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Hubert Gromny, Xavery Wolski, “Crystal Skulls Are Modern Fakes? Adventure Movie”

Historical conspiracy theories – the Muhlenberg legend, spectral time hypothesis, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion – have occupied the minds of a large group of scholars and lovers of the past for centuries, being also one of the most controversial and, at the same time, interesting elements of contemporary culture. For Hubert Gromny and Xavery Wolski, they became an inspiration to create the installation Crystal skulls are modern fakes? Adventure Movie. Starting from the eclectic nature of conspiracy theories, drawing randomly from historical science, pop culture, and futurology, the creators tested their typical determinants and created a new conspiracy narrative. It questions the official theories referring to the origins of the Slavic peoples. In this attempt to mediate conspiracy theories, the artists created the character of Janusz “Johnny” Bzibziak PhD – a Polish Indiana Jones – associated with the Archaeological Museum of Kraków. The protagonist is a specialist in the field of research on nomadic peoples and a proponent of a theory postulating links between the ancestors of Slavs, Cimmerians, and Scythians.

Zorka Wollny, untitled

Zorka Wollny’s work situates itself between theatre, dance, music and visual arts. Her achievements include video films – distinguishing themselves with a pictorial vision – concerts and choreographic performances involving numerous actors (often realized together with Anna Szwajgier). In projects that refer to the form of an audiovisual show, the artist plays the role of director and producer, inviting musicians, actors, and dancers to cooperate, working with members of local communities, amateur clubs, and groups that share common interests. The essential element of her projects is space: works are created as a result of observing the existing conditions created by the architecture of the place, as well as penetrating its private, public, and institutional aspects.

Anna Zaradny, “BruitBruit”

Anna Zaradny’s activities – as a composer, instrumentalist, multimedia artist – are strongly intertwined with the issue of polysensory stimulation. This aspect is especially characterized by two of them: Najsłodszy dźwięk krążącego firmamentu [The sweetest sound of a revolving firmament] (2011), a sound performative installation inspired by the figure of the medieval composer and mystic, Hildegard of Bingen, and Język Wenus [The Language of Venus] (2012), a sound and visual installation, referring to the author of piano compositions and pianist, Tekla Bądarzewska. In BruitBruit, the combination of musical and visual themes is also significant. This time, the inspiration for the artist was Krystyna Tołłoczko-Różyska (1909–2001), the architect and author of the Municipal Exhibition Pavilion in Kraków – the current Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art.

Maurycy Gomulicki, “Beast”

In traditional culture, serpents represent a threatening and powerful symbol of the primal cosmic forces; they are representatives of chaos and death. They were often also the object of worship: for ancient Egyptians they symbolized the power of wielding life and death, decorating the crown of the pharaohs; the Greeks considered them to be the embodiment of the chthonic gods, and because of their annual skin moulting, they added them as an attribute to Asclepios, as a symbol of life, health, and rebirth. The Romans bred snakes in their homes, seeing them as the guardians of their home and family; The Aztecs made a feathered serpent — Quetzalcoatl — a co-creator of the world, the god of wind and earth. The primal cult of serpents also flourished in regions closer to us: for example, in the Krakowiak tribe from the right bank of the Wisła. The Judeo-Christian culture judged serpents rather negatively: in the story of Adam and Eve, they became cursed creatures; the Old Testament God sent them as a punishment to the Israelites, and then, through Moses, sent a serpent to their rescue, but one made of copper.

Andris Eglītis, “It Takes Imagination to Build Reality”

The site-specific installation by Andris Eglītis, who combines oil paintings on canvas and spatial objects, straddles the border of materiality and immateriality, documentation and imagination. The artist analyses the abstract ideas of post-war modernism (utopian design, simplicity of forms, and fascination with technology) and confronts them with the organic substantiality of reality. The structure of the work is on the one hand the historical and social context of the Gallery, its functioning in communist times, as well as the fate of its architecture and collections preceding 1989.

Rafani, untitled (“On Invisible”)

The performance On Invisible by the Czech collective Rafani, was staged simultaneously in one of the exhibition halls of the Bunkier Sztuki Gallery and in the urban space. In the gallery spaces, it was witnessed by people who intentionally arrived at the event; these witnesses, however, met only the lecturer, a poet from Kraków, and the slammer, Jan Paweł Kowalewicz (a.k.a. Roman Boryczko), connected using the telephone conference method with five performers.

Little Warsaw, “Yellow House”

As part of the project implemented in the Bunkier Sztuki Gallery, the Little Warsaw collective initiated a two-day public situation held inside the Gallery. For the performance, Gálik and Havas invited a group of over a dozen previously selected participants, with whom they commenced an artistic and research process. The latter referred to the titular Yellow House, which was the name locally assigned to the Lipótmező hospital, founded in 1868 in Budapest.

Strupek Group, “Rocket”

The starting point for the performance Rocket, was the text of a futuristic poem by Anatol Stern, Europe, published in 1929. It was processed by the members of the Strupek Group, using a modern internet tool — Google translate — to obtain an absurd, mechanized form of language. However, what survived is the essence of the original poem and its embedded story of the brutality of the 20th century history, the traps of totalitarianism, and the triumph of violence, whose horror was highlighted by ghostly sounds extracted from a theremin (an electroacoustic musical instrument constructed in the 1920s by a Soviet physicist Lev Termen). The oppressiveness of the situation increased the audience’s involvement in the space of the show itself and confronted them with characters shouting out consecutive lines: Priest, Altar Boy, Mother, Rocket, and the Sacrificial Lamb, conducting the action. The play, which was recreated three times, was an adequate conclusion of the public activity of the Strupek Group — from then on, the fates of its members were to go down their individual paths.

Monika Niwelińska, “Lighting”

Doświetlanie [Illuminating], by Monika Niwelińska, was inspired by the system of natural lighting of the first floor at the BWA Exhibition Pavilion in Kraków – today’s Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art. The artist made an analysis of the specific history and topography of the place in the form of an installation, which was once lit up by sun rays coming through the skylights in the ceiling, and it underwent a transformation in the early years of the institution’s operation due to architectural interference. An intriguing architectural solution, which was planned in the 1960s by the Gallery’s architect, Krystyna Tołłoczko-Różyska, turned out to be utopian. The roof began to leak quickly.

Tomasz Dobiszewski, from the series “Anecdotes”

The area of Tomasz Dobiszewski’s exploration is time and space, constraints of perception, illusion and interaction issues. In his works, which testify to the processes of taming the media, he does not limit himself to purely conceptual cognitive strategies but enriches the discourse with non-intellectual elements: sensual impressions and intuitive cognition. He combines messages which are legible to various human senses, and, while experimenting with the physiology of seeing or hearing, on the one hand he aims at fuller, more complete transfer, while on the other, he deprives the viewer of the possibility to learn about the essence of his work.

Konrad Smoleński, “How to Make a Bomb”

Music, punk culture, and art are among the interests of Konrad Smoleński, in which the experience of sound occupies a special place. The audio-performances implemented by him, jointly with Daniel Szwed, take the form of an anarchic bombardment of intense sound. The attack is carried out by BNNT: masked artists arriving in a black van whose image is associated with terrorists.

Yane Calovski, “Something laid over something else”

“The installation consists of separate elements, shaped more on the basis of context-specific particles of the work than its uniform form. I try to understand that the museum is a social and political construct with a powerful, extremely problematic load of meanings. It constitutes a physical manifestation of power, in the face of which we can only try to multiply its meaning, reciprocity, paradox and pluralism. Therefore, my work aims to respond to the dynamics and cosmogony of multiplicity of knowledge – be it historical, material or functional – but also to the sets of materializations that draw a portrait of space as a process played in an architectural framework.” In this way, Yane Calovski describes the conceptual assumptions of his installation. Its structurally diverse layers refer to the process of destroying the properties that characterize a given matter: erasing, removing, decolouring, and corrosion. In a wider perspective, they address the issue of the evanescence of memory and physical presence, materiality and abstraction.

Jan Hoeft, untitled (+ 48 XX XXX XXXXX)

Jan Hoeft initiated an artistic intervention taking place on the border of visibility: in the middle of a vast lawn in Kraków’s Błonia Park, he placed a ten-metre-long sculpture, made of stainless steel, deliberately resembling a scaled-up barrier (easily restored if necessary). Over its frame, a white and red scarf was slung, reminiscent of the colours sported by the fans of the nearby football clubs, Cracovia and Wisła. In place of the club’s name, a phone number was embroidered, the use of which resulted in drawing the caller into a remote performance, following the scenario prepared by the artist.

Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries, bez tytułu (Aneta. Monument for Kraków)

Aneta. Monument to Kraków – this is an example of a work related to the current of internet art and concrete poetry. The Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries duo, who are responsible for its creation, consistently uses one visual form in its creative work. It consists of words animated and displayed on a white background, in a characteristic font. In subsequent works, only the rhythm in which words appear on the screen changes, and the content of words that become a visual poem. The texts are read by a lector or are synchronized with accompanying jazz music. In the case of work carried out for the Bunkier Sztuki Gallery, we deal with a record without a musical background. We only hear the voice that reads the words – alternately in Polish (by the poet and slammer Jan Kowalewicz) and English (by a member of Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries – Marc Voge).

Bartek Buczek, “Too expensive, too weak, too difficult. Several selected recipes for an art work possible in the hypothetical fantasy world”

Bartek Buczek, apart from being a painter of works of art, is also a bouquiniste, an owner of an antique book shop, and he likes to emphasize this. In his painting, as well as when going beyond the boundaries of paintings, one can find not only literary inspiration, but also a melancholy atmosphere accompanying a focused reader, a thoughtful detective, who follows the development of plot threads and narratives. While working on his art in his own way by means of his creative personality, he remains patient. And this is how he plots stories that are almost real, whether on stretcher frames or in the pages of a book.

Miniature heart-shaped bottle

The silver heart-shaped bottle was intended for storing fragrances. On one side of the vessel, a decorative entwined monogram has been engraved (initials “RC” or “CR”?), topped by a crown. The motif is placed in a frame consisting of a decorative border featuring a simple ornament composed of triangles and matching the shape of the heart.