The State We Are In. Collection of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw at the Galeria Labirynt in Lublin

The collection of Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, initiated in 2009, gathers art works of contemporary artists, primarily those executed after 1989. Its goal is to describe the history of Polish transformation in a wider, global perspective by works of art.

The collection has a discursive character and is treated as a voice in the debate and research on modernity. Starting from local affairs, it is an accumulation of works by international artists, often created on a commission and referring to local issues. At the same time, this “collection of things” is constructed in relation to the changes that have taken place in the status and materiality of art piece, the relationship between the institution and the public, and the very function of the museum (not just the storage house for art works, but also a place for collective learning, information distribution and interdisciplinary experiment).

Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw does not have a permanent location, it is currently under construction and so it takes advantage of the fact to present its collection in various other spaces. Being a guest at Galeria Labirynt in Lublin is a great opportunity to test how the collection pieces and the narratives and meanings built around them function in a new context. The art. Works to be presented are primarily new purchases, shown publicly for the first time.

The works by Wilhelm Sasnal, the Slavs&Tatars group, Kader Attia, Gulsun Karamustafa and Miriam Cahn refer to the post-colonial and post-soviet world, suspended between tradition and still emerging and undefined modernity. The tensions created at the interface between tradition and the unidentified modernity have been perfectly captured in the painting triptych Krzyczeli, Płakali, Zginęli/They Cried, They Screamed, They Died by Jadwiga Sawicka, whose subject is the language of the public debate, which is becoming more and more emotional, irrational and hysterical.

The works by Cathy Wilkes, Wolfgang Tillmans, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye and Zofia Rydet create a story about the deepest fears about “the State We Are In”, the more and more dominant public fears about the end of the world as we know it, so there are references here to historical depictions of war, poverty and hunger. The title of the exhibition itself is a reference to a piece by Wolfgang Tillmans The State We Are In from 2015 roku, foreshadowing Brexit and the drifting of contemporary world towards the future no one can be sure of.

“The State We Are In” is the first guest presentation of the Warsaw Museum of Modern Art’s collection in Poland. It inaugurates the subsequent shows in other parts of the country in the next three years, until its very own venue is opened in Warsaw at Plac Defilad in front of the Palace of Culture and Science.

Artists: Kader Attia, Miriam Cahn, Olga Czernyszewa, Nathalie Djurberg, Ruth Ewan, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Ewa Juszkiewicz, Gülsün Karamustafa, Leszek Knaflewski, Sonia Leber & David Chesworth, Lukas Müller, Zofia Rydet, Wilhelm Sasnal, Şerban Savu, Jadwiga Sawicka, Slavs and Tatars, Roman Stańczak, Wolfgang Tillmans, Cathy Wilkes, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

Among the events accompanying the exhibition there will be screenings of films by Jill Godmilow and Wael Shawky.

Selection of works: Joanna Mytkowska, Sebastian Cichocki, Waldemar Tatarczuk

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