Maryna Tomaszewska

The Whole of Poland

The Whole of Poland, 2021
BWA Wrocław Galerie Sztuki Współczesnej
Curator: Anna Mituś

The theme of the exhibition at BWA Wrocław was art created by individuals, resulting from personal inspiration, outside the circulation and support of institutions and public mechanisms promoting culture. In the 1970s and 1980s this sphere was referred to as “counterculture,” a decade later it became known as “alternative.” Art as a living phenomenon has always found ways and spaces that have allowed it to effectively make corrections to mainstream culture.

The exhibition was the outcome of phone calls, meetings in small apartments, gardens, and even construction sites, where, as the curator notes, the heart of Polish art beats. Is the resulting image new and different from the one we know so well? Anna Mituś suggests, “let’s compare what we know ‘from the media’, ‘from the net’ and from institutional messages, with what is given in direct social practice, meetings, conversation, eye contact. Let’s go to Poland and see for ourselves. And although the title of the exhibition – The Whole of Poland – provokes, it is devoid of real aspirations. Pointing to the vastness of an area that no exhibition can actually cover, it recommends a bold, dispersed and, above all, decentralized look.”

The exhibition was accompanied by a book by Maryna Tomaszewska titled “The Curators.” It is an attempt to define who these mythical promoters of art are, its first recipients, often revered by the artists themselves, rarely noticed by the mass audience of art. The publication provides a humorous counterpoint to the exhibition, in which the power of the curator has been largely suspended. Tomaszewska’s project thus questions the apparent elitism of the curatorial profession and opens a space for the discussion of status and the need for this role today.