna Kołodziej-Podsiadło from the Zachęta’s curatorial team. The idea to invite artists and their children to participate in an exhibition for children and their parents was a tremendous hit. Working on the exhibition, the young artists proved to be equals for their parents and curators. So from 8 February until mid-March, the Zachęta was packed with crowds of children (and parents) who enthusiastically took hold of the space created for them by the authors. During lockdown, thanks to the creativity of our curators and educators Two Arts Are Better than One got a new lease of life online. Guided tours, workshops for families and schools – organized also by means of the 3D exhibition – and materials prepared by the artists have served as a distraction from the rather grim reality. Paradoxically, the gallery’s lockdown and “moving” into the virtual world enabled children and parents from all over Poland to enjoy the exhibition. Even though after lockdown easing, the exposition hasn’t been reopened, it will have its symbolic end on 1 June –Children’s Day. By way of the finissage, the curators and artists have prepared a special online events, so watch the Zachęta Facebook page this week not to miss it.
In our Magazine, whose sixth issue is available on our website today, we’ve decided to review various themes related to children – both in the artistic and exhibition domains. Culled from our collection, the selection is nevertheless mainly addressed at adult viewers. We have been organizing exhibitions for children at the Zachęta for more than a dozen years, recently quite regularly: Contemporary Art for All Children (2003), Interactive Playground (2009), I read here (2016), Everything is Art to Me (2018), and, naturally, Two Arts Are Better than One. These exhibitions have become an opportunity to bring contemporary art closer to the youngest viewers, and to have creative fun. They’ve often offered a challenge to the artists and education to parents. We revisit these projects through texts, recordings of discussions and meetings, and photos. The current issue opens with the interview with the psychologist Ula Malko Fun Is an Essential Element of Existence conducted by Zofia Dubowska and Ewa Solarz in 2018. And in the catalogue to the exhibition Contemporary Art for All Children, you will read wonderful conversations between children and artists. The film by Olaf and Konstanty Brzeski, presented at the exhibition Two Arts Are Better than One, will give you an insight into the development of a child’s creative imagination in practice. There will be no shortage of works from our collection. The theme of children appears in many works by Marta Deskur too – here, in the photographic installation This Is Klara and This Is Me, Pico. Interesting and autobiographical references to her childhood can also be found in Anna Niesterowicz’s found footage Gierek.
I invite you to read our magazine and participate in our events – both online and offline.
Education Department, Zachęta Online Magazine editor
In the sixth issue of the magazine – just before the Children’s Day – we recall exhibitions not only for children. To start with, here is an interview with a psychologist Ula Malko.