Filmoteka of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw operates with the goal of digital protection and distribution of outstanding audiovisual works from Polish visual artists of the 20th and the early 21st century.
Filmoteka is also a research and educational project embracing the media-related dimension of Polish art. Our mission is both to develop an archive within the Museum and to make films available on the Internet for the purposes of education and propagation – on behalf of the artists and under the imperative of unrestricted access to knowledge.
Since the time of the great avant-garde of the 1930s, visual artists have tapped into the medium of film as one of the essential means of expression in their practice. It is particularly the 1960s and 1970s that saw a seminal turn, which made such media as photography and film even more popular with artists than painting or sculpture. Now, it is impossible to grasp the development of contemporary art since the 1960s, or to outline reliably the history of art of the last 40 years without mentioning the achievements in the field of film. A wide range of the most outstanding works of Polish art have also been carried out in this very medium. What’s more, film provided the possibility to document countless seminal performances, happenings, interventions, manifestations, spectacles, exhibitions, etc.
Whereas moving image produced at professional film or TV studios enjoyed comprehensive distribution, films by visual artists, produced mainly by private means without the help of established film institutions, usually ended up with no distribution whatsoever following a brief period of circulation at museums and galleries.
The project of Filmoteka Muzeum pivots around preserving artistic films threatened with destruction, produced and stored by their creators mainly at their private archives, in relatively amateur and extra-institutional conditions – films often existing in a single, much exploited copy. These films often count as some of the most outstanding achievements of the Polish art of the 20th century. The project consists in preparing high quality digital copies, which will then be stored by means of appropriate, purpose-built technical infrastructure.
The mission of Filmoteka Muzeum also consists in protecting films from the late-1990s and the recent years, produced and stored on undurable digital carriers. Apart from the digitalisation, propagation and education embracing historic film productions, the years to come will see the curators of Filmoteka Muzeum constantly select for archiving and digital protection the films of currently active Polish artists which have been considered as essential for Polish contemporary culture.
At the moment, the Filmoteka website offers a selection of 700 films, with 1500 titles planned in total.