In 1922, Sejm adopted a new act on the construction of the port in Gdynia. It resulted in the construction of one of the most modern ports in Europe and a city. The wave of enthusiasm after regaining the access to the sea as well as huge port investments were the reason why Polish art connected with the sea was born.
For a hundred years, the artists have been intrigued by the images of Gdynia’s “God’s Cove” – the place where “civilisation has penetrated into primordial nature”. In the interwar period, this space electrified people with the dash of the investment, the scale of the project, unknown technologies and modern architecture. A visit to the Polish coast and the port were a magnet for many Poles. The national dream of marine power feed the artistic inspirations too. After World War II, the issue did not lose its significance. Unconventional or even daring views of the port prove that the subject of the sea and the seaside architecture intrigued many artists. Various pieces were produced: from realist masterpieces by eminent seascapists like Marian Mokwa and Antoni Suchanek, through impressionist interpretations by Włodzimierz Radziszewski, to abstract compositions by Kazimierz Ostrowski. At the same time, their message remains so clear, that a keen eye will easily notice distinctive forms and breakthrough events.
Today, the audience is meeting this fascinating tale of the sea, Gdynia and its port face to face.
Most of the exhibits come from the Gdynia City Museum’s collection. The exhibition is complemented by pieces borrowed from the National Museum in Gdańsk, the National Marine Museum in Gdańsk, the State Art Gallery in Sopot, the Port of Gdynia Authority S.A. as well as private people.
The exhibition Enchanted Wall. Bożena Truchanowska’s Illustrations is an educational experiment.
For long months, we would study illustrations by the title artist in detail to spot their common elements. We divided them into several categories. They underwent thorough analysis and thanks to collaboration with two illustrators – Joanna Czaplewska and Anna Gawron – we have transferred them into the museum. This way, we have combined the extraordinary world seen through Bożena Truchanowska’s eyes with a contemporary vision of an educational exhibition.
The exhibition consists of ten parts (modules) with original illustrations from children’s books. This is a fantastic occasion to analyse, compare and, above all, get to know the worlds created by the great illustrator in detail. During the work on her illustrations, Truchanowska used an array of tools: from traditional coloured pencils, paintbrushes or nibs, to the less obvious needles, sticks or… her own finger! In the Poland of the 70s and 80s, material shortages would often increase Polish illustrators’ creativity.
The division into ten modules is a deliberate educational strategy. During the exploration of different sections, children will get to know many plant and animal species. They will discover details hidden at the exhibition, imagine the unrealistic parts and watch various stages of an image’s development. They will learn something about perspective too. But, above all, they will find out that everything is possible in the world of illustration.
A visit to the museum may be a great adventure for every child (a small and big one). Especially, if you can take your shoes off at the exhibition, run and jump around, play or, just the opposite – lie, calm down, listen to different sounds and fall asleep!
Let it enchant you!
The exhibition ‘Gdynia – the open work’ is the Gdynia City Museum’s permanent exhibition devoted to the history of the city and its inhabitants.
The history of Gdynia, like every decent story, has many strands. Some are very important, and some less so; some are clear to see, and some concealed. When Gdynia was first founded, the most important threads were easy to grasp: on the one hand, the dream of a modern, dynamic Poland, boldly gazing into the future, and on the other, a romantic patriotism rooted in the history of the nation. The modernisation efforts of a young nation that desired to make up for its late civilisational development therefore coincided with a need to serve the homeland. Without this convergence of desires and needs there would be no Gdynia, a grand Baltic port would never have been built from scratch, nor would a city have grown with “American” speed to soon become an object of universal pride.
All of this was brutally interrupted by the German invasion in September 1939. The Gdynians discovered that they were to be the first victims of a cruel war – murdered, driven out and exploited as forced labourers. The end of the war did not bring the expected revival in their fortunes. For Communism destroyed what was the essence of the Gdynians’ spirit – their enterprise, right to own their homes and their freedom to take their fate into their own hands. The Gdynians clamoured for freedom in dramatic fashion: in Gdynia in 1970, the city’s streets flowed with the blood of workers protesting against the communist authorities; in August 1980, Gdynia became one of the most important centres in Poland of resistance against the injustices of the system.
Nevertheless, in the shadow of great historical and social processes, life went on as normal. Male and female Gdynians completed their education at Gdynia’s schools, married in Gdynia’s churches, buried their dead in Gdynia’s cemeteries, cared for Gdynia’s tenement houses, travelled to their jobs in the docks on Gdynia’s trolleybuses, shopped in Gdynia’s covered market, sailed from Gdynia, and returned.
Without all of this, there would be no history of Gdynia. The life of Gdynia, the lives of Gdynians, are of their own making, and still in the making…
The Gdynia City Museum
1 Zawiszy Czarnego Street, Gdynia
Information &ticket desk / museum shop: 58 662 09 61
Office: 58 662 09 10
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 10 – 18
Thursday: 12 – 20
Saturday, Sunday: 10 – 17
For some, Radmor was a dream hi-fi 5100 obtained by miracle while for others it was about the long-awaited conversations of the longing seamen through Radio Gdynia, the hustle of everyday life in the port, the best Polish industrial design or the workplace of tens of Gdynia and whole Tricity’s inhabitants. The company, which has existed continuously since 1947, first under the name MORS, then Unitra-Radmor and Radmor has gone down in the history of our country as one of the leading producers of communication devices. The equipment with Radmor logo served radio officers, divers taxi drivers, railwaymen and uniformed services for years. It was also popular in the 80s and 90s of the 20th century among the fans of crystal-clear sounds in the form of modern musical equipment.
At the Gdynia City Museum Exhibition, the over fifty year long history of radio communications, technology and industrial design will become a background for the story of people whose everyday work built this Gdynia legend – the legend of Radmor.
Curators: Agnieszka Drączkowska, Paweł Gełesz, Artur Wodzyński
Curative collaboration: Michał Miegoń, Marcin Szerle
Authors of texts for the exhibition: Marek Cichowski, Agnieszka Drączkowska, Paweł Gełesz, Marcin Szerle, Małgorzata Zeman
Text editing and proofreading: Agnieszka Kochanowska
Translation: Marta Skibińska
Interviews with Radmor employees: Dariusz Małszycki
Interview editing: Michał Jeziorski
Digitalization of archive materials: Katarzyna Piotrowska
Photographs: Leszek Żurek
Exhibition design: Paweł Gełesz
Visual identity and graphic design of the exhibition: Anita Wasik
In collaboration with: Roman Bartkowski, Blanka Balicka, Martyna Basalska, Marek Cichowski, Jacek Czerniejewski, Ryszard Dulski, Rafał Frankowski, Anna Kondracka, Karina Kowalska, Dariusz Małszycki, Marzena Markowska, Helena Młyńczak, Karin Moder, Czesława Niedziółka, Marek Petryk, Barbara Rzepiak, Ewa Skelnik, Władysław Stachowski, Robert Szymanowski, Grażyna Szkudlińska, Edward Tomaszewski, Gabriela Zbirohowska-Kościa, Małgorzata Zeman
Educational Programme: Olga Lewandowska, Aleksandra Menderska, Iza Meronk, Tomasz Sosnowski
Promotion: Michał Miegoń
Exhibition Set-up and Installation: “Technik” Rafał Rzeczkowski, MAT95
Honorary Patronage: Mayor of Gdynia Wojciech Szczurek
Strategic partner: Radmor S.A.
Partners: Museum of Diving in Warsaw, Faculty of Architecture and Design of the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk
Media patrons: TVP 3 Gdańsk, Radio Gdańsk, Trójmiasto.pl, Dziennik Bałtycki, Lizard Magazine, Klif Gdynia, TVP Kultura
The exhibition presents items from the collections of Jacek Czerniejewski, Ryszard Dulski, Barbara Rzepiak, Radmor S.A. company, Authorised Audio Service Centre Radmor S.A., Museum of Diving in Warsaw, Department of Design of the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk.
The exhibition was co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.
For the protagonist of this seventh edition of the series, our museum has proudly chosen Janusz Kaniewski, a world-renowned Polish car designer and visionary with a sensitivity to the aesthetics of public space. This prematurely deceased designer is a remarkable figure, full of vision and closely tied to Gdynia. He co-created the Gdynia Design Days festival (in 2012 he was its main curator), and advised the Mayor of Gdynia on the city’s aesthetics. 2020 marks five years since his death.
The exhibition features a whole spectrum of Janusz Kaniewski’s work, introducing us to this artist of brilliance and good humour, in love with travel and cars. The various zones of the exhibition have been planned to contrast the two faces of Kaniewski – the official one we know from vehicle and commercial designs, and the private, lesser-known one, which is essential for understanding many of his decisions in execution or design.
During the process of making this exhibition we were inspired by Janusz Kaniewski’s own words: ‘The most effective way of predicting the future is to create it’. Here Kaniewski was alluding to the viewpoint of American computer scientist Alan Kay and his understanding of the future as something that ought not to be foreseen, but shaped and created through action. With this thought in mind, we decided to focus on the design’s impact, its resonance in the times to come.
In defining the significance and aim of design, Janusz Kaniewski wrote that it ‘should be functional and aesthetically pleasing, and if it makes someone smile – that makes it good design’. He equated design and functionality, practicality and pleasure. We are surrounded by things that are designed: objects, technical devices, buildings, cities. What does this mean for us in practice? What is the agency of design? To what future does it lead us? How does it change our world? We will join our visitors in seeking responses to each of these questions, chiefly focusing on design as a tool that improves the functionality of our surroundings and helps us create a better tomorrow.
curator: Anna Śliwa
project team: Blanka Balicka, Marta Borowska-Tryczak, Mateusz Kozielecki, Olga Lewandowska, Michał Miegoń, Robert Szymanowski, Gabriela Zbirohowska-Kościa
cooperation: Izabela Meronk, Katarzyna Piotrowska, Ewa Skelnik, Tomasz Sosnowski, Patrycja Wójcik
exhibition architect: Dominika Janicka
visual identity: Anita Wasik
language editor and proof-reader: Aleksandra Piechnik
translation: Soren Gauger, Marta Skibińska
film: Piotr Seweryn
photography: Anna Iwanow, Ksenia Kaniewska, Maria Kaniewska, Janusz Kaniewski, Mateusz Nasternak, Katarzyna Wrońska, Leszek Żurek
framing: F.H.U. „Szklarz” Konatowski
typhlographics: Studio Tylografiki „Tyflograf”
montage: Rafał Frankowski, Robert Szymanowski, Mirosław Studniak, Pixella, Stolmar
honorary patrons: Prezydent Miasta Gdyni Wojciech Szczurek, MKiDN, Włoski Instytut Kultury w Warszawie
strategic partner: Mazda Polska
partners: Pomorski Park Naukowo Technologiczny (Centrum Designu), Centrum Nauki Experyment, ASP Gdańsk, School of Form, Instytut Dizajnu w Kielcach, Instytut Wzornictwa Przemysłowego, Traffic Design Gdynia, RMF Classic, Elzab S.A., Koło/Geberit, ModerTrans Poznań, S.Z.T.K. TAPS, Virako Sp. z o.o., Żywiec
media patrons: Radio Gdańsk, Gazeta Wyborcza Trójmiasto, Dziennik Bałtycki Polska The Times, Design Alive, Elle Decoration, TVP Kultura, TVP3Gdańsk, trojmiasto.pl, Prestiż, Linia, Logo24, Klif
This exhibition was co-financed by funding from the Minister of Culture, National Heritage and Sport.
The port of Gdynia and the city which came to existence together with it are among the top flagship Polish economic investments of the 20th century. Many photographers from all over the country made sure its construction and operation were well documented. Roman Morawski (1883-1931) was one of them. The photographer and sales specialist from Lviv came to Gdynia in 1921. Unfortunately, we have not been able to determine his earlier fate. The Lviv address books indicates that a sales specialist with an identical name worked in the city and ran a mercer’s shop in 2 Sykstuska Street. However, it remains uncertain whether it was the same person.
Roman Morawski was probably the first photographer to settle in Gdynia permanently. He opened Gdynia’s first stationary and office supplies wholesale company in 2 Starowiejska Street. He also ran a tobacco products wholesale and retail outlet in the same place. He was one of the founders of the Independent Traders Association in Gdynia. Apart from being a trader, he was a photographer too. In 71 Szosa Gdańska (today’s Morska Street) he ran a photography studio – formally, it was registered in his wife Seweryna’s name. He died on 12th December 1931 and was buried in the Witomino cemetery.
He is the author of multiple photographic postcards with views of Gdynia, including the port being built. His work documents the scenes from the city’s and its inhabitants’ live as well as the establishment and development of the Polish Navy and the fleet of warships. You can also see those who were building Gdynia – from the anonymous workers and seamen, through those who represented local administration to the dignitaries who were visiting the place. The 330 of his photographic postcards which belong to Gdynia City Museum’s collection allow to examine the process of Gdynia’s transformation from a village into a large port and city.
It is a certain paradox that we only know Roman Morawski, who took hundreds of photographs, from two slightly blurry images kept as a part of the Gdynia City Museum’s collection. Both the photographer’s biography and his likeness still remain a mystery to us.
Once Upon a Time on the Baltic Sea. Gdynia of the 1920s on Roman Morawski’s camera
Gdynia City Museum
1 Zawiszy Czarnego Street
From 30th November 2019 to 12th April 2020
29th November 2019, 18.00
The Warsaw Rising is an important and frequently raised subject. The exhibition 75 Photographs by „Joachim” on the 75th Anniversary of the Warsaw Rising will allow to look at this issue from the perspective of an inhabitant of Gdynia, Joachim Joachimczyk nom de guerre „Joachim”. He took part in the fighting of September 1939. After the capitulation he did not come back to Gdynia but became engaged in underground activity in Warsaw. From 1942, he served at the Bureau of Information and Propaganda for the Headquarters of the Home Army (AK). During the Warsaw Rising, he worked as a photographer, which resulted in thousands of photographs. Not all of them survived until today.
The idea of the exhibition was born thanks to the initiative of Stowarzyszenie im. Bolesława Srockiego (Bolesław Srocki Association), Stowarzyszenie in Gremio (In Gremio Association) and Pierwsza Społeczna Szkoła Podstawowa w Gdyni (Community Primary School No. 1 in Gdynia). Thanks to the help of the Warsaw Rising Museum and co-organization by the Gdynia City Hall, Culture Centre in Gdynia and the above-mentioned association, the idea became reality.
We would like to present 75 selected photographs by Joachim which depict the Warsaw Rising. In appreciation of a broad spectrum of themes in „Joachim’s” photographs, the exhibition was divided into four sections: Insurgent Forces, In the Quarters and in the Free Time, Day After Day Under Fire, Warsaw under fire and a supplementary part devoted to the author of the photographs.
The exhibition of photographs by an inhabitant of Gdynia who captured so many aspects of the Warsaw Rising will allow us to look at this event in a unique, yet matter-of-fact and multidimensional way.
EXHIBITION OPENING: 1.08.2019, 17.00
EXHIBITION DURATION: 1.08.2019 – 2.10.2019
LOCATION: Skwer Kościuszki, Gdynia
The sixth exhibition in Gdynia City Museum’s “Polish Design Polish Designers” series has exceptional promise. For the first time it will be focused on a woman – and an unusual woman, the fashion designer Barbara Hoff. Hard as it is to believe, her varied oeuvre has never been presented at a monographic exhibition. In Gdynia we will see numerous, often previously unpublished archival materials: drawings, designs, photos, films from fashion shows, and – what is most important – original Hoffland brand clothing, on loan from the National Museum in Warsaw, Central Textile Museum in Łódź, and many private collections.
Barbara Hoff is a one-of-a-kind creator, escaping the traditionally understood definition of a designer, usually a graduate of an artistic school or a technical institute. For Hoff is an art historian, and her ties to fashion began not with design, but with writing – she wrote on fashion for the cult “Przekrój” [Cross-Section] weekly since 1954. Only in later years she became a designer with her own clothing brand. Her Hoffland became synonymous with “fashionable mass production” to millions of Poles.
Our exhibition will revisit Barbara Hoff’s immensely interesting design trajectory, covering more than half of the 20th century. We will see her as a trendsetter, with her first fashion proposals in the DIY (“do it yourself”) movement, including the already famous design for “coffin shoes”, i.e., how to turn cheap tennis shoes into ultra fashionable ballerinas. We will see a trendwatcher who, by describing the fashions from catwalks and streets in Paris or London in letters to “Przekrój”, conveyed the news of what was “in” in the world. We will get “a flash” of her as a photojournalist, finding fashionably dressed students in the streets of Krakow and jazz fans coming to Sopot. But it is as a fashion creator she will be shown to the fullest – a creator in full sense of the word, not just designing the clothing, but also organizing and overseeing the entire process, “design to sales.” Finally, she will be shown as the stylist for models, often actors, musicians and dancers friendly with the designer. During the fashion shoots for “Przekrój,” they posed in prototype “own collections” by Hoff, soon to be sold by the hundreds of thousands at Hoffland counters in Domy Towarowe “Centrum” [“Center” Department Stores].
Hoff, said to be an institution, a dictator, a phenomenon, for several generations of Poles was first and foremost a designer, having Poles dress fashionably, colorfully and inexpensively despite the rigors of Socialist reality. Her cult designs for Hoffland are not just an important chapter in the history of Polish design, but also a part of “daily iconosphere” of Poland in the 70s, 80, and 90s of the last century. Let us get acquainted with Barbara Hoff, and inspired with her concepts – not just in fashion!
Weronika Szerle – exhibition curator
Celem wystawy jest prezentacja 50 miniatur tkackich, wybranych przez Jury konkursu 11 Baltic Mini Textile Gdynia. Wystawa umożliwi odbiorcom obejrzenie najciekawszych i najlepszych artystycznie spośród 324 prac, zgłoszonych przez 155 artystów z całego świata.
Za szczególną wartością miniatur tkackich przemawia ich ścisłe powiązanie z kierunkami twórczych poszukiwań sztuki współczesnej. Narzucone wymogi skalowe, przy jednoczesnej dowolności tematu, zastosowanych materiałów i techniki, czynią z miniatur swoiste laboratorium, pozwalające odkrywać nowe możliwości tkaniny artystycznej. Niewielki wymiar pozwala artystom eksperymentować ze skomplikowanymi, czasochłonnymi technikami, umożliwia zastosowanie delikatnych, nietrwałych materiałów. Różnorodność autorskich technik, interesujące rozwiązania twórcze przekonują, że miniatura tkacka jest nie tylko samodzielną, ale ważną i pełną potencjału dziedziną sztuki.
Baltic Mini Textile Gdynia to konkurs organizowany w Gdyni od 1993 roku. Przez 25 lat swojego istnienia zdążył wypracować własną pozycję i znaczenie, dołączając do grona prestiżowych międzynarodowych przeglądów miniatur tkackich organizowanych w Szombathely (Węgry), Angers (Francja) i Como (Włochy). Konkurs zaistniał początkowo jako triennale, by później przekształcić się w biennale, a od 2004 r. powrócić do formuły triennalowej. Jego inicjatorką i pomysłodawczynią jest Aleksandra Bibrowicz-Sikorska, artystka z Gdyni, uprawiająca tkaninę artystyczną, malarstwo na jedwabiu, rysunek i ceramikę. Od 2001 r. konkurs zaczął też towarzyszyć Międzynarodowemu Triennale Tkaniny w Łodzi.
W gdyńskim przeglądzie brali udział artyści z całego świata: USA, Kanady, Brazylii, Meksyku, Izraela, Korei, Japonii, Australii i prawie całej Europy. Najlepsze prace wyróżniane są nagrodami: GRAND PRIX Prezydenta Miasta Gdyni, Nagrodą Marszałka Województwa Pomorskiego (zazwyczaj Nagrodę Marszałka otrzymuje ex aequo dwóch artystów) oraz Nagrodą Muzeum Miasta Gdyni. Laureat GRAND PRIX Prezydenta Miasta Gdyni nagrodzony zostaje statuetką w formie bryły bursztynu i propozycją wystawy indywidualnej podczas kolejnej edycji triennale.
Niezwykłość gdyńskiej imprezy polega na tym, że uczestnicy pozostawiają muzeum dary — swoje miniatury, z których powstała pokaźna kolekcja, licząca ponad 300 prac. W 2005 r. wybrane prace z kolekcji były prezentowane w Kilonii (Niemcy), a w 2008 r. — w Martha Gault Gallery w Slippery Rock (USA). W latach 2012–2013, dzięki współpracy z The Australian Forum for Textile Arts (TAFTA), ekspozycję można było oglądać w kilkunastu australijskich galeriach. Z kolei w ramach partnerstwa województwa pomorskiego i regionu Środkowej Frankonii miniatury z gdyńskiej kolekcji zostały zaprezentowane w Norymberdze (Künstlerhaus, 2014 r.) i Ansbach (Galeria LOFT, 2018 r.).
PATRONAT HONOROWY: Mieczysław Struk Marszałek Województwa Pomorskiego oraz Wojciech Szczurek Prezydent Miasta Gdyni.
PARTNER WYSTAWY: Akademia Sztuk Pięknych w Gdańsku, Bezirk Mittelfranken
PATRONI MEDIALNI: Radio Gdańsk S.A., Trojmiasto.pl, Dziennik Bałtycki, Contemporary Lynx, TVP Kultura, TVP3 Gdańsk, Arteon, Artinfo.pl, Kurier Gdyński, Magazyn Together – rodzinna strona Trójmiasta, Klif Gdynia
11th Baltic Mini Textile Gdynia 8.03–9.06.2019
The Baltic Mini Textile Gdynia competition has been held in Gdynia since 1993. Over the course of 25 years, we have seen works by artists from all over the globe, including Europe, Asia, North and South America and Australia. The review was initiated and launched by the Gdynia-based artist Aleksandra Bibrowicz-Sikorska.
The exhibition features 50 textile miniatures selected by the jury of the 11th Baltic Mini Textile Gdynia competition from among 324 works submitted by 155 artists. This year’s GRAND PRIX of Mayor of Gdynia was awarded to Ieva Krūmiņa (Latvia) for her miniature Private Endlessness. The two equivalent Prizes of the Marshal of the Pomeranian Voivodeship were awarded to Myriam Dion (Canada) for her Procession of Faith and Magdalena Soboń (Poland) for her Timeless drawings 2. The Gdynia City Museum Prize went to Baiba Osīte (Latvia) for Water Lilies. The jury also awarded four distinctions to Marijke Leertouwer (the Netherlands), Sue Stone (UK), Elizabeth Pien (Denmark) and Gertraud Enzinger (Austria).
The competition guidelines gave the artists a high degree of freedom when choosing their topics. However, there were several recurring themes and intersections which helped us connect works by artists from different places and allow them to enter into dialogue. At the 11th Baltic Mini Textile Gdynia competition, the artists frequently turned their attention towards the same fabric by exploring its limits; alternatively they posed questions about the world and what lies beyond it – what is material and nonmaterial, or physical and metaphysical. With this in mind, we organised the artworks into the following thematic blocks: Textile References, Crossing the Boundaries, Nature and Infinity.
The extraordinary attributes of textile miniatures were explored through their close ties with the latest trends in contemporary art. The strict size restrictions meant the resulting miniatures served as veritable laboratories revealing the new possibilities presented by artistic textiles. The small scale let artists experiment with complex, intricate techniques and use delicate, ephemeral materials. The huge variety of the artists’ own techniques and fascinating artistic solutions show us that textile miniatures are a fully independent, important genre, full of potential.
Muzeum Miasta Gdyni
ul. Zawiszy Czarnego 1
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays 10:00 –18:00
Saturdays, Sundays, holidays 10:00–17:00
reduced: PLN 5 (per person)
normal: PLN 10 (per person)
family: PLN 15 (maximum two adults and 8 children under 18)
VIOLENCE AND MEMORY
Research by the SRV Sektion Rassen- und Volkstumsforschung
(in memory of my family, and those who experienced forced resettlement in 1947 during “Operation Vistula”)
cooperation: Dariusz Sitek assistance in making the ambrotypes: Aleksandra Wolter
In cooperation with the MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow.
The MOCAK collection. With the financial support of the Pomeranian Voivodeship. This project has been made possible through the cooperation of the Jagiellonian University Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology and the Jagiellonian University Archive in Krakow.
The main aim of the installation, featuring some remarkable materials created during World War II and presently found in the Jagiellonian University’s Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology and the Jagiellonian University Archive, is an attempt to critically appraise their equivocal „scientific” value, in part to remember the cultural heritage of the regions explored at the time. The archival photographic materials come from the racial ethnology and reconnaissance section of the Institut für Deutsche Ostarbeit (IDO). According to the intentions of Hans Frank (Governor General GG), the institute was to be transformed into a German university in Krakow. These photographs were meant to display the natural virtues of the General Government and the cultural backwardness of the conquered lands of Poland, to prove the Germans had been eternally present in the “East,” explained as “the Germans spreading civilization.”
This project also reflects upon the use of anthropological and ethnographic methods and art history by National Socialism, showing how science was entangled with totalitarianism, and the ambiguous status of neutral and seemingly innocent reconnaissance and ethnographic photographs. The photographs depicting Lemko, Polish, Ukrainian, and Goral peoples are not so very different from traditional reconnaissance and ethnographic photography documents. Obviously, all the activities involved in studying peoples in the lands occupied during World War II, such as photographs of faces and various body parts, medical interviews, and psychological, sociological, and anthropological questionnaires, were obligatory, and participation was ensured by force.
The installation is composed of a large, steel construction, symbolically alluding to the form of the Subcarpathian iconostasis. The piece has a symmetrical frame, containing digital copies of archives printed on steel plate. The photographs have been selected from the IDO racial ethnology and reconnaissance section. The form of the iconostasis makes reference to the culture, customs, and Greek-Catholic religion of the populace: Ruski Gorals, Lemkos, and Ukrainians. In place of the holy images, apostles, and prophets, we find images of village folk. This gesture of shifting or altering the hierarchy aims to commemorate and turn attention to social groups who, in the wake of the military operations and ethnic cleansings of 1947, known as “Operation Vistula,” were displaced from Roztocze, Pogórze Przemyskie, Bieszczady, and Lower Beskids. With this, the cultural heritage of these regions was irreparably destroyed.
What Is or Was the IDO Institut für Deutsche Ostarbeit:
Founded in Krakow, this German institution with academic ambitions was created during World War II, after the closure of the Jagiellonian University. The Nazis were carrying out their plan to exterminate the intellectual elite of the conquered nation. On 20 April 1940 – Adolf Hitler’s birthday – the Institut für Deutsche Ostarbeit was established by the command of Hans Frank, head of the General Government. Frank appointed himself the Chair, and made the director Wilhelm Coblitz. The institute was installed in the Jagiellonian buildings, with branches created in Warsaw and Lwów [presently Lvov, Ukraine]; others were planned. IDO was divided into eleven sections, exploring a multitude of issues. It was conceived as a branch of a future German university, like the one created in Poznań (Reichsuniversitat Posen). Employees of German Eastern Studies and academic centers in Berlin, Königsberg, Wrocław, and Vienna contributed to its organization. Its publications spread propaganda (primarily through their periodical, Die Burg) justifying Germany’s aggression on Polish lands, and evoking the theory of Germany’s cultural mission throughout history in Eastern Europe.
Several departments, mainly the racial ethnological section headed by Austrian anthropologists, embarked on field trips. Their destinations included the ghetto in Tarnów, Podhale, the Sądecki region, and Lemko villages. Some IDO projects and analyses involved goals that the German authorities wanted to achieve in Central and Eastern Europe after the war. These were both economic and ethnic: the separation of ethnic groups and the segregation of conquered peoples. The German organizers of IDO used the same methods in creating Einsatzstab Reichsminister Rosenberg, situated in the old headquarters of the Jewish Academic Institute (Jidiszer Wisnszaftlecher Institut, YIVO) in Wilno [presently Vilnius, Lithuania] – local experts were employed as lower assistants, and were indispensable in compensating for the imported Reich workers’ shortcomings in language and knowledge.
In mid 1944, when news of German military catastrophes were coming in from the front lines, Director Coblitz ordered the evacuation of the IDO collections. They were hidden in two Bavarian castles: Zandt and Miltach. What remained of IDO in Polish territory after the war (the “old IDO” and other piecemeal, scattered, or stolen materials) eventually joined the collections of several Polish archive institutions: the Jagiellonian University Archive, the State Archive in Krakow, the Head Commission for Investigating Nazi Crimes in Poland (presently the Institute of National Memory) and the Archive of New Acts in Warsaw.
When Bavaria was taken by the American army, the IDO collections were transported to the USA under the care of the War Department. In February 1947, the institution that was storing the crates – the Medical Intelligence Section of the United States’ Surgeon General’s Office – passed on seven of them to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.
Two or three crates containing the personal files of IDO workers were later withdrawn and deposited in the storage houses of the Alexandria military fort. It seems they were next under the jurisdiction of America’s central archive, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). In 1951, the IDO documents that were deposited at the NARA were handed over to the German Federal Republic, at its government’s request, along with other Reich archivalia, after being committed to microfiche. In Germany, part of the IDO collection was deposited at the Bundesarchiv in Koblenz, and then, in 1996 it was taken to the new headquarters in Berlin, where it is stored under number R 521V (Institut für Deutsche Ostarbeit). In the Berlin Bundesarchiv there is also an important group of documents concerning the IDO: Bericht über den Aufbau und die Forschungsaufgaben des Institut für Deutsche Ostarbeit iIn Zandt und Miltach vom 3. Februar 1945 (R 52II, Kanzlei des Generalgouverneurs complex, File 173).
On 22 January 2008, the Polish Embassy in Washington ceremonially transferred the Sektion Rassen- und Volkstumsforschung collection in the framework of Institut für Deutsche Ostarbeit (IDO) to the Jagiellonian University via the heads of the Smithsonian Institution. The Krakow school was represented by Prof. Karol Musioł, and the Jagiellonian University Archive by Director Dr. Krzysztof Stopka. Until that time, the archive had been stored at the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution) in Washington. Following an agreement signed on 14 July 2006, between the Jagiellonian University and NMNH, the collections were conserved and digitized. The Jagiellonian University and the US Holocaust Museum in Washington covered the costs of the endeavor.
Brian Griffin is an outstanding photographer and the author of the most significant pop and rock bands’ albums’ covers of the 80s. The artist photographed Post Punk, New Wave or New Romantic bands and musician for years.
The exhibited material was selected from over 160 photo shoots. They were produced for more than 100 musicians and artists. One of the exhibition’s elements are alternative versions of album covers for Depeche Mode, who are one of the headliners of Open’er festival 2018. Symbols designed by the artist appeared in urban spaces, including Gdynia, where the Depeche Mode fans who were a separate subculture painted them on walls. Apart from cover photos, the exhibition will feature unknown photographs of stars like Iggy Pop, Kate Bush or R.E.M.
Apart from cover photos, the exhibition will feature unknown photographs of stars like Iggy Pop, Kate Bush or R.E.M. Brian Griffin’s work is a peculiar window to the past and a must see for every pop music fan or a person who is interested in the history of culture or photography. The exhibition was prepared together with the International Festival of Music Producers Soundedit. The event in Łódź is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
Curators: Jacek Friedrich, Michał Miegoń, Brian Griffin
Concept cooperation: Agata Abramowicz, Maciej Werk – International Festival of Music Producers Soundedit
Project team: Anna Lipińska, Mateusz Kozielecki, Robert Szymanowski, Rafał Frankowski, Tomasz Marcinkowski
Exhibition production: Omnidruk
Graphic design: Krzysztof Wroński Artwork
Cooperation and collection lending: International Festival of Music Producers Soundedit