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A plaque commemorating Jan Stanisławski by Konstanty Laszczka

The reliefs commemorating Stanisław Wyspiański (1869–1907) and Jan Stanisławski (1860–1907) are set at eye level in the wall by the landing of a staircase between the first and second floors of the main building of the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków.

“A Bust of Lenin” by Xawery Dunikowski

Xawery Dunikowski (1875–1964) is one of the greatest Polish sculptors of the 20th century. The present bust of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin comes from the post-war period in the artist’s work. After the WWII, the ideas of social realism carried Dunikowski away. However, ideological activities did not translate into the form of his works: he remained faithful to the expressive, simplified form he developed in the interwar period.

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.

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.

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.

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).

Anna Senkara, “Nobleman”

A film Szlachcic [Nobleman], is a record of the artist’s conversation with Roman Szlachcic, son of Franciszek, a high dignitary of the Communist Poland (PRL) government. This nostalgic tale exposes personal attempts to interpret history, points to the political motives of a bygone era, and touches upon the topic of delicate family relationships. In the eyes of his son, Franciszek Szlachcic was an outstanding personality. He started his career as a worker, went through almost all levels of partisan activity, became a high-ranking public security officer, Minister of Interior in 1971, Edward Gierek’s deputy and, for two years, until 1976, deputy prime minister. After this period, Franciszek Szlachcic’s good fortune came to an end. He was removed from politics overnight and lost all his previous influence and privileges. The only symbol of his lost prestige was a larch wood villa built a few years earlier in Magdalenka near Warsaw, where his son still lives today.

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.

Anna Baumgart, “Paragraph 1000”

Anna Baumgart’s film, Article 1000 (Paragraf 1000), is the result of the artist’s search in the archives of the Falstad Centre. During the years 1941–1945, this location served as an SS prison camp, and, after the WWII, it was transformed into a prison for people collaborating with the Nazis. The starting point for the artist was the documentation found as a result of a query and fragments of the New Year’s performance script, staged by convicts in 1947, which went on to become a political scandal.

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.

Łukasz Jastrubczak, “Need for Speed”

Łukasz Jastrubczak’s Need for Speed is the artist’s journey following the trail of forms and symbols that transformed the natural landscape into the subject of reflection and culture. Already, the first frames of the film evoke recognizable themes of cinematography and art history, arranging them into a mysterious sequence. The filming scene begins with the image of a blue mountain, which, in the artistic interpretations of a number of artists – including the most famous version by Jan Domela from the 1950s – became a characteristic logo of Paramount Pictures, ceremonially announcing many of the classic Hollywood movie titles.

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.

Jarosław Kozłowski, “Counting-Out Rhyme”

Fifteen bowls of dried-up paint each have a matching cloth on which someone has wiped their dirty hands. Each such soiling/cleaning set is ascribed to a site of genocide. Washing hands is a symbolic act of removing oneself from these events and thereby from any responsibility. However, the material testimony remains.

Miniature of the sarcophagus of Casimir IV the Jagiellonian from the Holy Cross Chapel of Wawel Cathedral

A factory for the production of artistic metal castings was established in Warsaw, in the Kingdom of Poland, by Karol Fryderyk Minter. Minter was of Prussian descent and was educated in Berlin and Copenhagen. The factory became famous for its ornamental works (which were predominantly patriotic in design) which were produced during the years 1845–1879. One series produced comprised a set of twenty-one memorials of Polish rulers, including sixteen miniaturized copies of royal and princely tombs, with nine of these being Wawel royal tombs.

Commemorative pink glass

Most probably, the glass shows the bust of Adolf Starzeński, commemorating his participation in the Polish national uprising against Russia at the turn of 1830 and 1831...

Old print. Marcin Kromer’s work, “De origine et rebus gestis polonorum libri XXX” (with Grodecki’s map)

The presented old print is the most complete issue of one of the best known works by Marcin Cromer with the Polish title: O pochodzeniu i czynach Polaków ksiąg trzydzieści [About origins and deeds of Poles in thirty books] (the first Polish translation of the work written in Latin came out in 1611).

Renaissance plate

This plate was originally located above the entrance gate to the city of Biecz. It belonged to Mikołaj Ligęza from Bobrek (c. 1530–1603) who obtained the position of starosta (district governor) of Biecz in 1561, through his marriage to Elżbieta née Jordan, and in 1575 the position of the governor of Biecz Province from Jan Tarło.

Cross from the collection of patriotic jewelry

The exhibit comes from a rich collection of patriotic jewellery in the Chrzanów museum. Such jewellery is often called mourning jewellery as it often came from the period of national mourning that followed on Polish territory the defeat of the January Insurrection of 1863.

Old print. Marcin Kromer’s work, “De origine et rebus gestis polonorum libri XXX”, published in Basel

Marcin Kromer’s old print, being one of the oldest book relics, is entitled De origine et rebus gestis polonorum (On the origin and deeds of Poles). The printed book by Kromer (in Latin) shows the 16th-century researcher’s state of knowledge about history and it is also an interesting source in the field of research contemporary to him on the oldest history of Poland.