"Primary Forms" is a new, periodic programme of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw designed for pupils from the fourth through the eighth grade of primary school, carried out in cooperation with the Roman Czernecki Educational Foundation.
The project is based on instructions prepared by artists for executing works of art. The instructions are placed in a box resembling an architectural model of a school. This year, 10 boxes will be delivered to 10 schools in Warsaw and other towns, while the 11th will go to the Museum on the Vistula, where it will be presented on 8 October 2021 as part of the 13th WARSAW UNDER CONSTRUCTION festival.
The box is part of a “dormant” exhibition, which at any moment can be materialized in a form chosen by the pupils at a school, with the support of their teachers and the museum’s education team. The boxes in this year’s edition contain exercises, tools and instructions created by Paweł Althamer, Kasper Bosmans, Gabo Camnitzer, Sharon Lockhart, Goshka Macuga, Mikołaj Moskal, Ramona Nagabczyńska, Agnieszka Polska, Katarzyna Przezwańska, Slavs and Tatars, and Olga Micińska. The works executed at the schools may become teaching aids, decoration, an event, or part of the school’s infrastructure. The decision on the installation site, the method of execution, and the function will be taken by the users of the exhibition and in relation to the school’s architecture.
"Primary Forms" is an exhibition that will arise within school spaces, in classrooms and corridors, gyms and playgrounds. It can be executed numerous times and interpreted in various ways (in the selection of fragments, scale, colours etc). With "Primary Forms", we pose the questions: What can we do with art? What can an exhibition be? What can we learn from artists? What knowledge can we gain from contact with art? And finally, how to understand art, or enjoy the experience of not understanding it?
"Primary Forms" alludes to the programme School Prints, which was founded in the UK after the Second World War. An identical set of lithographs created by a group of well-known artists were presented to primary schools and exhibited in classrooms. New works were created by such artists as Barbara Jones, Henri Matisse, Henry Moore, John Nash and Pablo Picasso. The "Primary Forms" project also alludes to numerous experiments in art and education undertaken in the 20th and 21st centuries, such as "Pure Consciousness", a series of exhibitions at preschools of works by Japanese conceptual artist On Kawara, launched in 1998. His paintings could be used as instructional tools helping pupils learn numbers and the days of the week.
"Primary Forms" is also inspired by exercises and methodologies of such artists as Joseph Beuys, Cornelius Cardew, Jef Geys, Anna Halprin, Oskar Hansen, Asger Jorn, K.G. Subramanyan, and many others who worked at schools or founded their own educational centres.
The format for the exercises, tasks and tools included in the box also allude to Marcel Duchamp and his travelling exhibition-in-a-suitcase, as well as “Fluxkits’’—boxes prepared by artists affiliated with the Fluxus movement, containing music scores, audio recordings, games and puzzles, intended for activation, play, reading or use.
Curatorial team: Sebastian Cichocki, Helena Czernecka
Box design: Michał Sikorski TŁO
Graphic designs: Zofia Kofta
Production team: Maja Szybińska, Marta Wójcicka
Conception and coordination of educational process: Anna Grajewska, Marta Przybył
Educators: Alicja Czyczel, Aleksandra Górecka, Magdalena Kreis, Marta Maliszewska, Barbara Mołas, Marta Przybył, Zofia Świąder, Marta Węglińska (Kobalt Migrating Platform), Katarzyna Witt, Hanna Zwierzchowska
Choreographic cooperation: Alicja Czyczel
Teachers: Anna Broda, Zyta Czechowska, Joanna Konieczna, Magdalena Kotara-Marmur, Urszula Leks, Paulina Pruszyńska, Edyta Rusak, Damian Sołtykiewicz, Iwona Węglowska
Schools: Special Schools Group, Kowanówko; Primary School, Pogorzałki; Primary School, Rozdrażew; Primary School no. 380, Warsaw; Primary School no. 143, Warsaw; Primary School, Zakręt; Integration Schools Group no. 62, Warsaw; Primary School no. 351, Warsaw; Social Primary School, Szczekociny, Szkoła Podstawowa im. Św. Brata Alberta, Żurawiczki
Managing editor: Kacha Szaniawska