Do you realise there is a rainbow even if it’s night?
The collection of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw at MOS in Gorzów Wielkopolski
Contemporary art can pose questions about the most pressing problems of modern life: the climate crisis, social division and inequality, migration, information chaos. What scenarios of the future can it create?
At the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw (MSN) there is a place for shared and individual experiences and dialogue. One space for such encounters and dialogue is via the collection, launched in 2009, bringing together works of contemporary artists, primarily created after 1989. The aim of the collection is to capture the story of the Polish transformation through artworks, in a broad, global perspective. The museum does not yet have a permanent home, which is in the course of construction. The museum is exploiting this situation to show the collection in various sites. The exhibition at the City Art Centre (MOS) in Gorzów is also an opportunity for the premiere showing of new acquisitions that have joined the museum’s collection in recent years, including works by such artists as Lubaina Himid, Wojciech Kucharczyk, Henrik Olesen, Dalton Gata and Jerzy “Jurry” Zieliński.
The title of the show, Do you realise there is a rainbow even if it’s night!? is drawn from a work by the Kosovo-born artist Petrit Halilaj, one of the key figures in the younger generation of artists from Central & Eastern Europe. The costume of a gigantic moth presented in the show is a metaphor for shelter, hiding under cover of night, which in turn alludes to the artist’s wartime experiences. It also evokes the need for metamorphosis and transformation, for hope, which seems particularly fragile at a time when political divisions seem impossible to overcome and there are vanishing prospects for repairing a planet wrecked by inequality, armed conflicts, and destruction of the biosphere.
The second axis of the exhibition is demarcated by the works shown on the opposing walls of the MOS pavilion: "Helsinki", by Jerzy Zieliński, a series of 22 realistic portraits of politicians participating in the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe in the capital of neutral Finland in 1975; and "Hysterical Men", by Henrik Olesen, a reflection on power and sexual hierarchy. Both works, much like the watercolors by Mikołaj Sobczak, the painting by Lubaina Himid, and the video by Agnieszka Polska and Witek Orski, critically address the world associated with grand politics, gestures of power, and faith in progress. They provoke questions about the writing of history, who we see in its pages, and who is expunged from collective memory.
An ambiguous response is provided by artists who blaze new trails toward an imagination of an alternative community grounded in an atlas of emotions, symbols and rituals. What is intimate, steeped in poetry and metaphor, essentially becomes a form of artistic practice and an instrument for pursuing a politics counter to the language of war, populism, and social division.
Agata Bogacka, Vlassis Caniaris, Dalton Gata, Petrit Halilaj, Lubaina Himid, Wojciech Kucharczyk, Tala Madani, Iwona Mysera, Henrik Olesen, Agnieszka Polska & Witek Orski, Slavs & Tatars, Mikołaj Sobczak, Jerzy “Jurry” Zieliński
Jananne Al-Ani, Omer Fast, Jill Godmilow, Sharon Hayes, Shana Moulton
Aleksandra Nasiorowska, Szymon Żydek
Józefina Bartyzel, Anna Szałas, Aleksandra Urbańska, Iga Winczakiewicz
Conservation and restoration
Jakub Antosz, Szymon Ignatowicz, Paweł Sobczak, Marcin Szubiak