The Other Side of Things. Polish Design After 1989

Friday, April 6, 2018, 6:00 PM - Sunday, August 19, 2018

  • Friday, April 6, 2018, 6:00 PM - Sunday, August 19, 2018
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The exhibition at the Main Building of the National Museum in Krakow is the first ever wide-reaching presentation of how design has changed in Poland over the last 30 years.

We will discover challenges faced by designers in the years after the political breakthrough, driven by the collapse of former ties with industry and under the newly forming capitalist system. The exhibition reveals how Polish designers entered the international arena at the turn of the 21st century and how Polish brands became increasingly noticeable in international markets, until they became equal to the competition.

Designing things tends to be associated with mass production and utility, but the exhibition also draws attention to less commercial aspects to contemporary design. We will discover niche trends, technologies which can be difficult to accept by the majority of users, and experiments in aestheticism. An important theme is the search for local identity, seeking inspiration in the past, recalling styles of the 1960s and reaching for regional traditions. We will also see designs created in response to pressing environmental and social issues. A section of the exhibition is dedicated to works by artist designers, spanning the boundaries between categories and usually displayed at art festivals and galleries. (Dorota Dziunikowska, miesięcznik „Karnet”)

The Main Building

al. 3 Maja 1

The central phenomena of the Polish art of the 20th century, the history of Polish weaponry and uniforms, a gallery of crafts, and a dozen major temporary exhibitions each year.

The quickly expanding collection of the National Museum, set up in 1879, soon needed space that Kraków did not have at that time. That is why the idea to erect a new building that at the same time would commemorate the many years of efforts to regain Poland’s independence was born early in the 20th century. Immediately after the end of the First World War, already in free Poland, funds for the construction of an appropriate seat began to be raised. The construction of the building by the imposing Aleje Trzech Wieszczów, staked out just two decades earlier, began in 1934. Today, the National Museum in Kraków boasts several branches, with no fewer than three permanent galleries in the Main Building alone. Deposited on the ground floor are the collections of militaria: the exhibition Arms and Uniforms in Poland presents the history of the Polish military from the Middle Ages to the Second World War. The Gallery of Decorative Arts boasts collections of fabrics, goldsmithry, glass, ceramics, furniture, musical instruments, and Judaica that let the visitor trace changes in style from the early Middle Ages to the 20th century. The Gallery of 20th-Century Polish Art presents the chronology and key tendencies in painting, sculpture, printmaking, and photography as created by the Polish artists of the previous century (gallery closed until further notice). The largest temporary exhibitions of the National Museum in Kraków are organised in specially designed halls.

Tickets to permanent galleries: normal PLN 10, concessions PLN 5, family PLN 20, admission free to permanent exhibitions on Sunday

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