Home at Last: The Polish House During the Transition
8th edition of the Warsaw Under Construction festival
“We are home at last. Don’t stop, don’t wait. What can you do? Help!” Those words, proclaimed by famous actors and other participants of public life, could be heard from TV sets in the time of the Tadeusz Mazowiecki government. This phrase will serve as the motto for the 8th edition of the annual Warsaw Under Construction festival organized by the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw and the Museum of Warsaw.
The main purpose of this year’s exhibition is to show how houses and the living environment changed in Poland during the country’s transition from a socialist state to a market economy, and to present the functioning of the new model with its connections to global neoliberalism. The exhibition poses questions about the style and environment of where Poles choose to live. It is on view at the former printing house at Nowogrodzka 84/86 in Warsaw between October 22 and November 20, 2016.
The economic changes of the 1990s brought about the quite literal realization of the festival’s motto: many Poles actually did get to have their own houses. After years of living in apartment blocks or identical “cube” houses, they got the chance to fulfil their dreams of individualized housing, usually in the suburbs. The process was made easier by new financial mechanisms, including newly introduced mortgage loans.
But can a mortgaged house really be called your own home? What are the consequences of processes that took place on a massive scale in Polish cities and villages: suburbanization, gentrification, the appearance of ubiquitous gated communities? Where and how do Poles live, and why did the government back out of its active role in such a socially significant field?
The processes that shaped Polish homes are presented in chapters on various problems of dwelling, including urban planning, neighbourhoods, typologies of single- and multi-family architecture, as well as interiors and materials. The analysis focuses on Warsaw and its agglomeration as a model of post-transformation changes, but the exhibition presents similar phenomena from all over Poland as well.
One of the key phenomena of Poland’s political transformation is the birth of the middle class. This social group’s ethos, aspirations and mentality have an enormous influence on public debate, and in the context of housing are tangibly reflected in living spaces. The lifestyle of this social class serves as a reference point to show the living situation of other layers of Polish society. There is a strong focus on studies of Polish identity expressed through lifestyle. One of the major questions the exhibition asks is about the role of the media in promoting a new “big stabilization,” which meant having a house with a garden outside the city or in the suburbs, as a symbol of success.
The exhibition is based on research on visual testimony of the transition period (magazines, books, publications, TV series, films, typical house catalogues), an analysis of quantitative data, interviews and consultations with experts, as well as photographic and film projects documenting the transformation of Poland’s living spaces after 1989. The works of Polish contemporary artists presented in the exhibition show that the post-transition iconosphere and living space were also an important subject for the visual arts.
Artists and architects:
+48 Architecture, Krzysztof Arciszewski, Milena Banaszewska, BudCud, Łukasz Biederman, Rafał Bujnowski, Maciej Chodziński, Jakub Danilewicz, Norbert Delman, Natalia Dołgowska, Dworek Polski, Krzysztof Eberle, Natalia Fiedorczuk, Daniel Gutowski, Małgorzata Goliszewska, Nicolas Grospierre, Ewa Hevelke, Łukasz Izert, Michał Januszaniec, Leszek Jasiński, Paweł Jaworski, JEMS Architects, jojko+nawrocki architects, Andrés Jaque/Office for Political Innovation, Kacper Kępiński, Szymon Kobyliński, Justyna Koeke, Bartosz Kokosiński, KontrPlan/Katarzyna Czarnota and Radosław Stoliński, Jarosław Kozłowski, Łukasz Kniter, KWK Promes Robert Konieczny, Artur Malewski, Jarosław Matla, Kuba Maria Mazurkiewicz, Medusa Group, Michalina Musielak, Palce Lizać/Barbara Nawrocka and Dominika Wilczyńska, Pracownia Architektury Głowacki PAG, Mariola Przyjemska, Raster, Maciej Rawluk, Łukasz Skąpski, Jędrzej Sokołowski, Szymon Szewczyk, Klementyna Świeżewska, Underconstructed/ Agata Pankiewicz and Marcin Przybyłko, Wojciech Wilczyk, Zorka Wollny, Jakub Woynarowski, Krzysztof Zieliński
Instytut Architektury – Dorota Jędruch, Marta Karpińska, Dorota Leśniak-Rychlak, Agata Wiśniewska, Michał Wiśniewski
Współpraca: Kacper Kępiński
Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej w Warszawie – Tomasz Fudala, Szymon Maliborski
Współpraca: Cezary Lisowski, Szymon Żydek
BudCud – Mateusz Adamczyk, Agata Woźniczka
Mania Bień, Roksana Patrzałek, Anna Treit, Marco Vargas, Aleksandra Zielonka
Muzeum Warszawy – Joanna Trytek, Julia Missala
Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej w Warszawie – Joanna Żarnecka
Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej w Warszawie – Aleksandra Nasiorowska
Instytut Architektury – Joanna Warchoł
Visual identification of the festival:
Piotr Chuchla, Ludovic Balland Typography Cabinet
Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej w Warszawie – Arletta Wojtala
Muzeum Warszawy – Katarzyna Szacińska-Szymeczko
Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej w Warszawie – Katarzyna Witt
Muzeum Warszawy – Radosław Adamski
Muzeum Warszawy – Judyta Jerzyk, Mariusz Stawski, Jakub Telec
Rafał Drozdowski, Jacek Gądecki, Mateusz Halawa, Piotr Korduba, Marek Krajewski, Karol Kurnicki, Magda Szcześniak, Wojciech Wilczyk, Piotr Wójcik
Tomasz Fudala, Dorota Jędruch, Marta Karpińska, Dorota Leśniak-Rychlak, Szymon Maliborski, Michał Wiśniewski / wnętrza: Jacek Gądecki, Karol Kurnicki, Cezary Lisowski
Grzegorz Stompor, Dorota Wąsik
Meagan Down, Marta Karpińska, Dorota Leśniak-Rychlak, Julia Odnous, Ewa Ślusarczyk
Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej w Warszawie - Jakub Antosz, Szymon Ignatowicz, Marek Franczak, Marcin Szubiak, Paweł Sobczak
Muzeum Warszawy: Michał Bogumił, Mateusz Gołos, Ksenia Góreczna, Marek Lisik, Krzysztof Hernik, Dawid Łukasiak, Artur Miniewicz, Leszek Sokołowski, Krzysztof Świerczewski, Michał Tański, Marcin Wronecki
„JA-HO” ROBIMY TO… NAJLEPIEJ
Ada Banaszak, Emilia Brulińska, Andrzej Bulanda, Iwona Burnat, Bogna Burska, Rafał Dominik, Ludomir Duda, Natalia Fiedorczuk, Dorota Flinker, Mikołaj Iwański, Rafał Jakubowicz, Katarzyna Jozefowicz, Magda Kardasz, Wojtek Kotecki, Kamil Kuskowski, Zbigniew Kwapisz, Mikołaj Lewicki, Marcin Mostafa, Mikołaj Mundzik, Natalia Paszkowska, Marcin Popkiewicz, Ewa Porębska, Maciej Siuda, Zygmunt Stępiński, Grzegorz Stompor, Anna Tenenbaum