Wasn’t Built in a Day. 20th edition of Krakow Photomonth


“It recalls, too, an eagle, its head represented by the castle, Grodzka Street its neck, and the city’s environs like wings.”

The Chronicle of Marcin Bielski, 1597….

“But whomsoever wishes to set eyes upon such strange sights should head to Krakow’s main market square and there, as a ravenous man feeds, be astonished.”

Mikołaj Rej, The Life of a Good Man, 1568….


Wasn’t Built in a Day is a visual tale told by artists about the ‘bygone’ Krakow that has hosted Photomonth over the past two decades; and also about the present-day city, for, as Maciej Maleńczuk once sang, ‘Nothing has changed.’ The exhibition raises the subject of suppressed urban legends and contemporary symptoms of deliberate effacement, of sweeping under the carpet. At the same time,
it is the presentation about contemporary Poland as a whole, with Krakow an incarnation of the country’s spirit. Or at least some think so…

In the following five ‘chambers’ of the basement of Bunkier Sztuki’s temporary headquarters, rooms christened with peculiar title-concepts for the duration of the exhibition, we view ourselves through
the logic of our compulsion for repetition: our oblivion, aspirations and disappointments, extremes
of social inequality, reinforced representations of power, modernising myths and phantom pains, past disasters, and an inexhaustible surge of energy seeking a meaningful outlet.

Among other things, it is a tale of the ‘invisible’; about an old man, a fixture of the streets, asking for
a zloty, who remembers little, or at least feigns so. About a predilection for Sarmatian funeral ceremonies (alas, today it all comes out somewhat slapdash and askew). On the deconstruction of national topoi and attendant sexual repressiveness. And finally, as befits a former royal city, about whether there are any spare thrones available—or at least a stool.

Stanisław Ruksza….

Exhibition only for adults. Underage visitors will only be admitted accompanied by a legal guardian.