Exhibition as a Medium of History. International scientific conference

The inspiration for the international conference Exhibition as a Medium of History, held as a part of the project Trauma & Revival. Postwar in the Art of the East and West (2016–2018) were the examples of exhibitions from the period of the First Avant-Garde. Artists and designers dreamt then of creating a new quality of exhibiting contemporary art. El Lisicki (Lazar Lissitzky), referencing Raum für konstruktive Kunst (Room of Constructionist Art, Dresden, 1926), pointed to the need of going beyond the traditional idea of exposition and creating a new “standard of space”, which would reveal the spirit of the times. Herbert Bayer, the author of the diagram Field of Vision (1930), Frederick Kiesler with the exhibition system L+T (Leger und Trager) (1924), as well as Kazimierz Malewicz and László Moholy-Nagy, sought the prototypes of a “general environment” for art. They understood it twofold – as a volatile, active environment, rejecting the illusion of permanence and neutrality of an exhibition to subject it to the rules of fluidity and interchangeability, and as a space for presentation of art, where objects would remain in constant motion, with ideas circulating between them. Thus, an exhibition was to be a zone of mutual connection (between an artist and a curator, and a spectator) based on coincidence and processuality – a space of negotiation, where the meaning of words and things is not constant, but open for discussion.

The protagonists of Exhibition as a Medium of History are nine exhibitions, using various methods to reference subjects related to Europe, art, and European values and heritage from 1945 until the present day. The subject of reflection of the invited guests will be not only the socio-political message presented by the selected expositions, such as Warsaw Accused (1945–1946), Op Losse Schroeven (1969), or Construction in Process (1981), but most of all – curator gestures, exhibition strategies, and visual means and constructions that comprise a precise message transmitted by the exhibition artists to the visitors. Diagnoses and recognitions of the moment in history when they were created are equally interesting to us as their exhibition mise -en-scène.

The inaugural lecture entitled “Reworldings: Solidarities and Possibilities During Europe’s Cold War Biennials” will be delivered by Anthony Gardner. Other invited guests and speakers include Maria Berrios, Daria Bocharnikova, David Crowley, Eckhart Gillen, Marika Kuźmicz, Jarosław Lubiak, Daria Mille, Agata Pietrasik, Bojana Piškur, Lucy Steeds, Kuba Szreder, Steven ten Thije, and Tomasz Załuski.


Friday, March 31st, 2017

4 PM – Introduction and welcoming: Magdalena Ziółkowska

4:15 PM – 5 PM – Lecture: Anthony Gardner, “Reworldings: Solidarities and Possibilities During Europe’s Cold War Biennials”

5 PM – 8 PM Session One: 1945–1968, moderated by: Daria Bocharnikova

  • Warsaw Accused – Agata Pietrasik
  • Brussels World’s Fair ‘58 – David Crowley
  • Del Tercer Mundo [From the Third World] – Maria Berrios

Saturday, April 1st, 2017

10:30 AM – 1:30 PM Session Two: 1969–1989, moderated by: Tomasz Załuski

•         Op losse schroeven – Lucy Steeds
•         Construction in Process – Marika Kuźmicz
•         Yugoslav Documents – Bojana Piskur

1:30 PM – 3:30 PM Lunch break

3:30 PM – 6:45 PM Session Three: 2010–2018, moderated by: Kuba Szreder

•         L’Internationale – Steven ten Thije
•         Europe (to the power of) n – Jarosław Lubiak
•         Trauma & Revival. Postwar in the Art of the East and West – Daria Mille, Eckhart Gillen

6:45 PM – 7:45 PM Summary discussion

conference programme pdf


photographs by Studio FilmLOVE