“Stories. The World Is More Complicated Than Our Truths About It” is an interdisciplinary artistic and educational project in the field of contemporary visual arts (including performing arts) carried out by the Mazovian Museum in Płock, Poland, in partnership with Kunstbanken Center for Contemporary Art in Hamar, Norway, under the banner of Franciszka and Stefan Themerson’s work. The reference to the Themersons is crucial for the project as it results from both the programme policy of the Mazovian Museum, whose Themerson Gallery opened in 2021, and the universality of the Themersons’ thought and artistic output in the context of contemporary art.
The project will last for a year, from April 2023 to March 2024, and the programme of the events assumes the organization of artistic activities in places located outside large centres, both in Poland (Płock) and Norway (Hamar), with poorer access to culture. The objectives of the project include the following: creating a platform for cooperation between institutions operating in a similar environment in Poland and Norway, including support for their entrepreneurship, dissemination and promotion of contemporary art and performance practices among the general public; dissemination of the Themersons’ achievements; establishing a relationship conducive to better communication and understanding between artists, institutions and citizens of two countries using art as a medium; popularization of the effects of the cooperation on the international arena; promotion of cultural diversity (activation of minority groups).
Storytelling is the oldest way of communication between humans as social beings. Stories can be told in various ways. People like to hear stories because there is real life in them. Every person and every work of art carries a story. By creating art, we share our experiences, feelings and knowledge with others. By opening up with all sincerity, we build trust, which is the basis for real and creative cooperation. In the project, the title “Stories” play the role of a universal language (method) by means of which the partners propose to enrich the experience of participating in art, its understanding, reception and creation. The subject matter of the stories is all-encompassing, understandable/accessible and inclusive. We begin with the individual and finish with the universal. Art has an inherent quality of establishing communication/transferring information, which gives a different status to our experience.
Performing Arts Festival is an event with 50 performers [including Rita Marhaug] from around the world. The curator of the festival, Małgorzata Sady, invited world-famous performers, as well as young, still unrecognized artists. From 19 to 22 July 2023, they will perform in various museum spaces – in the aula, on the patios at Tumska and Kolegialna, at temporary exhibitions venue. The artists will present their festival contributions in the streets of Płock as well as the cathedral. The festival ephemeral with its nature, happening here and now, responding to the local environment – corresponds to the polyphonic character of the Themersons’ oeuvre. It will feature performance art, installation, poetry, theatre, choreography, music and film, new media art. The festival will engage, pose questions and build a platform for understanding.
Małgorzata Sady writes and talks about film, art and literature, translates, photographs, paints, creates sound spaces. She works on documentaries and animated films and lectures at the Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology in Warsaw. Since the late 1970s, as a curator, translator and author of artistic projects, she has been cooperating with art centers, film studios, universities, theater, performance art and film festivals in Poland and on all continents. Author of numerous translations in the field of contemporary art, literature, philosophy and history (Wittgenstein, Russell, Themerson, Czechowicz, Poświatowska and others). Two-time scholarship holder of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. Curator of the Themersons’ permanent exhibition at the Mazovian Museum. Since 2002, she has been publishing Themersons’ Scattered Works in her publishing house “Gaberbocchus in Poland”. She has been collaborating with the Themerson Festival in Płock since its inception. The work of this extraordinary pair of artists was the subject of many of her lectures, presentations, exhibitions and publications in Poland, Japan, Israel, Belarus, Switzerland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Australia, Great Britain, Ireland, Sweden and others. Currently, she is implementing a one-year project financed by the Culture Program—EEA funds, inspired by the works of Themersons, and is finishing work on the biography of Franciszka and Stefan, with whom she was friends for the last 10 years of their lives.