The Books of Pan Tadeusz
temporary exhibition

  • 5 April 2018–30 June 2018
  • opening: Thursday, 5 April 2018, 6 PM
  • admission: free

12 books of the epic poem in 12 posters by contemporary artists – that’s the starting point for the newest temporary exhibition at the Pan Tadeusz Museum.

Illustrations for various editions of Adam Mickiewicz’s Pan Tadeusz are a valuable and interesting contribution to our reception of the literary work. The history of visual interpretations of this poem reaches nearly 140 years back – from 19th century illustrations by Andriolli, to the most contemporary ones, created as a part of Pan Tadeusz Museum’s 12-month project.

12 books of Adam Mickiewicz’s poem. 12 visual artists. A new display every month – this is how we announced new posters for Pan Tadeusz in 2017. The museum invited to the project artists from various fields of art and design. Each of them uses a different aesthetic. There are illustrators and graphic designers (Arobal, Paweł Janczarek, Jan Kallwejt, Tomasz Kaczkowski, Studio Fontarte), photographers (Agata Kalinowska, Łukasz Rusznica, Anna Walterowicz, Karolina Zajączkowska, Marta Zdulska), tattoo Manio Lo and Mirella von Chrupek, artist creating small scupltures. Each artist interpreted the poetic text in a new way. As they admitted themselves, for many of them it was the first contact with Mickiewicz’s book after their ‘high school trauma’. Often this re-reading developed into an inspiring discovery, far from interpretations commonly imposed in school – says curator Beata Bartecka.

The Books of Pan Tadeusz is not only a presentation of works created in 2017. It’s a journey through the visual world of the poem from the beginning – the most famous illustrated edition from 1881, which contained 60 artworks by Elwiro Michał Andriolli. In later years, the epic poem was illustrated by such artists as Tadeusz Gronowski, Janusz Stanny, Józef Wilkoń, or recently – young ilustrators such as Ada Buchholc, Mariusz Libel or Patryk Mogilnicki who have designed posters for the National Theatre in Warsaw.

The new exhibition at the Pan Tadeusz Museum expands this list with new interpretations by contemporary artists. In 2018, we would like to take our guests on a journey – we will present the development of visual language which has accompanied Pan Tadeusz over the years, look for motifs and patters, even fetishes of artists who created their own space for interpretation of the work, sometimes in a very subversive and idiosyncratic way. Sometimes this space was idyllic and full of nostalgia, sometimes – boiling with blood. And sometimes, it was intimate, reaching towards the most secret emotions which Mickiewicz’s verses help release – says the curator.

artists: Arobal (Bartek Kociemba), Mirella von Chrupek, Paweł Janczarek, Tomasz Kaczkowski, Agata Kalinowska, Jan Kallwejt, Manio Lo (Mariusz Walterowicz), Łukasz Rusznica, Studio Fontarte, Anna Walterowicz, Karolina Zajączkowska, Marta Zdulska

curator: Beata Bartecka

curatorial assistance: Katarzyna Roj

consultation: Anita Soroko