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Lidia Krawczyk, Wojciech Kubiak, from the series “Genderqueer: M.”

The project Genderqueer was implemented by Lidia Krawczyk and Wojciech Kubiak in the period 2006–2008. The first comprehensive presentation of a series of paintings, photographs, films, and sculptures was the exhibition, Becoming, in Bunkier Sztuki Gallery (2008), which, at the same time, was the crowning touch for all the activities related to it. The themes of the exhibition focused on the topic of the constant need to declare one’s identity and sexuality. The subject of interest to the artists was an attempt to show the ambiguity of the relations formed between what is feminine and masculine. People who expressed their willingness to share their experiences, related to expressing their own gender identity that deviates from socially expected conventions and the traditional division of gender roles, have become the protagonists of images and photography.

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.

Janek Simon, “Ryugyong Hotel”

Janek Simon’s interests include theories and models as well as scientific disciplines, such as geography and economics, which are subject to evolution along with civilizational changes. His works have an experimental and anarchic character, reflecting the clash of scientific theories with the reality of everyday life. His works are prototypes, models, and complicated electronic systems, created according to the principle Do It Yourself by the artists himself. He incessantly seeks extra-systemic solutions, which allow him to break away from contemporary art of a capitalist character.

Wojciech Doroszuk, “Reisefieber”

A project by Wojciech Doroszuk called Reisefieber concerns the problem of economic migration. During his stay in Berlin, the artist played the role of a newcomer from the East and was employed in the service sectors which are usually entrusted to emigrants. Based on his experience, five films and photography have been created, that form a multi-layered story of everyday, ordinary life in a foreign country, including both paid work and leisure activities, for example, participation in mass events organized in the city space. In each situation, the hero is shown as a stereotypical stranger, deprived of the will and the possibility of joining indigenous members of the community.

Lemko skirt “kabat”

SA Lemko skirt, or kabat, was made of modrotrotnik – thin printed factory fabric with a pattern of small yellow flowers and small green stars. It was hand-sewn at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Such fabrics were made in the towns of the southern part of the Carpathians, in Bardiov, as well as in Krynica and Muszyna.

Lemko coif (“czepec”)

A coif (czepec) was an obligatory headgear for married Lemko women. It has the form of a shallow cap consisting of a horseshoe-shaped bottom folded in the bottom part and a surrounding rim with rounded edges.

Lemko corset

The presented corset comes from the village of Rozdziele. Corsets (lajbyky) were worn by Lemko women – brides and young married women. They were worn over blouses.

Hanukkah lamp

The eight-branched candelabrum made in honour of the Hanukkah festival – the victorious Maccabean Revolt. The festival – recorded in the books of Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) – is over 2,000 years old.

Besamin tower box

One of liturgical utensils of the Jewish faith is a vessel for scents called a spice tower (Hebrew: bassamim, psumin-byksy) used during Sabbath. This spice tower represents the most common turret type in the shape of a multi-storey synagogue.

Megillat Esther binding

The Megillat Esther binding is a case for storing a parchment scroll of the Book of Esther. The Biblical Book of Esther tells the story of how Esther, the wife of the Persian King Ahasuerus, thwarted the plans of Minister Haman aiming to annihilate the Jews who inhabited the Persian Empire. To commemorate these events, on the 14th and 15th day of the month of Adar the Jews celebrate the joyful holiday of Purim.

Etrog tin

An etrog tin in the shape of a pomegranate with three leaves, oxidised and open in the middle. The exhibit presumably belonged to rich Jews, as only they could afford such a decorated, silver container, used to carry the etrog to a synagogue on the holiday of Sukkot.

Jewish tin plate

This plate could have been used on the Sabbath or, more likely, during the Purim holiday celebrated in the month of Adar, which symbol is fish, used as an decoration motif in this exhibit.

Hanukkah lamp

It was probably created at the turn of the 20th century. Its base rests on three lying lions. The profiled stem is finished with a figure of an eagle with outspread wings. Eight semi-circular branches are attached to the stem with clips.

Jewish wedding ring

The Jewish wedding ring was purchased in 1985 in “Desa”. Its owner is unknown. The ring is decorated with a floral motif and a Jewish inscription, Mazel Tov [Good luck]. It is topped with a model of a building — a symbolic depiction of the buildings in Jerusalem.

Kiddush goblet

Kiddush translates from Hebrew as “sanctification.” The ceremony is celebrated at the beginning of the Sabbath and other holidays, by saying a special blessing over a cup of red sweet wine (or red grape juice).

Parochet — curtain that covers the Torah Ark

Beautiful curtain that covers the Torah Ark altar in the synagogue, produced in New York shortly before the outbreak of World War II and brought to Poland by Mr. Zvi, son Johoszua Lehr.

Torah scroll

The parchment scroll containing text of the Five Books of Moses, i.e. the Books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy was hand-written in Hebrew, rolled onto two sticks; the so-called ace(i) chaim [shafts of life] made of oak wood was furnished at the ends with pairs of wooden plates with a diameter of 17.5 cm, and handles for rolling the scrolls. The handles are profiled, with a head decorated with ivory buttons in the upper part and an ivory sleeve at the bottom.

Wooden sculpture “Highlander”

Full wooden sculpture depicting a man’s figure dressed in a folk outfit similar to outfits worn by Podhale highlanders in the 2nd half of the 19th century. It was purchased for the Tatra Museum’s collection in the 1990s. There is no information about its author, place, or time of completion.

Hanukkah lamp from Samuel Roth's shtibl

This unusual Hanukkah lamp was set on a wooden base, in the middle of which there is a small wall made of two planks, reinforced with another plank and a metal plaque on the back. To the front of the wall, a cast-iron chandelier is fixed.

Jewish book of the Chevra Kadisha funeral brotherhood

A Jewish book belonging to a Chevra Kadisha funeral fraternity. It is a prayer book of the Ashkenazi rite (Nusach Ashkenaz). The Hebrew title of the book is Sidur Safa Berura ha-Shalom.