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                                       P O L I S H
                                                 C U LT U R E
  Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  Departament of Promotion
tel. + 48 22 523 99 75 fax 523 81 59
 www.msz.gov.pl, www.poland.gov.pl
        ISBN 83-89175-58-4
   Let’s rush to love people, they all leave so fast
Let’s rush to love people, they all leave so fast
   their shoes and deaf phones being left behind
their shoes and deaf phones being left behind
   the irrelevant only follows like a cow
the irrelevant only follows like a cow
   the most important is fast and even abrupt
the most important is fast and even abrupt
   what comes next is silence, normal and unbearable
what comes next is silence, normal and unbearable
   like purity, easily borne of despair
like purity, easily borne of despair
   when we think of someone we are left without
when we think of someone we are left without



   Don’t be sure you’ve got time, certainty is not sure
Don’t be sure you’ve got time, certainty is not sure
   it reduces our sensitivity, just like happiness does
it reduces our sensitivity, just like happiness does
   it comes simultaneously, like pathos and humour
it comes simultaneously, like pathos and humour
   like two passions along, still weaker than one
like two passions along, still weaker than one
   leaving so fast, like a mockingbird they turn mute in July
leaving so fast, like a mockingbird they turn mute in July
   like an awkward sound or a dry bow
like an awkward sound or a dry bow
   in order to see, they close their eyes
in order to see, they close their eyes
   though to be born is more risky than to die
though to be born is more risky than to die
   we love too little and always too late
we love too little and always too late



   do not write about it often but always forever
do not write about it often but always forever
   and like a dolphin you’ll be tender and strong
and like a dolphin you’ll be tender and strong



   Let’s rush to love people, they all leave so fast
Let’s rush to love people, they all leave so fast
   and those who don’t leave won’t always return
and those who don’t leave won’t always return
   and you never know when you talk about love
and you never know when you talk about love
   if the first is the last or the last the first
if the first is the last or the last the first


   Jan Twardowski Let’s rush
   [Translated by Wojciech Graniczewski and Robin Gill]
        C U L T U R E
P O L I S H




                        I
                            literature    04


                        I
                            theatre       16


                        I
                            music         28


                        I
                            visual arts   40


                        I
                            film          62
Tadeusz Makowski: Carolsingers,
1929; oil, canvas; 81 x 100 cm, National Museum, Warsaw
        olish culture is confronting a      are already well-known, and others

P       new challenge. Since the fall of
        the Berlin Wall and accession to
the European Union, some look to this
                                            in order to consider, for example,
                                            what causes people from all over
                                            the world to come to a small village
part of the continent with hope,            on the Eastern borders of Poland?
expecting ex Oriente lux – an injection     I Polish art is separated from
of revitalising exotic power and fresh      Western culture by historical
inspiration. What makes art different       experiences which may contain
in this part of the world, what might be    important lessons for a united
the Polish input into the work of           Europe. The most important
cultural integration? I Polish culture,     characteristic of Polish literature
in which the memory of a “Republic          and art during the second half
of Many Nations” is still alive,            of the 20th century was a citizens’
is a “borderland culture”                   rebellion, an attempt to hold
which appeared in the very heart            on to dignity in undignified times,
of Europe. It joins the traditions          a defence of spiritual independence
of East and West – the mysticism            in spite of the limitations. Even today,
of Orthodoxy with classical Latin,          Polish artists are not afraid to pose
the living cult of the icon with            important questions and to refer
the Jewish Hasidic tradition, the           to fundamental values. Nor do
baroque mythology of the Sarmatians         they run away from discussions
with picturesque folk culture. In           on the social role of, and the necessity
Poland, at the crossroads of Europe,        for, art. Polish art constantly returns
there arose a specific weave of cultural    to the subject of freedom, wanting
traditions which artists and writers        to mean something and having
continually refer to. I The contribution    a sense of mission – possibly it is this
of Polish artists to the evolution of art   which makes it particularly attractive,
is unquestioned, with generally             this belief and zeal which can cause
accepted “Polish schools” of film,          jealousy within a Western
poster art and poetry. Here we will         contemporary culture suffering from
mention just a few chosen phenomena,        a post-modern “crisis of meaning”? Q
some as a reminder, because they
L I T E R A T U R E   | A meeting of poets from East and West: Czesław Miłosz and Jane Hirschfield   4
P
       olish literature has the convoluted,
       dramatic course of Polish
       history to thank for its variety
and individuality. From its beginnings –
the first literary texts in Polish date
back to the 13th century – till the end
                                                                  ” ”  literature


                                              Such a challenge could only be accepted
                                              by the greatest poets of the 19th
                                              century: Adam Mickiewicz, Juliusz
                                              Słowacki, Zygmunt Krasiński, and
                                              Cyprian Kamil Norwid.
                                              I Burdened by this patriotic duty,
of the 18th century, Polish literature,       literature would at several moments
the literature of a free country,             during Polish history either
experienced all the adventures                surrender to the pressure of the people
and revolutions of European literature,       or rebel. Between “duty”
giving birth to world-class poets like        and “rebellion” there stretches an area
Jan Kochanowski, Mikołaj Sęp Sarzyński        unusually rich in both ideas and
or Ignacy Krasicki, counted among             aesthetics, where Polish poetry, prose
Europe’s greatest creators                    and drama function to this day.
of the Renaissance, Baroque and               I Between universality
Enlightenment periods. I The close            and hermetism – this dilemma and
of the 18th century, when Poland              drama is illustrated by the fate and
disappeared from the map for over             European significance of the first Polish
120 years, was a moment which begat           Nobel Literature laureates.
an extraordinary situation, rich in           Henryk Sienkiewicz (1846–1916),
revitalising and at the same time lethal      the author of the extremely popular,
consequences for literature. For a nation     “spirit lifting” historical novels about
deprived of its statehood and all             Polish history (to this day the most
accompanying institutions, the writer         widely read books in the country),
became a spiritual and political leader,      gained world renown (and a Nobel
moral authority, lawmaker, and guide.         Prize) for Quo Vadis, a novel depicting
Literature was the keeper of the              the birth of Christianity, filmed many
national cultural identity.                   times since. Władysław Stanisław
Language was the only fatherland.             Reymont (1867–1925) was honoured for
This meant that in Polish literature          the The Peasants.
of the 19th century, the words of the         I Polish 20th-century literature,
poet gained the status of the highest         particularly since Poland regained its
good, law, truth, almost an epiphany.         independence after the First World War,
The poet became the national “bard            was characterised by a mutiny against
and prophet” and literature                   those “duties”. Witold Gombrowicz,
“the service and the mission”.                certainly the most admired
6




                          contemporary Polish writer known             and metaphysical with the historical.
                          worldwide, made this “Freedom from           I From a completely different
                          Polishness” the main theme of his            perspective – and in a different language
                          innovative works.                            – is this destiny described by the
                          I Such hitherto unknown qualities –          grotesque dramaturgy of Sławomir
                          ambiguous grotesque, philosophical           Mrożek. And further, in his own field
                          catastrophism – appear in the writings       of philosophical “science-fiction”,
                          of Bruno Schulz and Stanisław Ignacy         the work of Stanisław Lem, one of
                          Witkiewicz, whose dramatic oeuvre            the most important writers in this field
                          preceded the “theatre of the absurd”.        today. The picture is completed by the
                          I Polish literature during                   prose of Jerzy Andrzejewski, Jarosław
                          the Communist era developed on two           Iwaszkiewicz, Tadeusz Konwicki,
                          tracks. On the one hand, free from           Andrzej Szczypiorski, and Marek
                          the limitations of censorship and all        Hłasko, who have been translated into
                          kinds of “ideological service” was           many languages.
                          emigrée literature (Miłosz, Gombrowicz,      I After the fall of Communism in 1989,
                          Herling-Grudziński, Kołakowski); on the      new tendencies appear, or gain in
                          other was the literature created within      strength, in Polish literature. The most
    L I T E R A T U R E




                          the country, which had to find a way of      important and interesting of these are
                          existence and a language which would         the attempts to find spiritual roots or
                          allow it to speak more or less normally      regional identity within recent history
                          in spite of the restrictions. After 1976,    (the novels of Paweł Huelle, Stefan
                          the birth of the literary “second            Chwin, Antoni Libera), as well as
                          circulation”, illegal underground            attempts to introduce the language of
                          writings and publishers, in some sense       the mass media and the symbols and
                          “saved” Polish literature                    heroes of mass culture into literature.
                          and helped the historical changes            I Between tradition and
                          whose culminating point was 1989.            contemporaneity, between “duty”
                          I Paradoxically, the conditions              and “rebellion”, between
                          that made freedom of speech difficult,       metaphysics and history, a present-day
                          as well as the historical circumstances,     Polish literature is developing, a
                          helped the formation of the “Polish          literature “on the move”, aiming at
                          School of Poetry”. Its most characteristic   understanding and recording the truth
                          feature is the ability to speak              about the human adventure
                          of the fate of the individual caught in      in the world...
                          history, to link the existential
                                                                    literature   7




                  Zbigniew Herbert | The Envoy of Mr Cogito

Go where those others went to the dark boundary
for the golden fleece of nothingness your last prize

go upright among those who are on their knees
among those with their backs turned and those toppled in the dust

you were saved not in order to live
you have little time you must give testimony

be courageous when the mind deceives you be courageous
in the final account only this is important

and let your helpless Anger be like the sea
whenever your hear the voice of the insulted and beaten
(…)
beware of dryness of heart love the morning spring
the bird with an unknown name the winter oak
light on a wall the splendour of the sky
they don’t need your warm breath
they are there to say: no one will console you

be vigilant – when the light on the mountains gives the sign – arise and go
as long as blood turns in the breast your dark star

repeat old incantations of humanity fables and legends
because this is how you will attain the good you will not attain
repeat great words repeat them stubbornly
like those crossing the desert who perished in the sand

and they will reward you with what they have at hand
with the whip of laughter with murder on a garbage heap

go because only in this way you will be admitted to the company of cold
skulls
to the company of your ancestors: Gilgamesh Hector Roland
the defenders of the kingdom without limit and the city of ashes

Be faithful Go
                          [Translated by John Carpenter & Bogdan Carpenter]
8

                                                           I Theatre of the absurd             the actors perfectly lent
                                                           The world career of the plays       themselves to the
                                                           of S.I. Witkiewicz,                 transmission of the essential
                                                           “Witkacy”, (1885–1939)              elements of the Gombrowicz
                                                           began only during the               philosophy.
                                                           Fifties. Their structure,           The slogan “theatre of the
                                                           referring to the artificiality of   absurd” eased the
                          Sławomir Mrożek                  theatrical reality and a total      international start of
                                                           refusal to construct illusion,      Sławomir Mrożek’s (1930)
                          I Most often translated          had earlier led to accusations      dramas, from Tango,
                          Among the writers whose          of “incomprehensibility”, but       enthusiastically received by
                          works are most frequently        in the 1950s seemed close to        European audiences, to The
                          translated and published         the style of the then               Emigrants. Although it is
                          outwith the Polish borders       fashionable “theatre of the         true that the author himself
                          are: Stanisław Lem               absurd”. What is more, the          has underlined that more
                          (35 languages),                  huge sacrifice of the Second        absurd things happen in
                          Jerzy Andrzejewski (30),         World War and the division          reality (especially during the
                          Wisława Szymborska (38),         of Europe at its end seemed         Communist 1960s in Poland)
                          Tadeusz Różewicz (32),           to confirm Witkacy’s                than in his plays, the
                          Marek Hłasko (15),               catastrophic diagnoses: The         grotesque laughter appearing
                          Ryszard Kapuściński (31),        old world order had been            in his work was an answer
                          Czesław Miłosz (35),             replaced by a dictatorship of       to the twisting of the modern
                          Sławomir Mrożek (27),            the stupefied masses, and           world and the collapse of
                          Karol Wojtyła – Pope John        the revolution had brought          norms and values.
                          Paul II – (28), Zbigniew         no freedom even for its             I Another Polish playwright
                          Herbert (32).                    originators. Witkacy                whose works are often
    L I T E R A T U R E




                                                           “domesticated” the threat of        performed around the world
                          I Polish Nobel Laureates         these predictions with black        is Janusz Głowacki (1938),
                          Four times, Polish authors       humour, both in his novels          who borrowed from his
                          have received the Nobel          (A Farewell to Autumn) and          predecessors a tendency
                          Prize for Literature: Henryk     in his works for the stage,         towards the creation of
                          Sienkiewicz (1905) for his       with The Shoemakers at the          humorous situations
                          extraordinary achievements       head. The dramatic works of         depicting very serious
                          in the field of epic prose and   Witold Gombrowicz                   themes and marked by an
                          a “rare genius who               (1904–1969) were also               ironic distance towards his
                          concentrates in himself the      pigeonholed in the same             heroes. Beginning with
                          spirit of the nation”;           way, which, from the pre-war        Antigone in New York, he
                          Władysław Reymont (1924)         Princess Ivona, through             has used literary allusion,
                          for the astonishing national     The Marriage up until one of        creating new contexts for
                          epic, the novel The Peasants,    his final works, Operetta,          characters originating from
                          Czesław Miłosz (1980) for        transferred his themes from         the world’s most important
                          his whole oeuvre and finally     his books to the theatre. The       theatrical works (Fortinbras
                          Wisława Szymborska for her       stage situations and direct         Gets Drunk,
                          poetry (1996).                   “physical” relations between        The Fourth Sister).
                                                                                        literature        9




Czesław Miłosz                        Wisława Szymborska

So Little                             A cat in an empty flat
                                      To die – you cannot do this to a cat
I said so little.                     For what can a cat do
Days were short.                      in an empty flat.
                                      Climb up the walls.
                                      Rub against furniture.
Short days.                           Apparently nothing has changed around here
Short nights.                         and yet everything is completely changed.
Short years.                          Apparently not moved
                                      And yet moved away.
                                      And the lamp is not lit in the evening.
I said so little.
I couldn’t keep up.                   Footsteps can be heard on the stairs,
                                      But they are not the same footsteps.
                                      The hand which puts a piece of fish in the bowl
My heart grew weary                   is also not the one which once did.
From joy,
                                      Something does not start here
Despair,
                                      at the usual time.
Ardour,                               Something here does not happen
Hope.                                 as it should.
                                      Someone was here again and again
                                      and then suddenly disappeared
The jaws of Leviathan                 and is stubbornly absent now.
Were closing upon me.
Naked, I lay on the shores            Each closet has been looked into
                                      Each shelf run across.
Of desert islands.                    The space under the carpet has been checked, having squeezed in
                                      And even the ban to tear up paper
The white whale of the world          has been breached.
Hauled me down to its pit.            What else is there to do.
                                      To sleep and wait.
And now I don’t know
                                      If only he comes back
What in all that was real.
                                      If only he shows up.
                                      He will surely find out,
                   [Translated by     that he cannot do it to a cat.
                  Czesław Miłosz      The cat will just walk up
                                      as if he did not want to,
                and Lillian Vallee]   very slowly
                                      on very offended paws.
                                      And no jumps or yowls to begin with.

                                                                  [Translated by Wojciech Graniczewski]
10

                           I The Polish School of Poetry
                           The name “Polish School of Poetry”, actually invented outside Poland,
                           usually characterises the work of a group of renowned contemporary poets.
                           However, it is not a typical literary term in that it does not relate to a “poetic
                           group” or “direction”. Furthermore, if one examines the biographies and
                           achievements of the figures gathered together in this “group”, the differences
                           are more readily apparent than the similarities.

                           Czesław Miłosz (1911–2004) – witness to the 20th century, has experienced
                              the bitter fate of the emigrant and was honoured with many awards,
                              culminating in the Nobel Prize in 1980; he also achieved success as an
                              essayist, novelist, and translator; in his poetic works, of different types
                              and subjects, he achieves a “perfect simplicity”.
                           Tadeusz Różewicz (1921) – representative of the “war generation”,
                              reconstructing a world of values and questioning them once again; from
                              his poetry comes the name of an innovative poetic system (the so-called
                              fourth or Różewicz system); a playwright (The Card Index, Spaghetti
                              and the Sword) breaking theatre and all its set conventions apart;
                              prose author.
                           Julia Hartwig (1921) – poet, translator, essayist, author of children’s books
                              and a monograph on Apollinaire; an unclassifiable personality and
                              oeuvre, in her book Flashes (2002), she achieved an autonomous form in
                              poetic “notes”.
                           Zbigniew Herbert (1924–1998) – The Socrates of poetry, able to construct
                              aesthetic reflection from any situation, whether taken from everyday life
                              or from mythology; essayist and playwright; Mr. Cogito, inconspicuous
     L I T E R A T U R E




                              hero of his verse, became an archetypal character, possibly the only one
                              created in the literature of the second half of the twentieth century.
                           Wisława Szymborska (1923) – Poetry shared out modestly, like priceless
                              medicine, always surprising – like the famous repeated bow during the
                              Nobel Prize ceremony in 1996, showing her ironic approach towards the
                              scientific-sounding justification for the awarding of the prize, “for poetry
                              that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to
                              come to light in fragments of human reality”
                           Adam Zagajewski (1945) – from youthful rebellion to pure beauty, the
                              conscious choice of a separate way of his own made at the most difficult
                              historical moment, when it seemed that Solidarity and Solitude might be
                              the title of a collection of essays and not, as it turned out, the evidence of
                              a decision taken, determining his life and literary work.

                           So, what links such differing poetic voices? The ability to speak about the
                           fundamentals: the existential, ethical, metaphysical and religious experiences
                           and choices of humanity, the depth and intelligence of the reflection, the
                           balance of themes, and the variety and richness of the artistic methods.
                                                                           literature   11




Tadeusz Różewicz                             Adam Zagajewski

Who is a poet                                A Letter to the Reader

A poet is the one who writes poems           There is too much about death,
and the one who does not write poems         about shadows.
                                             Write about life,
a poet is the one who bursts one’s fetters   about an ordinary day,
and the one who puts them on                 about the yearning for order.
a poet is the one who has faith              (...)
and the one who cannot have it               Look,
                                             the nations crammed
a poet is the one who has lied               in tight stadiums
and the one who has heard lies               sing anthems of hate.
a poet is the one who has lips               There is too much music
and the one who swallows the truth           and too little harmony, peace
                                             and reason.
the one who has fallen
and the one who is raising                   Write about those moments
                                             when the gangways of friendship
a poet is the one who leaves                 become more lasting
and the one who cannot leave                 then despair.

   (Translated by Wojciech Graniczewski)     Write about love,
                                             about long evenings,
                                             about the morning,
                                             about the trees,
                                             about the infinite patience
                                             of light.

                                                (Translated by Wojciech Graniczewski)
12




                           I Giedroyc and Turowicz            chief of Cracow’s “General
                           Political conditions directly      Weekly” with the modest
                           influenced the activity of the     subtitle, “a Catholic socio-
                           censor (Central Office for the     cultural journal”. They both
                           Control of Publications and        linked common sense with a
                           Performances), liquidated in       refusal to compromise on
                           1990. The half-century-long        morals, unbelievable diligence
                           system of interference in texts    with professionalism of the
                           and even the banning of the        highest order, consistency
                           mention of some authors’           with an openness to
                           names was intended to make         unpopular views. Almost
                           all forms of public activity       every significant character
                           subservient to the authorities.    on the Polish cultural stage
                           Opposition to this threat of a     collaborated with one
     L I T E R A T U R E




                           permanent break between            or the other (and most
                           author and reader required         frequently with both).
                           hard and relatively ineffective    Their achievements were
                           work. The embodiment and           not limited to their enormous
                           symbol of this work are two        input into the changes in the
                           living institutions.               political system, which they
                           I In my understanding,             survived to see through, but
                           the role of editor is not merely   also their influence on the
                           to recognise talent, it is above   way tradition is looked upon
                           all a parental role. This          and their attempts to define
                           statement by Jerzy Giedroyc        the human situation in the
                           (1906–2000), the founder and       contemporary world. The
                           editor-in-chief of the monthly     death of both legendary
                           magazine “Culture”,                editors closed the era of
                           published by the Literary          “responsible care”, supporting
                           Institute in Paris, also           people and various
                           applies to Jerzy Turowicz          phenomena from all walks
                           (1912–1999), the editor-in-        of culture.
                                                                       literature
                                                                                                                                                                                       13




                                                                                                                                    (Cinnamon Shops); Museum of Literature, Warsaw
                               also known as the




                                                                                                                                    c. 1933; illustration for the short story Nemrod
                                                                                         Bruno Schulz: A Boy and Dog in a Window,
                               philosophy of meeting,
                               expounded in the works
                               The Philosophy
                               of Drama and
                               The Controversy over
                               the Existence of Man.
                               In 1980, he approached
                               “Solidarity”, creating an
                               axiological basis for its
                               activities. He took part
                               in union meetings,
I Tischner’s Philosophy        became its chaplain,         I Bruno Schulz
Philosophy has always          and presented his views      He spent almost
accompanied the changes        in the press and in          all his life in provincial
occurring in literature,       numerous sermons given       Drohobycz (near Lvov),
sometimes taking the           throughout the country.      when, in 1942, he was
form of artistic               The fruit of this activity   murdered by the Gestapo.
expression. Such               is the oft-translated        He published only two
a fusion of different fields   The Ethics of Solidarity.    collections of tales:
became frequent during         After 1989, Tischner’s       Cinnamon Shops (1934)
the Twentieth century,         publications attempted to    and Sanatorium under
when the philosophical         intensify the social         the Sign of the Hourglass
essay gained in popularity     changes, to bring to         (1937), written in
and a growing number of        consciousness the            strongly metaphorical
respected professors           changes which the            prose and illustrated
considered it necessary to     totalitarian system had      with equally mysterious
make contact with              caused in everyone who       graphics, filled with
“ordinary people” by           had come under its           religious and erotic
means of the popular           influence, and to defeat     symbolism. His
press. Such activity was       its remaining proponents,    exceptional writing of the
undertaken by Fr. Józef        known as homo                “internal myth” was
Tischner (1931–2000), the      sovieticus.                  interrupted by the war.
prematurely deceased
student of the famous
                                                                                               Bruno Schulz: Dedication, from the cycle




phenomenologist Roman
Ingarden. With his critical
                                                                                               Museum of Literature, Warsaw
                                                                                               The Book of Idolatry, c. 1922;




view of Christian
fundamentalism, he was
drawn into an argument
with Thomist philosophy
during the 1970s. Later,
he worked out his own
philosophy of dialogue,
14

                       I The Polish School of Reportage
                       Reportage as a self-sufficient phenomenon only arose in the
                       20th century and, in Polish writing, it was treated as one of
                       the more interesting "border species" of literature as early as
                       the interwar period. A relationship with the diaries, stories
                       and chronicles popular in the 19th century, enabled its
                       almost immediate escape from the confines of documentary
                       description of reality. A concentration on the fates of
                       authentic characters, joined with attempts at generalisation,
                       turned out to be the narrative technique which would allow         I Solaris in Hollywood
                       a literary diagnosis of the 20th century’s tragic events,          The work of Stanisław Lem
                       totalitarianism, war, and the Holocaust.                           (1921–2006) is essential
                       The development of the "Polish school of reportage" was            reading for fans of science
                       connected with the events of the Second World War.                 fiction. By education a
                       However, the works of K. Pruszyński or M. Wańkowicz                doctor and scientific
                       clearly pointed in the direction of fictional prose. A different   theorist, perfectly at home
                       method was chosen by Zofia Nałkowska in Medallions, an             with the theories of
                       ascetic recollection of the Holocaust, and Tadeusz                 evolution, mathematics,
                       Borowski, whose tales which took place in an                       cybernetics, astronomy and
                       extermination camp, at first categorised as factual literature,    physics, he became a
                       accused the world of treating humans as goods. Gustaw              universal “seeker after
                       Herling-Grudziński used his experiences in the Soviet              wisdom”, philosopher and
                       camps to pose once again questions about the ethical and           explorer of the trails which
                       religious fundamentals. The deepness of A World Apart              the development of science
                       means that the opinion of Bertrand Russell, who counted            and technology lay befory
                       this book among the "bravest and best which have                   humanity. He wrote
     L I T E R A T U R E




                       appeared during the twentieth century" is still current.           tens of science-fiction
                       Real events, from the sacrifice of Father Maximilian Kolbe         novels, tales and dramas,
                       in Auschwitz to the crimes of the Manson gang in Roman             translated into tens of
                       Polański’s California villa, are employed by Jan Józef             languages, which
                       Szczepański in the works of his book Before an Unknown             entered the canon of great
                       Tribunal in order to make them the subject of a reflection         20th-century science fiction
                       on morality. The Holocaust is always present in the fates          (Solaris, Fairytales for
                       of characters described by Hanna Krall (To Steal A March           Robots, The Star Diaries,
                       on God, Dancing at Someone Else’s Wedding,                         His Master’s Voice). The
                       The Subtenant), but her books are more than a memoir,              plots of his novels and
                       they are an attempt to understand the modern world.                tales are occasionally
                       A similar role is played by the exotic countries in the            serious but more often
                       works of Ryszard Kapuściński (The Emperor, Shah of                 grotesquely funny,
                       Shahs, Empire). Events distant in time, foreign customs,           containing stylisation
                       political revolt – all serve to interpret human existence          and plays on literary
                       and make sense of the ever more violent changes in                 conventions, and always
                       reality. Such a perspective is probably the main reason            rich in philosophical
                       for the worldwide popularity of these authors.                     subtexts.
                                                                                                                                   literature           15

                                                          Lem’s most popular novel,      Special Jury Award at         I The Magic of Place
                                                          Solaris (1961), has been       the Cannes Film Festival,     The magic of place. Is there
                                                          filmed twice: in 1972,         however, gaining the title    such a thing, and is it this
                                                          by the legendary Soviet        of “the most intelligent      which has meant that the
                                                          director Andriej Tarkovsky.    and penetrating film in the   most famous prose debuts
                                                          The transfer of Lem’s          history of science-fiction    of recent years have created
                                                          grand vision to the screen     cinema”. In 2002, Solaris     lively interest in many
                                                          turned out to be a             was filmed by the duet        countries? Stefan Chwin’s
                                                          particularly difficult task.   of Soderbergh and             (1949) Hanemann,
                                                          The Communist authorities      Cameron at Twentieth          published in 1995, is
                                                          demanded reams of              Century Fox studios. After    connected with Gdańsk,
                                                          changes from Tarkovsky,        watching both versions,       as are the earlier Who was
                                                          changes which destroyed        there can be only one         David Weiser? by Paweł
                                                          Lem’s original vision.         conclusion, better            Huelle (1957), published in
                                                          The picture received the       to reach for the book...      1987, and Günter Grass’
                                                                                                                       Tin Drum. It is not
                                                                                                                       necessary to strip these
                                                                                                                       books of their real aura of
                                                                                                                       mystery to discover that it
                                                                                                                       is possible to rationalise the
                                                                                                                       source of the magic: it is
                                                                                                                       the real return to a difficult
                                                                                                                       past, created by people of
                                                                                                                       different nationalities,
                                                                                                                       cultures, religions and
                                                                                                                       languages, living alongside
                                                                                                                       each other at one time.
                                                                                                                       Such magic also comes
                                                                                                                       from other places, like
                                                                                                                       Vienna, Warsaw or Cracow,
                                                                                                                       described in Joanna
                                                                                                                       Olczak-Ronikier’s family
| One of Daniel Mroz's illustrations for S. Lem’s tales




                                                                                                                       saga In the Garden of
                                                                                                                       Memory. A large
                                                                                                                       readership, a Nike award
                                                                                                                       (Poland’s most prestigious
                                                                                                                       literary award) in 2002,
                                                                                                                       and translation options
                                                                                                                       into 3 languages – all this
                                                                                                                       confirms the triumph of
                                                                                                                       literature opposing
                                                                                                                       destruction, extermination,
                                                                                                                       the cruelty of history, and
                                                                                                                       forgetting, and not place.
T H E A T R E   | Dea Loher Clara’s Relations, dir. Paweł Miśkiewicz; Polish Theatre in Wrocław   16
A
        longside the many types and
        variants of dramatic theatre
        whose basis is literature, there are
in Poland forms for which the most
important means of expression are not
words, e.g. art theatre, musical theatre,
                                                                    ” ”    theatre


                                               still above all a theatre of directors,
                                               who decide on the form of the
                                               performance and the appearance of
                                               individual scenes. In this group, the
                                               most representative is the National
                                               Theatre in Warsaw. The core of its
theatre of movement). Ever greater             repertoire consists of the most cherished
popularity is being gained by theatres         Polish and foreign dramas, with which
employing puppets, figures, or shadows;        directors conduct their individual
there is even a theatre of drawing as          dialogues, asking these classic pieces
well as a theatre of fire and paper.           the questions tormenting modern-day
Alongside the established institutions         Poles. Within this search, the National
possessing centuries-old traditions and        Theatre frequently attempts very
teams of seasoned professionals, there         courageous experiments, which means
are amateur theatres and travelling            that its stage, although a showcase, is
groups with little finance or equipment        not at all academic. Most characteristic
springing up all over the country.             are the productions of Jerzy
I This variety and authentic                   Grzegorzewski (Theatre director
commitment by so many people                   between 1997–2002), who, employing
provides the best evidence that theatre is     complicated stage equipment
still a lively and inspirational experience    (metaphoric scenographic elements such
in Poland. Further proof may be seen in        as pantographs, huge musical
the degree of audience interest,               instruments, or symbolic props) and
particularly among the young, seeking          creating his own montage of classic
“their own” theatres and creating a            texts, testing their value, searching for
unique atmosphere around them. It may          their relevance to the here and now.
be seen in the expansion of festival life      I Somewhat more conservative is the
and respected theatre magazines, e.g.          second Poland theatre with national
“Dialog”, which has, for years,                status, and at the same time the only one
presented the latest achievements in           in Poland belonging to the Union of
world dramaturgy. I In common with             European Theatres – the National Old
other European countries, the most             Theatre in Cracow. This theatre, which
widespread form in Poland is dramatic          shone in the Seventies thanks to the well-
theatre, based on the existence of             regarded and world-famous productions of
relatively stable artistic groups. In spite    Konrad Swinarski, Jerzy Jarocki and
of the changes in recent years, this is        Andrzej Wajda, is attempting to continue
18          | W. Shakespeare A Midnight Summer’s Dream, dir. Jerzy Grzegorzewski; National Theatre in Warsaw
     T H E A T R E




                                                                                                               these traditions, seeking worthy successors   and, recently, M. Bulgakov’s The Master
                                                                                                               to these masters.                             and Margarita). Lupa shatters the
                                                                                                               I The Old Theatre’s most important            traditional action of the performances,
                                                                                                               current collaborator is Krystian Lupa. For    stretching their tempos and concentrating
                                                                                                               years, he has been consistently producing     on the poetic values of particular situations
                                                                                                               the dramas and prose of German language       rather than the plot or conflict. This is a
                                                                                                               writers (T. Bernhardt, R.M. Rilke,            theatre of philosophical and existential
                                                                                                               R. Musil), not even hesitating before         reflection in whose centre is situated the
                                                                                                               transferring Broch’s novel The Sleepwalkers   modern human being, attempting to find
                                                                                                               to the stage. Russian literature also lies    a place in an ever more dehumanised
                                                                                                               within his sphere of interest (productions    world. For several seasons now, Lupa’s
                                                                                                               of Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov       productions have been regularly shown in
                                                                                                              theatre   19




                                                                            | Jerzy Radziwiłowicz and Jerzy
                                                                            Trela – Old Theatre in Cracow
                                             I
                                             The great strength of Polish dramatic
                                             theatre is the high quality of its actors. The
                                             tradition of the great 19th-century actors,
                                             with Helena Modrzejewska, the “star of
                                             two continents”, at the forefront, has been
                                             continued by successive generations of
                                             excellent artists. The greatest actor of the
                                             second half of the twentieth century is
                                             generally considered to be Tadeusz
                                             Łomnicki, who passed away in 1992 as a
                                             result of a heart attack during rehearsals for
                                             King Lear. Due to the fact that there is no
                                             strict division in Poland between theatre
                                             and film actors, many stage artistes are
                                             known to viewers the world over, for
                                             instance from the films of Andrzej Wajda
                                             (e.g. Wojciech Pszoniak, Daniel Olbrychski,
                                             Krystyna Janda, Jerzy Radziwiłowicz) or
                                             Krzysztof Kieślowski (Jerzy Stuhr, Janusz
                                             Gajos). At present, the Polish theatre actor
                                             best-known in Europe is Andrzej Seweryn,
                                             who in the years 1984–1988 was a
                                             member of the international group formed
Paris, where they have been received with    by Peter Brook to work on the staging of
great admiration by critics and audiences.   the Mahabharata, and since 1993 has been
I During the second half of the Nineties,    linked with the Comédie Française.
a new generation of young directors
appeared in Polish dramatic theatre, who
have attempted to create productions         in this movement is Warsaw’s Theatre of
relevant to the experience and problems of   Curiosities, known as “the fastest theatre
a thirty-something generation brought up     in town”. Among its collaborating
surrounded by mass culture, habituated to    directors, Krzysztof Warlikowski and
a fast-moving lifestyle, but at the same     Grzegorz Jarzyna stand out. Warlikowski
time ever more lost in the world of          has gained international recognition with
consumer capitalism. The leading theatre     a series of innovative productions of
20
           | Sarah Kane Cleansed, dir. Krzysztof Warlikowski; Theatre of Curiosities in Warsaw
     T H E A T R E




                                                                                                 Shakespeare, performed both at Polish        Unidentified Human Remains...) and
                                                                                                 theatres (The Taming of the Shrew,           classic European novels (Dostoyevsky’s
                                                                                                 Hamlet) and abroad (Pericles at the          The Idiot, Mann’s Doktor Faustus, directed
                                                                                                 Piccolo Teatro in Milan, Twelfth Night and   at the Hebbel Theater in Berlin). Recently,
                                                                                                 The Tempest at the Stadt-Theater in          both directors have taken an interest in
                                                                                                 Stuttgart). Looking for a way to present     the work of Sarah Kane, mounting
                                                                                                 the complex existential situation of         startling productions: Cleansed
                                                                                                 contemporary humanity, Jarzyna reaches       (Warlikowski) and Psychosis 4.48
                                                                                                 both for contemporary drama                  (Jarzyna). I The theatrical map of
                                                                                                 (Witkiewicz’s Tropical Madness,              Poland, on which for many years the most
                                                                                                 Gombrowicz’s Princess Ivona, or Frazer’s     important points were Warsaw and
                                                                                  theatre         21




                                                 surprises of recent seasons has been the
                                                 blossoming of theatre in Legnica, a town
                                                 which, until recent times, was the main
                                                 Soviet military base in Poland, where the
                                                 Theatre Manager, Jacek Głomb, was
                                                 actively searching for new ways to reach
                                                 the town’s inhabitants. So, he began
                                                 putting on shows relating events in the
                                                 lives of the local citizens, as well as siting
                                                 classical dramas in surprising arenas (e.g.
                                                 Shakespeare’s Coriolanus in an old
                                                 Prussian barracks). I There is no doubt
                                                 that the greatest achievements of
                                                 20th-century Polish theatre are thanks to
                                                 those artists seeking new forms and
                                                 functions for the theatrical arts. From the
                                                 very beginning of the great European
                                                 reform movement, Polish theatre people
                                                 have undertaken courageous experiments
                                                 in this area. The Polish stream of reform
                                                 was characterised by the linking of theatre
                                                 with metaphysics. The source of this type
                                                 of search was the work and thinking of
                                                 the Polish Romantics, with Adam
                                                 Mickiewicz at the forefront. In his
Cracow, has undergone numerous changes           Forefathers’ Eve, the most important work
over the last decade. While it is true to        in Polish literature, there is a vision of
say that the capital’s position is safe, there   theatre as phenomenon on the border
is strong competition for second place           between a show and a ceremony led by
between Cracow and Wrocław. Recognised           an actor. In succeeding years, the most
masters (Jerzy Jarocki, Krystian Lupa) and       important artists of the Polish stage
a group of younger directors, with Piotr         referred to, and sometimes polemicized
Cieplak and Paweł Miśkiewicz at the              with, this vision, developing or modifying
head, collaborate with Wrocław’s theatres.       it. I It was from this root that Stanisław
Poznań, Gdańsk and Łódź have similar             Wyspiański’s art arose. Poet, painter,
ambitions. One of the more unanticipated         visionary, working at the beginning of the
22




                                                                                                    needs of the theatre), Kantor created
                                                                                                    his own model, called the Theatre of
                                                                                                    Death. In his most famous
                                                                                                    productions – The Dead Class,
                                                                                                    Wielopole, Wielopole or I Shall Never
         | Tadeusz Kantor Let the Artists Vanish




                                                                                                    Return Here – the artist presented a
                                                                                                    kind of spiritualist séance, calling
                                                                                                    pictures, words and sounds deformed
                                                                                                    by the passing of time. Referring to his
                                                                                                    memories and experiences, he
                                                                                                    portrayed a collective memory of the
                                                                                                    end of the tragic twentieth century –
                                                                                                    the century of the Holocaust.
                                                                                                    I A totally different, though arising
                                                                                                    from the same roots, attempt to renew
                                                   twentieth century he influenced the          theatre was undertaken by Jerzy
                                                   development of theatre over the course of    Grotowski. Aiming for the creation of a
                                                   the following century. His works, born of    performance as a selfless act of sacrifice,
                                                   Romantic and symbolic inspiration,           he carried out the second great reform,
                                                   conjoining Catholic, pagan, and classic      after Konstanty Stanisławski’s, of the
     T H E A T R E




                                                   traditions with the existential and          actor’s art, and his book Towards a Poor
                                                   political problems of the new century, has   Theatre is still one of the most important
                                                   not been completely discovered and           textbooks in drama schools the world over.
                                                   understood to this day, forming a vivid      The productions put on by Grotowski’s
                                                   and fascinating heritage. It was this        Theatre Laboratory, such as Acropolis
                                                   tradition that the originators of Polish     (Wyspiański’s drama, re-set in a
                                                   monumental theatre, Leon Schiller            concentration camp), The Constant Prince
                                                   (Edward Gordon Craig’s collaborator),        (after Calderon-Słowacki) or Apocalypsis
                                                   Juliusz Osterwa and Wilam Horzyca,           cum figuris, are among twentieth-century
                                                   harked back. Tadeusz Kantor, the avant-      world theatre’s most important
                                                   garde visual artist who became interested    achievements, still points of reference for
                                                   in theatre while trying to find new forms    many artists. Among others, Peter Brook,
                                                   of expression, also alluded to it in his     Eugenio Barba, Richard Schechner and
                                                   theatrical searches. After years of          André Gregory have derived inspiration
                                                   investigation (attempts to adapt the rules   from Grotowski’s work. Over the last
                                                   of Tachism and performance art to the        decade of his life, Grotowski had been
                                                                                theatre       23




investigating the possibility of creating a   I
dramatic structure whose effect would be      Tadeusz Kantor (1915–1990) was once
similar to that of a religious ceremony.      named “the most worldly of Polish artists
After his death (1999), the work was          and the most Polish world artist”. It was
continued by his students, Thomas             theatre which brought him fame, but
Richards and Mario Biagini, leading the       on stage he remained a painter who thought
Workcenter, founded by Grotowski in           in pictures and spread actors, puppets and
Ponteder in Italy. I Grotowski’s work has     props around the stage like paint on canvas.
also influenced many Polish theatre           His unusual “Theatre of Death” was based
artistes. Włodzimierz Staniewski, who,        on an artistic illustration of the mechanisms
after many years of close collaboration       of memory: sequences of unreal pictures,
with Grotowski, finally rebelled, founded     fragments of memories, comic crumbs from
the “Gardzienice” Centre for Theatrical       the past. In his productions, Kantor created
Practice in 1977 in a small village near       a suggestive space in which the living and
Lublin. Today, 25 years later, this centre    the dead were mixed; personal biography
is world famous and Staniewski’s method       became entangled with history, and national
of acting, known as “the ecology of           myth and private obsession continually
theatre”, has been numbered among the         echoed. Thanks to his subjection of symbols
most important of the twentieth century.      and emotions to the iron discipline of form,
The most characteristic aspect of             the productions of Kantor’s Cricot 2 Theatre
“Gardzienice” is its treatment of theatre     aroused passions around the globe.
as one of many various cultural
activities, including expeditions to areas
inhabited by people holding onto folk         Metamorphoses (performed in Germany,
traditions (e.g. the Eastern parts of         the USA, the United Kingdom and Spain,
Poland, Lemko villages or the Ukrainian       among other countries) he brought into
Hucul region), and a strong link between      being, with “Gardzienice”, a production
art and the environment from which it         of Eurypides’ Elektra, blazing new trails
arises. The productions themselves,           in his theatrical search. I From the ranks
unusually intense and filled with music,      of Włodzimierz Staniewski’s group have
movement and dramatic singing – recalls       come the founders of many active and
the fundamental myths of East and West.       uncommonly interesting centres, and not
For several years, Staniewski has been        just connected with theatre. In Sejny,
particularly interested in Ancient Greece     there is the “Borderland” Foundation,
as a source of European culture and           created by Krzysztof Czyżewski, a one-
spirituality. After Apuleius’                 time Gardzienice collaborator. One of
24
            | G. Verdi Othello, dir. Mariusz Treliński; National Opera in Warsaw
     T H E A T R E




                                                                                   “Borderland’s” forms of work is theatre       multiethnic traditions of the ancient
                                                                                   (e.g. a production of Szymon Anski’s          music from the Eastern Borders for years.
                                                                                   Dybbuk), and its aim is to raise the          I During the Sixties and Seventies, at the
                                                                                   consciousness of the inhabitants of the       same time as Grotowski’s work, the
                                                                                   borderlands regarding the unique              movement of social and politically-
                                                                                   richness of their cultural tradition, which   engaged theatre was also developing in
                                                                                   has for centuries linked Polish, Jewish,      Poland. At first, it was, above all, a
                                                                                   Belarussian, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, and       rebellious student theatre, later, during
                                                                                   even Tartar influences. I In common           the period of martial law, the movement
                                                                                   with Czyżewski, the founder of the            also accepted professionals, who
                                                                                   “Music of the Eastern Lands”                  organised productions for the
                                                                                   Foundation, Jan Bernad, also came from        underground Home Theatre. One specific
                                                                                   Gardzienice, and has devoted himself to       form of political rebellion through theatre
                                                                                   gathering and reconstructing the rich         was promoted by Wrocław’s Orange
                                                                                                    theatre      25




                                         Travel Agency Theatre
                    | Carmen Funebre ;



Alternative, an informal group which                             I
organised mass events poking fun at the                          International festivals are a particular
symbols and ceremonies of officialdom.                           element of Polish theatre life, occasions to
After the regaining of sovereignty in 1989,                      allow the artistic achievements of East and
this movement weakened, but recently it                          West to confront each other. To this end,
has been reborn as an anticapitalist and                         there are such festivals as “Contact”, taking
antiwar movement. The most important                             place annually in Toruń, and “Dialogue”,
centre for this kind of activity is Poznań,                      organised biannually in autumn in Wrocław,
where, alongside the once famous and                             in turn with Cracow’s “Dedications”
still active Theatre of the Eighth Day (the                      (October) and Warsaw’s “Meetings”
antiglobalist production Summit), the                            (November). Aside from these, the most
Travel Agency theatre operates. One of its                       interesting events are “Theatrical
most important achievements is the open-                         Confrontations” in Lublin (October), the
air production Carmen Funebre, created                           open-air “Malta” festival in Poznań (June),
under the influence of events in the                             Cracow’s “Ballet in Spring” and the Puppet
former Yugoslavia and shown all over the                         Theatre Biennial in Bielsko-Biała.
world. I Another developing stream of
theatre in Poland is so-called art theatre,
using pictures above all, and almost                             and Replica, which directly relates to his
completely avoiding the spoken word. Its                         traumatic wartime experiences.
originator is considered to be Józef Szajna                      I Currently, the leading representative of
(1922), an artist whose collaboration with                       art theatre is Leszek Mądzik, the founder
theatre began with scenography, went on                          of the Art Theatre at the Catholic
to direction, and, since the Seventies, the                      University of Lublin. He has, for many
creation of theatrical productions                               years, put on productions that are a kind
employing striking pictures referring to                         of theatrical meditation, touching on
expressionist and surrealist aesthetics. The                     existential and religious topics. I Close to
unique form of Szajna’s theatre arose both                       this stream are the strongly theatrical
from his artistic and personal experiences                       happenings of Jerzy Kalina as well as the
(during WWII he was a concentration                              theatrical activities of Warsaw’s Theatre
camp prisoner). They were based on a                             of Movement. Speaking of the borderline
vision of a deformed world in which                              between art and theatre, it is also worth
battles are fought over the basic human                          recalling that there are still active
values, which are constantly under threat.                       performance artists in Poland. Polish
Szajna’s most famous productions, also                           experimental theatre has been counted
performed abroad, are Dante, Cervantes                           among the most interesting in Europe,
26
           | A. Mickiewicz Forefather’s Eve, dir. Konrad Swinarski; Old Theatre in Cracow
     T H E A T R E




                                                                                            evidence of which are the regular prestige      ever more highly. The most important
                                                                                            Fringe First awards from the Edinburgh          among this group has, for years, been
                                                                                            Festival. In recent years, for example, the     Ryszard Peryt, collaborating with the
                                                                                            Travel Agency, Wierszalin, Kana and             Warsaw Chamber Opera (organising the
                                                                                            Provisorium theatres have been recognised       annual Mozart Festival, among others) and
                                                                                            in this way. I During recent years in Poland,   the National Opera. His speciality is the
                                                                                            there has been a boom in musical theatre.       production of oratorios, among which the
                                                                                            Alongside the world-famous composers and        theatre version of Verdi’s Requiem, which
                                                                                            singers, Polish directors of opera are rated    has been performed in Moscow’s Red
                                                                                        theatre     27




                                                  One person who has links with
                                                  20th-century Polish theatre and is
                                                  world-famous was Pope John Paul II.
                                                  His interest in theatre dates back to his
                                                  secondary school years in Wadowice,
                                                  where the teenage Karol Wojtyła worked
                                                  in the school theatre. During the Second
                                                  World War, he co-founded, with his old
                                                  teacher Mieczysław Kotlarczyk, the
                                                  underground Rhapsodic Theatre, a group
                                                  cultivating the Romantic tradition of live
                                                  poetry. After the war, now as a priest, he
                                                  supported the group and was also its critic,
                                                  publishing reviews of its performances.
                                                  Within his literary work, John Paul II also had
                                                  a number of dramas, the best-known of
                                                  which are Our God’s Brother and The
                                                  Jeweller’s Shop. Books by Karol Wojtyła: Sign
                                                  of Contradiction, The Acting Person, Memory
                                                  and Identity, Gift and Mystery, Crossing the
                                                  Threshold of Hope.

                                                  whose best groups have for years been
                                                  linked with opera halls, contemporary
                                                  dance groups have been appearing since
                                                  the Sixties and Seventies. Among the most
Square, stands out. Recent seasons have           important are Poznań’s Polish Theatre of
been a period of great operatic success for       Dance, founded by Conrad Drzewiecki
the film director Mariusz Treliński, director     and currently led by, and Wrocław’s
of the National Opera, who has aroused the        “Pantomima”, founded by Henryk
interest of New York’s Metropolitan Opera.        Tomaszewski (1919–2001). Since the
Critical acclaim has also been enjoyed by         Nineties, both Bytom (Silesian Dance
the opera stagedesigns of Andrzej Majewski.       Theatre) and Cracow have become
I Growing popularity is also enjoyed by           important centres, hosting festivals which
dance theatre. In addition to classical ballet,   attract dancers from all over the world.
M U S I C   | Krzysztof Penderecki’s Requiem; a concert in St. Catherine’s church in Cracow, 1998   28
CLASSICAL
Polish classical music was shaped, in
large measure, by the Romantic tradition.
Its creator was Fryderyk Chopin (1810–
1849), many of whose works linked the
Romantic idiom with Polish folk music.
                                                                     ” ”       music


                                               were forced to write celebratory works.
                                               Some emigrated (Roman Palester, Andrzej
                                               Panufnik, Roman Maciejewski), while
                                               others, not wishing to buckle under to the
                                               system, alluded to folk music or the ideals
                                               of absolute music. Thanks to this, there
This tradition was continued by Stanisław      arose worthwhile works untainted by
Moniuszko (1819–1852), the composer of         political considerations (Lutosławski’s
national operas and numerous of songs.         Symphony No1, the works of Grażyna
The Chopin tradition has also entrenched       Bacewicz and Bolesław Szabelski). The
itself in Polish piano playing. Great piano    situation changed after 1956, alongside the
virtuosi, such as Józef Hoffmann, Artur        political “thaw”. Poles quickly found their
Rubinstein or Ignacy Jan Paderewski,           feet in the new artistic reality. Pieces
have played Chopin with particular             displaying intriguing enlargement on ideas
pleasure. I During the interwar period,        popular in Europe arose with unusual
international competitions were brought to     speed; among such were the works of
life, including one of the world’s oldest,     Tadeusz Baird and Kazimierz Serocki. In
the Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition       1956, these artists founded the “Warsaw
(a renowned violin virtuoso) in Poznań         Autumn” International Festival of
(since 1935), or the Fryderyk Chopin Piano     Contemporary Music, which still takes
Competition in Warsaw (since 1927), in         place annually and is one of the most
which Dmitri Shostakovich, Janusz              important festivals in Europe. I Equally
Olejniczak, Krystian Zimerman and Rafał        quickly appeared revolutionary aesthetic
Blechacz, among others, made their debut.      ideas related to sonorism, which is the
In the field of composition, the leading       technique of creating music based solely on
light of the period was Karol Szymanowski      sound colour. The pioneer of sonorism was
(1882–1937), the creator of emotional          Krzysztof Penderecki (1933), who pointed
music, often including folk colourings (e.g.   a completely new developmental direction
the ballet Harnasie), which has recently       in European contemporary music.
become popular in Europe thanks to the         Penderecki’s avant-gardism was shocking -
efforts of Sir Simon Rattle, famous for        he used, without scruple, sounds from
conducting the City of Birmingham              the interface between art and life – rustles,
Symphony Orchestra (including the              knocking, the wail of saws or the clatter
complete recordings for EMI). I After the      of typewriters (Fluorescence). Witold
Second World War, Polish composers,            Lutosławski (1913–1994), on the other
working under strong political pressure,       hand, concentrated on questions
30




                                                                                               | Henryk Mikołaj Górecki
                                            | Witold Lutosławski
                 of perfection of form and refinement              I
                 of sound. His music is multi-layered,             Henryk Mikołaj Górecki’s
                 internally rich and varied, displaying            Most Important Works
                 the discrete charm of constellations              1958 Epitafium for choir and instrumental
                 of sound, at the same time not without                 ensemble
                 dramatic interest (the 3rd and 4th                1959 Symphony No1 “1959” for string orchestra
                 Symphonies or Piano Concerto). I Wojciech              and percussion
                 Kilar (1932) also belonged to the peak of         1962 Genesis – Elementi per tre archi
                 the avant-garde, although today he is better      1971 Ad Matrem for soprano solo, choir,
                 known for his film music (see p.39);                   and orchestra
                 the composer of orchestral pieces such as:        1972 Symphony No2 “Copernican” for soprano,
                 Riff 62 (1962), Generique (1963) and                   baritone, choir and orchestra
                 Diphtongos (1964). Among the most                 1974 Amen for unaccompanied choir
                 popular of his works from that time is the        1976 Symphony No3 “Symphony of Sorrowful
                 symphonic poem Krzesany (1974),                        Songs” for soprano solo and orchestra
                 an expression of Kilar’s fascination with         1980 Mazurkas for piano
                 minimal music. This piece has led a fruitful      1982 Lullabies and Dances for violin and piano
                 life and is still very much enjoyed by both       1987 Totus Tuus for choir a cappella
                 performers and listeners. I The departure         1988 String Quartet No1 “Already it is Dusk”
                 from the avant-garde in order to get closer to    1991 String Quartet No2 “Quasi una fantasia”
                 the listener found its embodiment in the          1992 Concerto-Cantata for flute and orchestra
                 works of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki (1933).           1993 Come Holy Spirit for unaccompanied choir
                 Górecki, in his youth a self-styled supporter     2000 Salve Sidus Polonorum for large choir,
                 of non-compromise, gradually evolved into              2 pianos and percussions
                 a mystic, the best evidence of which is his
                 Symphony No3, composed in 1976. Some
                 years later, it finally achieved an improbable    broadcast sections of Gorecki’s piece round
                                                                   the clock. Listeners to the Symphony No3
     M U S I C




                 media career. This was caused by a release
                 by the American company Elektra Nonesuch          included classical music lovers as well as
                 with a recording of the Symphony performed        people who had no daily contact with such
                 by the American singer Dawn Upshaw                music, young people as well as long-
                 and the London Sinfonietta. The piece             distance truck drivers. Górecki, with his
                 reached the top of the American and British       simple and yet intense music, reached
                 charts and was the fifth most popular piece       everyone, revealing the world of primary
                 in Britain in 1993. The British radio station     emotions. I In the atmosphere of bringing
                 Classic FM, as a result of audience pressure,     the avant-garde to account, many
                                                                                                                        music               31




                                                                                               | Krzysztof Penderecki
                                                               I




                                                                                                                                CLASSICAL
                                                               Krzysztof Penderecki’s
                                                               Most Important Works
                                                               1958 Psalms of David for choir, stringed
                                                                     instruments and percussion
                                                               1959 Emanations for two string orchestras
                                                               1960 Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima
                                                                     for 52 stringed instruments
                                                               1962 Fluorescence for full symphony orchestra
                                                               1965 St. Luke’s Passion for solo voices,
                                                                     lector, four choirs and orchestra
                                                               1970 Cosmogony for solo voices,
                                                                     two choirs and orchestra
                                                               1971 Utrenja for solo voices, two choirs
                                                                     and orchestra
                                                               1974 Magnificat for solo bass, vocal group,
                                                                     three choirs and orchestra
                                                               1977 Concerto per violino ed orchestra No. 1
                                                               1978 Paradise Lost after John Milton
                                                               1986 Die schwarze Maske opera in one act
                                                               1980 Te Deum for solo voices, two choirs
                                                                     and orchestra
| Krzysztof Penderecki, Cosmogonia |an extract of the score|




                                                               1980 Symphony No2 “Christmas Eve”
                                                                     for symphony orchestra
                                                               1984 Polish Requiem for solo voices,
                                                                     two choirs and orchestra
                                                               1991 Ubu Rex opera buffa after A. Jarry
                                                               1992 Symphony No5 “Korea” for symphony
                                                                     orchestra
                                                               1996 The Seven Gates of Jerusalem for soloists,
                                                                     lector, three choirs and orchestra
                                                               1998 Credo for solo voices, choir and orchestra
                                                               2000 Concerto grosso for 3 cellos and orchestra
                                                               2003 Concerto “Résurrection” for piano and orchestra
                                                               2004 Concerto grosso for 5 clarinets and orchestra
                                                                      th
                                                               2005 8 Symphony “Lieder der Vergänglichkeit”
32




                                                                                             | Antoni Wit
                                                                  composers returned to forgotten, traditional
                 Curiosities                                      ideals. This is particularly apparent in the
                 I The world’s longest symphony is Bogusław       works of Paweł Szymański and Paweł
                 Schaeffer’s Symphony-Concerto, composed          Mykietyn. Their pieces are characterised by
                 in 1997 and lasting over two hours.              original relationships to the stylistics of
                 Schaeffer is also well known (particularly       Classicism, Romanticism, and even
                 among German-speakers) as a theoretician         the Baroque (Mykietyn’s Sonnets after
                 and historian of contemporary music and          Shakespeare), a long way from empty
                 as the author of avant-garde and very amusing    imitation. The basis of this aesthetic
                 plays (including Script for Three Actors).       approach is the attempt to discover new
                 I Polish pianists are sometimes gifted in        meaning in classical art in the context
                 unusual ways. Ignacy Jan Paderewski, having      of contemporary culture, which places both
                 already achieved fame as a musician, did not     composers in the camp of the musical
                 hesitate before accepting the top job in the     postmodernists. I This dialogue with
                 first independent government of the Polish       tradition is equally strongly apparent in
                 Republic in 1919. Artur Rubinstein and           Penderecki’s more recent works, reaching
                 Mieczysław Horszowski were successfully          straight for cultural archetypes, evidence
                 touring at the age of nearly 100. Józef Hofman   for which can be found chiefly in his
                 invented windscreen wipers and paper clips,      oratorios and operas (e.g. The Devils of
                 and Janusz Olejniczak played Chopin’s role       Loudun, Paradise Lost, Die schwarze
                 in Andrzej Żuławski’s film La note bleue.        Maske), which are the crowning
                 I The record for the highest number of sales     achievement of Polish operatic
                 garnered by a single CD release of               composition. I It is also worth recalling
                 a performance of a contemporary music work       the recent premieres of Mykietyn’s
                 (in the classical music category) – over         An Ignoramus and a Madman, Zygmunt
                 1 million copies – belongs to H.M. Górecki’s     Krauze’s Balthazar (on repertoire in Paris)
                 Symphony No3, released by Elektra Nonesuch.      and Bernadetta Matuszczak’s Antigone.
                 I At the end of the Fifties, Krzysztof
     M U S I C




                                                                  Contemporary Polish works for the stage
                 Penderecki sent three compositions to one        are, in common with classics of this
                 competition, although only one was allowed.      variety, presented by such leading directors
                 The first he wrote left-handed (his usual        as Mariusz Treliński, Ryszard Peryt or
                 hand), the second right-handed, and the third    Krzysztof Nazar. Great vocal-instrumental
                 he asked another person to copy, all to have     works guest at the annual Wratislavia
                 the greatest chance of gaining a prize.          Cantans festival – from Gregorian chant to
                 It turned out that all three compositions        Gospel & Negro Spirituals, from classical to
                 won awards: the First Prize, and two Seconds.    avant-garde composers, and all in
                                                                                                      music                     33




                                                                                                                    CLASSICAL
| Sinfonia Varsovia




                                                                  I
                      wonderful performances by world class
                      orchestras, choirs, groups and soloists,    The Sinfonia Varsovia
                      interpreted by such conductors as Antoni    Krzysztof Penderecki is the orchestral director
                      Wit, Kazimierz Kord, Jacek Kaspszyk or      of the Sinfonia Varsovia orchestra, founded
                      Tadeusz Strugała. Jerzy Maksymiuk, one      in 1984 from the Polish Chamber Orchestra
                      of the most colourful characters among      and considered to be one of the best in the
                      Polish conductors, tours abroad             world. The Sinfonia’s first permanent guest
                      in the main, ever eager to attempt new      conductor was Yehudi Menuhin, and currently
                      and hitherto unknown works. He has          it is José Cura. With an almost unlimited
                      conducted, among others, one of the         repertoire, the Sinfonia Varsovia performs
                      world’s best orchestras, the BBC Scottish   all over the world with the best conductors
                      Symphony Orchestra from Glasgow,            (Mstislav Rostropovitch, Jerzy Maksymiuk)
                      receiving, at the end, the esteemed title   and artists (José Carreras, Placido Domingo,
                      of Conductor-Laureate of that orchestra.    Andreas Vollenweider).
                      I Among the artists present on the Polish
                      concert stage, the leading positions are
                      occupied by singers – Teresa Żylis-Gara,    Bartłomiej Nizioł, the harpsichordist
                      Ewa Podleś, Kira Boreczko, Wiesław          Elżbieta Chojnacka, and the pianists
                      Ochman and Romuald Tesarowicz. While        Krystian Zimerman and Piotr
                      it is true that many of them live abroad,   Anderszewski, they have strong links with
                      similarly to the composers Zygmunt          the Polish cultural inheritance, as may be
                      Krauze and Hanna Kulenty, the violinist     heard in their repertoire.
34




                 JAZZ, POP, ROCK                                  signs of artistic freedom appear. In 1956,
                 What is it that distinguishes popular            jazz enthusiasts under the leadership
                 music? It is governed not so much by             of the outspoken writer Leopold Tyrmand
                 established artistic canons as by market         (later an émigré) organised Poland’s first
                 forces. It has become a branch                   international jazz festival, which is today,
                 of a gigantic industry in which particular       going under the name Jazz Jamboree, the
                 rules apply. Alongside the multinational         oldest in Europe. I Among the pioneers
                 record companies, however, there still           of the Polish jazz scene was Krzysztof
                 appear independents, releasing music             Komeda (1931–1969). A doctor by
                 which does not require a media clamour.          education, a pianist and composer by
                 Such music is known as club, or niche            desire, he was the leader of many groups,
                 music. Thanks to such niches, the picture        the author of countless jazz themes, and
                 of pop-culture is brightened by thousands        one of the most original composers of
                 of musical colours and tastes. And Polish        film music during the 60’s (see p.39).
                 artists take part in its creation. I It is not   I The greatest concentration of artistic
                 difficult to record an album these days,         activity towards the creation of an
                 and their worldwide availability is also         individual musical identity took place
                 nothing unusual. So how, in this                 in Poland during the Sixties. During this
                 enormous artistic market, can Poles              period, young artists – searching for
                 differentiate themselves, what marks out         their own space in literature, film,
                 their originality? What is the deciding          theatre, the visual arts, popular music
                 factor that makes an American, French            and jazz – all made their debuts. These
                 or Japanese music-lover reach for                searches are most fully and colourfully
                 a Polish disk, or the audiences                  reflected in the jazz discographies of the
                 in Hamburg, London or Moscow listen              violinist and composer Michał Urbaniak,
                 to concerts by Polish artists? I The             the vocalist Urszula Dudziak, the pianist
                 post-war history of Polish popular music         Adam Makowicz, the trumpeter Tomasz
     M U S I C




                 began with jazz. And that is the way it          Stańko, the saxophonist Jan “Ptaszyn”
                 stayed until 1950. Then, the Communist           Wróblewski and the pianist, trumpeter
                 authorities decided that jazz was                and trombonist Andrzej Kurylewicz.
                 an expression of sympathy with a hostile         They all began their careers during the
                 ideology. Shortly after, it was officially       Sixties, but gathered their artistic
                 denounced and its performance and                momentum in the Seventies. Presently,
                 promotion prohibited. Only during                in a musical landscape densely
                 the second half of the Fifties, together         populated by styles, fashions and trends,
                 with the “ideological thaw”, did some            their music is an extravagant
                                                                                          music                 35




                         | Urszula Dudziak




                                                                        | Adam Makowicz




                                                                                                  JAZZ::POP::ROCK
                         | Michał Urbaniak




                                                                        | Tomasz Stańko
individuality, recognised by the world’s     vocalist in order to concentrate
artistic authorities.                        on electronic vocal effects. With this
I The name of Michał Urbaniak (1943) is      change, she created a new style of jazz
most often mentioned these days among        singing in which, to this day, she has no
Polish jazz musicians. His discs have        competition. She impresses with her
been released at home and abroad in          enormous vocal strength, and her
pressings exceeding 1.5 million units.       intonation, technique, and fluency, well
He also appears on the covers of tens of     demonstrated in the hit Papaya.
albums released by the world’s leading       I Adam Makowicz (1940) has gained
jazz musicians: Marcus Miller, George        worldwide fame among jazz pianists. His
Benson, Billy Cobham, Ron Carter, Joe        performances of George Gershwin’s pieces
Zawinul, Wayne Shorter, Stéphane             have delighted more than just American
Grappelli and Miles Davis, to name but       audiences. For his individual
a few. He surprised them with his            interpretations of Gershwin’s music, he
openness to everything new, and his          received special permission from the
ability to link jazz with rock or hip hop.   composer’s brother, Ira. In his playing
Even his violins sound completely            the entire history of jazz piano is reflected
different, their sound colour enhanced       as if in a mirror: the charming swing
by electronics, and he can alter his         of Teddy Wilson, the fluency of Art Tatum,
technique of forming sound to imitate        the joviality of Errol Garner, the elegance
a saxophone’s wail or a human voice.         of Oscar Peterson. He is more concise than
I In turn, Urszula Dudziak’s (1943) voice    Keith Jarrett and jazzier than Chick Corea.
is without doubt one of the most             All of this, ornamented with technical
interesting instruments in contemporary      virtuosity, improvisational eloquence,
jazz. In 1958, Dudziak became the soloist    Chopinesque “slavonicness”, creates
in Krzysztof Komeda’s group. A few years     a unique musical picture. I Tomasz
later, she quit as a conventional jazz       Stańko (1942), the winner of prestige
36




                                                                                       | Zbigniew Namysłowski
                                          | Leszek Możdżer
                 awards like the Preis der Deutschen          some of the most well known of his
                 Schallplattenkritik 2000 and the             records: Requiem for my Friend (dedicated
                 European Jazz Prize 2002, has held the       to the memory of Krzysztof Kieślowski,
                 title of Europe’s Number One Trumpeter       world-famous Polish film director);
                 for thirty years. In 1962, he became         Impressions on Chopin; 10 easy pieces
                 a member of the Jazz Darings quartet,        for piano solo. His improvisation ability
                 formed together with Adam Makowicz.          and a new approach to traditional themes
                 It was probably Europe’s                     create a completely new vision of modern
                 first Free Jazz group. Shortly thereafter,   jazz music. I Polish jazz, by using
                 Stańko embarked upon his own,                a universal musical language, quickly
                 difficult journey achieving something        and efficiently found its place on the
                 that characterises the greatest: a poetic    world stage. The one condition necessary
                 unpredictability and a frantic               for Polish songs to cross geographical
                 expressiveness. I International fame         borders was to break through the
                 is also enjoyed by the saxophonist           language barrier. This only happened
                 Zbigniew Namysłowski (1939), one             at the beginning of the Nineties, when
                 of the most creative figures on              the multinational record companies
                 the European jazz scene. He was the          started to appear in the Polish music
                 first Polish jazz musician to record         scene. I During the second half of the
                 abroad when he made the album Lola,          Eighties, the difficult and somewhat
                 released in 1967 by Decca. This fact         self-contained British music scene was
                 was noted in a “Down Beat” poll (1st         successfully penetrated by Barbara
                 place in the Talent Deserving Wider          Trzetrzelewska (1954), but
                 Recognition category). He is a composer      the Americans first accepted her
                 of film music as well as his own concert     sometimes swinging, but usually
                 and recorded repertoire, and many jazz       Brazilian-influenced, songs. Today
                 themes, in which he borrowed themes          widely known as Basia, the singer
                 from Polish folk music. I Leszek
     M U S I C




                                                              and jazz vocalist, composer and
                 Możdżer is one of the fresh talents          lyricist began her assault on the
                 of Polish jazz scene. His critically         musical world in a Broadway recital.
                 acclaimed concerts and recordings, as        From this artistic temple, with the
                 well as his collaboration with the           help of albums, you can reach the
                 outstanding Polish composer, Zbigniew        furthest corners of the globe without
                 Preisner brought him huge popularity         obstacles; songs reach the highest
                 and many prestigious awards both in          positions in the charts without
                 Poland and abroad. Let us mention            difficulty; and every album is covered
                                                                                             music
                                                                                                                   37




                                                                        | Anna Maria Jopek
                        | Basia            I




                                                                                                 JAZZ::POP::ROCK
in gold or platinum. I The least
success on the international scene has     Bright Young Things
been achieved by Polish rock, it being     Albums by two leading lights of the younger
difficult to compete with the British      generation of Polish singers, Edyta Górniak
giants. In the last decade, however,       (1972) and Anna Maria Jopek (1970), distributed
much has changed. The English              by multinational record companies, reach music
language version of one of the group       lovers all over the world. The decision to
Myslovitz’s albums was promoted with       introduce these two talented and beautiful
concerts in London. The group’s stage      artists to the world was taken by Western
presence was also recognised when they     managers (including Jim Beach, who for many
received an MTV European Music Award       years managed Queen). Edyta Górniak took
in 2002 in the category Best Polish Act.   second place in the Eurovision Song Contest in
This category, it is worth remembering,    Dublin (1994) and has partnered the great
appeared just three years ago. I The       tenor José Carreras in a charity concert. The
Death Metal group Vader is one of the      British and German media have dubbed her the
few Polish groups of its type known        greatest discovery of the last decade. She has all
and valued on the world music scene.       the right characteristics to eventually occupy
The group was formed in 1985, and          the places of Liza Minelli or Whitney Houston:
five years later began their               an exotic beauty, a marvellous voice and a great
international career, supported by the     talent. Anna Maria Jopek has received and
English record company Earache             award from the hands of Michel Legrand
Records. Since 1993, they have played      himself for her vocal abilities, while Pat Metheny
in Poland at the more important rock       has recently chosen her as a partner for a
festivals as well as abroad, in Europe,    collaborative jazz recording. Her onstage
Japan, the USA and Canada. I Fans of       charm, jazz spirit and delicacy effectively
an original sound may be pointed in        counterpoint the sound of Metheny’s guitar.
the direction of the Cracow Klezmer
Band, an unusual quartet of young
virtuosi playing such instruments as       The group do not limit themselves to
accordion, violin, clarinet, double bass   purely Jewish influences, however, but
and percussion. Their dynamic              also incorporate elements of the Balkan,
compositions and surprising                Arabic, Romany and Slavonic traditions.
arrangements make them one of the          They have successfully toured with such
most interesting exponents of              famous names as Brave Old World,
the contemporary radical stream            Anthony Coleman & Sephardic Tinge,
in the rebirth of Jewish music.            The Klezmatics, and Dave Krakauer
38
         | Cracow Klezmer Band; a concert in the Tempel Synagogue in Cracow, 2002




                                                                                                                                I More and more frequently, independent
     M U S I C




                                                                                    Klezmer Madness. The Cracow Klezmer
                                                                                    Band’s music enchanted John Zorn            releases promoting ethnic music,
                                                                                    himself, one of the most creative artists   fashionable the world over, are appearing
                                                                                    on the contemporary music scene.            abroad. For enthusiasts of ethnic-folk
                                                                                    In 2000, the group’s debut album,           music, there should be a place in the
                                                                                    entitled De Profundis, was released         collection for recordings by Trebunie
                                                                                    by his famous New York company              Tutki. This Polish Highland group is the
                                                                                    TZADIK, followed a year later by the        continuation of a century-old musical
                                                                                    second – The Warriors.                      family tradition. They began their
                                                                                                 music               39




                                                                            | Krzysztof Komeda
                                               I




                                                                                                         JAZZ::POP::ROCK
professional stage career in 1991 with a
concert with legendary Jamaican roots-         The Best Known Polish Film Composers
reggae group, Twinkle Brothers. The            Wojciech Kilar – The Pianist (2002), Death and
album they recorded together, (Janosik)        the Maiden (1994), dir. R. Polański;
in Sherwood, was recognised as one of          The Portrait of a Lady (1996), dir. J. Campion;
the best World Music albums released           Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), dir. F.F. Coppola
during the 10-year existence of the World      Zbigniew Preisner – Three Colours
Music Charts Europe, an organisation of        (1993–4), The Double Life of Veronica (1991),
radio producers from the 11 countries          dir. K. Kieślowski; Secret Garden (1993),
gathered together in the European              dir. A. Holland; Damage (1992), dir. L. Malle
Broadcasting Union (EBU). Similar              Jan A.P. Kaczmarek – Finding Neverland
popularity was achieved by the album           (2005-Oscar), dir. M Forster, Unfaithful (2001),
Best Dub/Greatest Hits. The trance-            dir. A. Lyne; Bliss (1997), dir. L. Young;
inducing fiddles, catchy melodies and          Washington Square (1997), dir. A. Holland
rhythmic swagger of the multi-talented         Michał Lorenc – Bandit (1997), dir.
Norman Grant create a remarkable fusion        M. Dejczer; Exit in Red (1996), dir.
of two musical cultures. I It is also worth    Y. Bogayewicz; Blood and Wine (1996), dir.
getting to know the music of De Press, a       B. Rafelson
folk-punk group founded in 1980 in Oslo        Krzysztof Komeda – Knife in the Water
(Norway) on the initiative of Andrzej          (1961), Cul-de-sac (1966), Rosemary’s Baby
Dziubek and the Norwegian musicians Jorn       (1968), dir. R. Polański; Kattorna (1965),
Christensen and Ola Snortheim.                 dir. H. Carlsen
The repertoire consists of songs inspired by   Bronisław Kaper – wrote the music for
Polish highland folk music, liberally          over 150 films; Oscar laureate (Lili, 1953,
besprinkled with elements of punk, hardcore    dir. C. Walters); the composer of famous
and ska. The group have collaborated with      jazz themes (including Green Dolphin Street
musicians from Sweden, Belarus and Russia.     and You Are All I Need)
I The picture of Polish popular music
would be incomplete without mention
of composers of film music.                    Krzysztof Komeda was ended by a tragic
Their achievements, known for years,           accident. Nowadays, the musical
have been recognised with many awards.         ornamentation of many a well-known
After Bronisław Kaper, the late Henryk         film is provided by Jan A.P. Kaczmarek
Wars made his mark in Hollywood                (Oscar Winner) Wojciech Kilar and
during the 50s. In the 1960s,the               Zbigniew Preisner, co-creators of successes
glittering Hollywood career of                 in American and European cinema.
40   A R T S
     V I S U A L




                   Jerzy Panek: Self-Portrait im a White Hat III;
                   woodcut, 64 x 49 cm
O
         ne particular feature of Polish
         culture, highlighting it in the eyes of
         the world, is the unusual melange of
metaphysical searching and historical
experience. This is also true of the visual
arts. During the period of partition, Poles
succeeded in preserving their identity only                              ” ”        visual
                                                                                     arts

                                                   and poster art, the popularity of the
                                                   “Zakopane style” and the “Country House
                                                   style” is the Polish input into the elegant
                                                   international convention of art déco.
                                                   I Another important current of these times
                                                   was Constructivism, the Polish variety of the
                                                   progressive avant-garde. The artists gathered
thanks to religion and culture. In a country       together in groups such as “Block”,
deprived of its own state and torn into three      “Praesens”, and “a.r.” linked a belief in
partitions, art and poetry had specific tasks:     progress and reason with a thirst to
maintaining the national memory,                   experiment. Into the visual landscape of the
organising the Polish imagination and              country, they wanted to introduce order,
preserving the national identity. Nineteenth-      discipline and functionalism. The group of
century Polish painting developed under the        colourists also laid out new tasks for
influence of great Romantic poetry: Matejko,       themselves. Painters from the “Paris
Grottger, and later Malczewski and                 Committee” outlined their aim as a change
Wyspiański, created a real canon of Polish         in Poles’ tastes. Referring to French
symbols, to which succeeding generations           Postimpressionism, they fought for the
still refer. I The social role of art was a        quality and independence of painting. After
challenge and a burden for Polish artists.         the Second World War, they dominated in
Polish culture’s central problem, freedom,         art schools, and the aesthetic doctrine of
entailed also fighting for artistic sovereignty    colourism turned out to be one of the more
and the autonomy of art. The reconstruction        influential and long lasting. I A key stage,
of the Polish state after 1918 ran together        fundamental to understanding Polish
with the search for a “Polish road to              mentality, is the years of the Second World
independence in Art”. Art no longer had to         War. The trauma of the occupation, the
be custodian of the national memory, so it         experience of the camps, deportations,
began to reach towards international               executions, the tragedy of the Holocaust, all
patterns, adding local significance to them.       appear in Polish art, literature and film to
This was the path of the interwar groupings        this day, an ever-present point of reference,
“Polish Formalists”, or “Rhythm”, whose            an eternal memento. The first few years
achievement was a synthesis of Cubism,             after the war, before the decreeing of
Fauvism, Expressionism, and the home-              socialist realism, is one of the most
grown influences of folk art. This style was       interesting periods in Polish art. The view of
fruitfully employed chiefly in functional art      these years was coloured by the “Cracow
and architecture. The success of handicrafts       Group”, artists who had come from the
42




                   Occupation Theatre of Tadeusz Kantor. His       in 1959. Since the Sixties, in spite of political
                   thoughts about “independence under all          interference and the limitations imposed by
                   conditions” were essential for the history of   Communist censorship, Polish art developed
                   post-war art. The work of the “Cracow           parallel with European, experiencing
                   Group” is the art of the “domesticated          successive stages: new figuration,
                   avant-garde”, linking the necessity for         conceptualism, performance art, minimal-
                   contemporaneity with a loyalty to tradition.    art. The link with the living “contemporary
                   Spatial searching and lyrical metaphor on       impulse” was nurtured by independent
                   the borders of abstraction enable us to name    galleries and avant-garde artists. Artistic life
                   this Polish variety of surrealism               in the People’s Poland created, however,
                   “Metaphorical Painting”. I The Stalinist        constant tension between artists and the
                   years were a period of obedient,                authorities. The turning point was 1981 – the
                   manipulated art. At that time, there was a      squashing of the first “Solidarity” and the
                   Europe-wide discussion concerning the idea      imposition of martial law. I The art of the
                   of realism and the great, monumental style –    Eighties, the time of the “war between state
                   the Polish response was the art of the “Self-   and nation”, had its serious side – the
                   educating Group” with Andrzej Wróblewski,       Independent Culture Movement, close to the
     A R T S




                   the proposal of a strong, harsh figuration      Church, the return to national and religious
                   expressing the tragedy of war and the post-     symbols – and also its comic side – paintings
                   war dreariness. The current known as            of “wild” expression (Warsaw’s “Gruppa”),
                   “Socially engaged art” was started by artists   the quasi-performance movement of
                   exhibiting in Warsaw’s “Arsenal” in 1955,       Wrocław’s “Orange Alternative” or the Łódź
                   who fought for the right to spontaneity and     underground in the “Attic” gallery and the
                   a tragic vision of the world, painting          anarcho-dadaist group “Łódź Kaliska”
                   aggressive, pointed pictures following the      I On regaining independence, Polish
                   conventions of Expressionism. The “Arsenal”     culture ceased to be a battlefield. The
     V I S U A L




                   legend has survived as an attitude, an ethos    return to democracy, however, has not
                   of non-neutral art, a witness to the times      automatically solved all social or national
                   reminding us of the wronged person.             problems, it has only changed their
                   I The political thaw at the end of the          character, context, and sometimes colour.
                   Fifties brought fascination with the world      New times have brought new threats, new
                   movement of informel, and also a so-called      “hot” topics. Some artists have escaped
                   “painting of matter”. The best example of       into privacy with relief, while others still
                   this is the original oeuvre of the “Nowa Huta   tilt at windmills. The turn of the century
                   group”, or the paintings of Jan Lebenstein,     has brought a wave of “critical art”,
                   who was the discovery of the Paris Biennale     utilising new media in a discussion about
                                                                                         visual arts          43




I Jan Matejko: Prussian Tribute, 1882; 388 x 785 cm, oil,       art” – said Jan Matejko (1838–1893), the
   canvas, Royal Castle at Wawel, Cracow                        leading Polish historical painter of the
                                                                nineteenth century. Born barely a year
the problems of religion, sexuality and                         before Paul Cézanne – he was a classical
intolerance. This is also “socially-engaged                     academic, but his art has shaped the
art”, arising out of the need to announce                       imaginations of many generations of
the truth about life in society and the                         Poles. Matejko’s big, crowded canvases
interrelationships between society, history                     illustrate the most important moments in
and stereotypes.                                                the history of the nation. At a time when
I “Art is a kind of weapon in your hand,                        Poland had been wiped off the map of
and you must not separate patriotism from                       Europe, Matejko, recalling moments of
                                                                greatness and national sins, called for the
                                           I                    people to examine their collective
                                           Stanisław            conscience. In Poland, his works still live
                                           Wyspiański: God      and wake the emotions. Q
                                           the Father:          I The decor of Cracow’s Franciscan
                                           Let it Be!,          Church is among the most beautiful
                                           1897–1904;           modernist decorative art in Europe. Its
                                           846 x 390 cm,        creator, Stanisław Wyspiański
                                           stained glass,       (1869–1907), a student of Jan Matejko,
                                           Franciscan Church,   was the greatest individual in the so-
                                           Kraków               called Young Poland movement – the art
                                                                at the turn of the twentieth century. It is
                                                                from him that the new epoch of Polish art
                                                                begins. His multi-facetedness recalls the
                                                                Renaissance masters: revolutionary
                                                                playwright, innovator in painting and
                                                                remaker of the art of design. Q
44




                   I Jacek Malczewski: Spring – Landscape with Tobiasz, 1904;   attempt to bring art closer to reality.
                     76 x 97 cm, National Museum, Poznań                        Among the campaigners for a new
                                                                                aesthetic was the outstanding art critic
               I Jacek Malczewski (1854–1929) was                               Stanisław Witkiewicz (1851–1915),
                 the enfant terrible of Polish symbolism.                       who worked out the theoretical basis
     A R T S




                 A student of Matejko, into his painting                        for the new national style. His
                 he introduced folk tales, Greek myths                          proposals were based on the Highland
                 and end-of-the-century angst.                                  folk art “Zakopane Style”. His unique
                 Malczewski’s art is an explosive                               villas in Zakopane, fully furnished and
                 mixture, joining eroticism with                                with characteristic Highland decor, are
                 mysticism, folk art with classical,                            an original home-grown example of the
                 brutal sensuality and unbearable                               artistic design movement, which swept
                 pathos with irony. However, his mad,                           Europe at the turn of the century. Q
                 unpredictable imagination did not
     V I S U A L




                 merely create symbolic brainteasers,
                 but also moody, lyrical landscapes –
                 roadside willows, storks circling above
                 a freshly ploughed field, a cloudy sky. Q
               I During the 19th century, discussion
                 about “Polish national art’s right to
                 exist” broke out in Poland. On the road
                 from Romanticism to Modernity, the
                 turning point was the Positivists’ fight
                 for the autonomy of painting and the      I Stanisław Witkiewicz: Villa under Firs, 1896; Zakopane
                                                                                    visual arts                45




I There are many interesting museum
  collections in Poland, the most curious of
  which arose in an industrial city, Łódź,
  among the Polish Constructivists. As early
  as the 1920s, Władysław Strzemiński           I Władysław Strzemiński’s plan for the Neoartist Hall, 1948;
  (1893–1952), along with his colleagues            Museum of Art, Łódź
  from the avant-garde group “a.r.” began
  collecting avant-garde works from all over
  the world. In February 1931, the Łódź
  Gallery of Contemporary Art was opened,
  one of the world’s first permanent museum
  exhibitions of avant-garde art. This unique
  collection became the kernel of the Łódź
  Museum of Art – a collection which today
  consists of works by over 1,500 artists. Q
I In Twenties Poland, the avant-garde found
  their voice. The regaining of independence
  had freed artists from their patriotic
  duties. The watchwords became aesthetic
  functionalism, rationalism and modernity.
  The most outstanding representative of        I   Katarzyna Kobro: Spatial Composition 4, 1929;

  Polish Constructivism was the sculptress          polychrome steel, 40 x 64 x 40 cm, Museum of Art, Łódź
  Katarzyna Kobro (1898–1951). Kobro’s
  researches were pioneering. Her spatial,          photographer. The creator of the theory of
  abstract constructions of wood, glass and         “Pure Form”, wishing to express
  metal are an original conception of a             metaphysics and the “mystery of
  sculpture which has ceased to be a shape,         existence” in his works, painted fantastic
  and become an analysis of space and               surrealist-expressionist compositions. He
  “space-time rhythms”. Q                           left a fascinating gallery of portraits
I The most interesting personalities in             completed within the ambit of his
  Polish twentieth-century culture are the          so-called Portrait Firm, but within his
  multi-talented artists who work in many           artistic oeuvre, his innovative and
  disciplines. The classic example is               experimental photography was more
  Witkacy – S.I. Witkiewicz (1885–1939),            important. Witkacy proclaimed a
  an outstanding playwright, philosopher,           catastrophic vision of the impending
  art theorist, and also painter and                collapse of Western civilisation. Q
46




                   I   Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz: Portrait Multiplied, c. 1916; photograph, private ownership
     A R T S
     V I S U A L




                   I   Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz: Self-portrait, pre 1914; photograph, 12 x 9 cm, private ownership
                                                                                    visual arts      47




I   Andrzej Wróblewski: The Queue Goes On, 1956; oil,    inspiration and light, and after their
    canvas, 140 x 200 cm, National Museum, Warsaw        return fulfilled the function of apostles
                                                         of “good painting”. For them, the most
I In the Fifties, the Communist authorities              important things were harmony of
  wanted to use art as a tool for agitation              colours and the beauty of canvas
  and propaganda. The works that arose                   evoking shining cloths. Their successive
  under the pressure of Socialist Realism had            generations dominated artistic
  little in common with art, being a kind of             education, founding the Polish school of
  ideological folklore. Some artists, however,           colourism: sensitivity to colour and the
  managed to link art with an engagement                 decorative elegance of canvas. Q
  with the important matters of their time.
  The tragically politically-entangled Andrzej
  Wróblewski (1927–1957) left the most
  valuable painted documents of those years.
  His outspoken figuration is a metaphor of a
  degraded, straitjacketed reality. Wróblewski
  was artist with a sense of mission; he
  believed that art, by enabling us to
  distinguish Good from Evil, would change
  the world for the better. Q
I One of the most important and longest-
  lasting traditions in Polish painting is
  colourism – the Polish version of post-
  impressionism. The artists gathered in
  the “Paris Committee” took the               I Artur Nacht-Samborski: Leaves, 1969; oil, canvas,
  pilgrimage to the Seine in search of           100 x 81 cm, National Museum, Warsaw
48




               I     Henryk Stażewski: Colour Relief 9, 1961; 47 x 61 cm,       For contemporary Poland, one such
                     acrylic, chipboard, Starmach Gallery, Cracow               person is Józef Czapski (1896–1993), a
     A R T S




                                                                                moral authority and a true witness of
                   I The history of the Polish avant-garde has                  the 20th century. His is one of the most
                     colourful legendary characters. The long-                  beautiful Polish biographies: multi-
                     lived Henryk Stażewski (1894–1988)                         talented educated aristocrat, participant
                     was named a “classic of modernity” even                    in wars, concentration camp prisoner,
                     while he was still alive. He was one of                    strong patriot and Catholic. He was
                     the pioneers of geometric abstraction and
                     a member of several avant-garde groups
                     – BLOK “Praesens”, “a.r.” – and also the
     V I S U A L




                     international groups “Cercle et Carré”
                     and “Abstraction-Création”. He worked
                     closely with the famous Paris Galerie
                     Denise René. He remained faithful to
                     geometry to the end, constantly
                     expanding its language with new
                     questions of space, colour and
                     movement. Q
                   I In the culture of every nation, there are              I   Józef Czapski: Local Train, 1967; oil on canvas, 116 x 89 cm,

                     emblematic characters, person-symbols.                     National Museum, Cracow
                                                                                      visual arts                     49




  a simultaneously writer, an erudite and
  a sensitive painter. His books about
  Soviet war crimes closed his road back
  to Poland. His nostalgic, shocking
  pictures: snapshots of Paris streets and
  cafes, or the Metro, strike us with the
  freshness of their vision and the
  bravery of their colour choice. Q
I Folk art is today not merely for
  ethnographers and researchers of
  country customs. The fashion for “art
  at the edge” and “borderland artists” is    I Eugeniusz Mucha: Echoes. A Tribute to Jędrzej Wowro, 1999;
  enjoying a visible renaissance.                oil, canvas, artist’s frame, 82 x 34 cm, private ownership
  Professional painters, too, borrow from
  the rich treasure house of folk culture,
  using the ethnic and homegrown motifs
  in a new, creative way. Eugeniusz
  Mucha (1927), the person behind many
  church polychromes, bestows a brave,
  untypical interpretation on the religious
  subjects. In Mucha’s painting, we can
  see the Polish countryside with its
  carved shrines, scenes painted on glass,
  the fairground dazzle of village fetes,
  but also the golden mediaeval altars
  and gravestones. Q
I Since the cubist period, naive, or
  primitive, art has been an important
  source for artists. In its sincerity and
  outspokenness, people look for real
  emotion, passion, and simplicity –
  something the cultured and avant-
  garde academics have lost. The most
  famous Polish self-made painter,
  compared with Rousseau himself, is          I Nikifor: Beskid landscape with chequerboard fields, a village and a
  Nikifor (1895–1968), actually Epifan           station, 1930s; 21 x 18 cm, Regional Museum, Nowy Sącz
50




                 Drowniak – a Lemko beggar and
                 illiterate gifted with an unusual talent
                 and diligence. For many years linked
                 with Krynica, a small town in the
                 Beskid Sądecki, in his simple
                 aquarelles, he uncovered the beauty
                 in the sub-Carpathian landscape:
                 lonely stations or villages set in fields,
                 but also the fantastic architecture of
                 the towns. Q
               I Magdalena Abakanowicz is the
                 first entry in almost all
                 international dictionaries and
                 encyclopaedias of art. The world’s
                 best-known Polish sculptress’
                 (1930) works can be found in the
                 most important museum
     A R T S




                 collections as well as in the open
                 air. Her creativity has
                 revolutionised artistic weaving,
                 earlier considered to be exclusively
                 as an example of craft or
                 decorative design. The thickly
                 woven, meaty and spatial
                 “Abakans” won the top award at
                 the Sao Paulo Biennale in 1965.
     V I S U A L




                 With time, Abakanowicz moved in
                 the direction of sculpture, open-air
                 installations and architectural
                 design. Her Crowds, Backs, Herds
                 and Swarms, consisting of tens of
                 figures of resin-soaked burlap,
                 wood, stone, and bronze, are a
                 striking metaphor of the human
                 condition in the contemporary                I Magdalena Abakanowicz: Unrecognised, 2001–2002; cast iron,
                 world. Q                                       112 x (210 x 70 x 95 cm), Poznań
visual arts
              51
52




               I At the end of the Fifties, Polish artists, too,
                 undertook experiments with the “painting
                 of matter”, including in their pictures
                 unconventional materials such as gravel,
                 sand, and scrap metal. Jonasz Stern
                 (1904–1988), Jew and Pole, interpreted
                 structuralism in his own way, using
                 organic remains: prepared bones, fish
                 scales and bones, dried plants. Stern’s
                 original art connects his tragic life –
                 periods in the camps and the ghettoes, a
                 miraculous rescue – with his private              I Jonasz Stern: Red Board, 1971; a variety of techniques,
                 passion, angling. The monochromatic                   canvas, 120 x 79,5 cm, National Museum, Cracow
                 Boards in which painted animal bones
                 take the form of a Jewish headstone, is a
                 symbolic epitaph for the Chosen People. Q
               I Among Polish artists working in other
     A R T S




                 countries, many successfully integrate
                 into artistic life abroad, writing the Polish
                 tradition into the visual landscape of
                 Europe. True success was achieved by the
                 graphic designer and representative of the
                 “Polish school of Poster Art” Roman
                 Cieślewicz (1930–1996), settled in Paris
                 since 1963. He used his experience as an
                 illustrator and typographer, gained in
     V I S U A L




                 Poland, as the artistic director of “Elle”
                 and “Vogue” magazines, and also as
                 a long-time associate of the Paris Centre
                 Georges Pompidou, for whom he
                 designed posters and catalogues. In his
                 works, Cieślewicz employed collage and
                 quotations, using mirror images and
                 enlarged screens of photographs. His
                 greatest mastery was achieved in his              I    Roman Cieślewicz: Zoom contre la pollution de l’śil,

                 colourful, surreal photomontages, based                1973; poster, Paris
                 on reproductions of the Old Masters. Q
                                                     visual arts
                                                                   53




I Alina Szapocznikow: Herbal XII, 1972; polyester,
  polychromed wood, National Museum, Cracow
54




                   I One of the main themes in
                     contemporary art is the problem of the
                     human body – it fragility and lack of
                     permanence. Alina Szapocznikow
                     (1926–1973) was one of the first
                     European artists to show a desperately
                     brave and no-holds-barred corporeality.
                     For the last 10 years of her life, she lived
                     in France. She enjoyed technical
                     experiments: cement, iron filings,
                     colourful stones and sap, which enabled
                     French critics to categorise her as
                     a member of the New Realism. The               I   Jan Młodożeniec: Don Quichotte, 1997; gouache,

                     greatest impression is made by her work            55 x 40,5 cm, private collection
                     in polyester, in which she employed
                     casts of the human body. Q                         “Polish School of Poster Art” – created
                   I The eminent painter and Orthodox                   by painters and full of fantasy and
     A R T S




                     theologian Jerzy Nowosielski (1923),               freedom – depended on the fact that in
                     the creator of Orthodox and Catholic               socialist realism there was no such thing
                     polychromes, was able to utilize the               as a commercial poster, and advertising
                     heritage of Byzantium also in his                  was concerned with spiritual and
                     secular painting: landscapes, nudes,               cultural matters. In posters for the
                     and abstracts. His inimitable style was            theatre, the circus, or film, the avant-
                     a blend of Western and Eastern                     garde tradition of photomontage and
                     traditions, of the avant-garde and                 decorative artistic merits were made use
                     Byzantine art. From surrealism,                    of. In 1968, in Wilanów near Warsaw,
     V I S U A L




                     Nowosielski borrowed an aura of                    the world’s first Poster Museum was
                     ambiguity and mystery. From iconic art             opened. Since 1966, the International
                     – religiousness, strong contours and               Poster Biennale has been organised in
                     flatness of form, as well as the deep              Warsaw. One of the more important
                     symbolism of light and colour. In                  representatives of the “Polish School of
                     Nowosielski’s art, as in the Byzantine             Poster Art” is Jan Młodożeniec (1929-
                     tradition, all reality is holy. Q                  2000) and his recognisable hand: thick,
                   I During the Communist era, poster art               superficially clumsy, though decisive
                     was one of the islands of artistic                 line, vivid colours, childlike styling and
                     freedom. The phenomenon of the                     a warm sense of humour. Q
                                                        visual arts   55




I Jerzy Nowosielski: A Part-Nude in Black, 1971; oil,
   canvas, 99 x 79,5 cm, National Museum, Wrocław
56   A R T S
     V I S U A L




                   I Władysław Hasior:   Golgotha III, 1972;            (1928–2000), member of the Phases
                     assemblage, 93 x 35 cm, National Museum, Wrocław   Association, author of poetic
                                                                        assemblages, monuments and
                   I International pop art blended various              monumental outdoor sculptures. His
                     conventions and techniques, mixed                  metaphoric compositions allude to the
                     high art with low, borrowing from                  form of liturgy, travestying the shapes
                     mass culture as it wished. In Poland,              of altars, gravestones and feretories.
                     an original home-grown version of pop              Hasior’s works, betraying a fascination
                     art was created by Władysław Hasior                with kitsch, using cheap votive objects,
                                                                                  visual arts
                                                                                                57




I   Anna Sobol-Wejman: Women in windows,       I   Krzysztof Skórczewski: Tower, copper

    etching, 99 x 69 cm                            etching, 37 x 33 cm


  broken toys and baubles is enjoyed all            Skórczewski (1947), the visionary and
  over a world which values its hidden              mysterious architecture from the gloomy
  picturesque and somewhat exotic                   aquatints of Tadeusz Jackowski
  poetry from the Polish provinces. Q               (1936), the poetic and erotic landscapes
I One of the world’s most important                 of Andrzej Pietsch (1932), the
  artistic festivals is the International           grotesque and radical portrait
  Graphic Design Triennale (at one time             woodcarvings of Jerzy Panek
  Biennale) organised since 1966. It is not         (1918–2001), and the human comedy
  accidental that the site of this prestige         in crowded scenes from the copper
  festival is Cracow. Since the time of             engravings of Jacek Gaj (1938).
  modernism, there has been a strong                One of today’s most interesting
  tradition of artistic graphic design here,        representatives of the “Cracow school of
  often created by painters, who have               graphic design” is Anna Sobol-Wejman
  enriched it with painterly and                    (1946), Grand Prix laureate at the
  colouristic effects. A respect for                International Graphic Design Biennale
  technique, incredible precision and an            at Györ (Hungary) in 1995. Her
  atmospheric language of metaphor are              rhythmically ordered, multi-segmented
  the common thread in sometimes very               works form a type of picture writing,
  different works: the symbolic                     and, at the same time, a discreet and
  constructions, ruins and Towers of Babel          far from humourless commentary
  from the copper engravings of Krzysztof           on life and reality. Q
58   A R T S




                   I   Mirosław Bałka: Memento of a First Communion,   I   Katarzyna Kozyra: Pyramid of Animals, 1993;

                       1985; Art Museum, Łódź                              Zachęta Gallery of Contemporary Art, Warsaw


                   I One artist who, in recent years, has                human body, its proportions,
                     frequently represented Poland at                    temperatures, and imprints. In his
                     international arts festivals is the sculptor        installations, he uses untypical materials:
                     Mirosław Bałka (1958), an exhibitor at,             cheap soap, salt, lastriko slabs. Bałka’s
                     among others, Documenta in Kassel                   subtle and thrifty art is also very well
                     (1992) and the Biennale in Venice (1993),           received outwith his home country. Q
     V I S U A L




                     as well as the person behind an                   I The Nineties, known as the “first decade
                     individual exhibition in the Tate Gallery           of freedom”, was a difficult stage in the
                     (1995). His sculptures and installations            change of systems which aimed to bring
                     are examples of a personal,                         Polish society into the circle of modern
                     autobiographical art, referring to                  democratic civilisations. This period of
                     experiences in his childhood and                    transformation left its mark on culture,
                     constructing a private mythology. Bałka             too, bringing the need to once again
                     creates ascetic, geometric forms from               define a national and social identity.
                     wood, metal, or concrete, recalling the             The answer to these questions has been
                                                                                     visual arts     59




  a wave of “critical art”, using
  new media, drastic visual
  effects and the poetry of
  provocation. Artists are taking
  on all the current situation’s
  “hot” topics, like AIDS or
  racism, demolishing successive
  taboos without hesitation, be
  they sexual, religious or
  national. Poland’s leading
  scandalist is considered to be
  Katarzyna Kozyra (1963),
  who won an award at the
  Venice Biennale (1999) for her
  video installation Bathhouse.
  Her photographs, films and
  installations, circling the
  subjects of corporeality,                      I   Koji Kamoji: Reed Boats, 1997; Centre of

  disease and death, have                            Contemporary Art, Ujazdowski Palace, Warsaw
  instigated a discussion in
  Poland on the rights of the artist and the         although there is no lack of more exotic
  limits of artistic freedom. Embarking on           examples. The avant-garde Koji Kamoji
  her discourse about suffering, Kozyra              (1935), a Japanese artist who has lived in
  also employs new media in order to                 Warsaw for 40 years, is today exhibited and
  undertake a sensitive aesthetic dialogue           awarded prizes as a Polish artist. Counted
  with European culture: the painting of             among the avant-garde linked with
  Ingres or Manet, or the music of                   geometry and constructivism, he brought to
  Stravinsky. Q                                      Polish art a particular poetry, full of the
I Down the ages, Polish culture has often            symbolism of the elements and references
  turned out to be very attractive to new            to nature and the spirituality of the Orient.
  arrivals. Many foreigners, having                  In his frugal installations and objects of
  permanently settled in Poland, have                stone, sheet metal, wire, and other building
  enriched her culture with their own                materials, he organises intriguing spatial
  national traditions. This has been, and is,        situations, full of surprising connections
  particularly true of our closest neighbours,       and internal tension. Q
60




                   I   Leon Tarasewicz: Untitled, 1987; oil, canvas,     with questions of pure painting. The
                                                                         dense brushstrokes cover walls, pillars
     A R T S




                       3 x (280 x 133 cm), National Museum, Wrocław
                                                                         and interiors. The rhythmic
                   I Leon Tarasewicz (1957), belonging to                composition of coloured stripes painted
                     the generation of “wild expression”, is             straight on the ceiling or walls creates
                     one of the most eagerly exhibited                   a painterly environnement, enabling
                     Polish artists in the world today.                  one to enter the very centre of the
                     (Tarasewicz represented Poland at the               work. Bright, luminescent colours
                     Venice Biennale in 2001). A Belarussian             radiate a strange energy – this art, too,
                     with Polish citizenship, he works and               is a creative development of traditional
                     lives on the edge, in the Białystok                 symbolism of Byzantine icons. Q
     V I S U A L




                     village of Waliły. His expressive canvas          I Poland is a country with a strong Catholic
                     balances on the edge of abstraction,                tradition, in which Christian iconography
                     however the starting point is always                is treated with a particular piety. In spite
                     nature, the homely landscape of the                 of this, or perhaps precisely because of it,
                     Polish borderlands: snowy forests,                  there is no lack of artists interpreting
                     boulders, flying birds and the furrows of           religious symbols shockingly
                     ploughed earth. Tarasewicz’s canvases               independently, ripped out of their
                     are a new, enlightening synthesis of the            traditional context. The brave, frequently
                     Polish landscape, although the artist               scandalous treatment of sacred topics
                     ever more frequently concerns himself               need not signify blasphemy. In Poland,
                                                                                                  visual arts             61




I   Eugeniusz Get-Stankiewicz: Do it Yourself, 1976;           I   Roman Opałka: Description of the World 1965/1 - ...,

    various techniques, 93 x 65 cm, National Museum, Wrocław   Detail 1-35327, 1965; oil, canvas, Art Museum, Łódź



  such provocativeness has a social                                lives to one idea and transform their
  connotation, as an attempt to rock the                           existence into a work in progress. One
  psychic boat, overbalancing unthinking,                          example is Roman Opałka (1931), one of
  automatic religiosity. Demasking                                 the world’s best-known artists of Polish
  hypocrisy, artists once again pose                               descent. Once a talented graphic designer,
  fundamental questions, attempting to                             since 1965 he has exclusively painted
  break the viewer out of customary                                Counted Pictures: white-grey canvases
  routines and mental stereotypes.                                 consistently covered in rows of numbers.
  Eugeniusz Get-Stankiewicz’s (1942)                               This desperate idea of devoting one’s
  shocking collage, the suggestion of a                            whole life to an artistic counting from 1 to
  personal participation in the action of the                      infinity demands respect, although it more
  crucifixion, forces one to ask oneself                           resembles a stoic philosophical attitude
  about the real consequences of faith and                         than any kind of artistic expression. The
  shows the foremost sense of Christianity –                       gradually lightening pictures are
  a personal responsibility for undertaking                        accompanied by a taped recording of
  the challenge of the Gospels. Q                                  counting and a photographic record of the
I There exists a category of “total artists”,                      artist’s face, further underlining the
  who want to subordinate their whole                              inevitable passing of time. Q
F I L M   | Andrzej Wajda receiving his Oscar; Los Angeles, 2000   62
S
      ince the changes in 1989, Polish
      cinema has altered its way of working:
      today it is organised similarly to the
majority of medium-sized Western
European cinema. In order to realise their
plans, directors look for foreign
                                                                          ” ”
                                                  harking back to Romantic literature – is
                                                  still alive in Polish film. It must be said that

                                                  “Polish School”, Andrzej Munk
                                                  (1921–1961), the creator of Bad Luck
                                                                                       film



                                                  the greatest rationalist and critic within the


                                                  (1959) and Passenger (1961, prem. 1963),
co-financing, private producers are also          has been dead for over 40 years, and
frequently helped by television – public or       Wojciech Has (1925–2000) recently passed
private. The best ideas are supported by          away. His The Saragossa Manuscript
the State, which, on the basis of the             (1964), set in Napoleonic times, was
Minister’s decision, allocates funds from         bought by Martin Scorsese himself in order
that part of the national budget designated       to restore it. The Master of Polish cinema,
for Culture. Polish cinema displayed its          Andrzej Wajda, (1926), auteur of, among
abilities as an industry at the start of the      others, Ashes and Diamonds (1958),
Nineties, when it co-produced Steven              Promised Land (1974) and The Man of
Spielberg’s Schindler’s List (1993), filmed       Marble (1976), was given a Lifetime
in Poland, and as many as three Polish            Achievement award at the Oscars in 2000.
collaborators on the film, camera operator        His recent screen version of Adam
Janusz Kamiński, art director Allan Starski       Mickiewicz’s national poem Pan Tadeusz
and set decorator Ewa Braun, were                 (1999) reminded Poles of how far their
awarded Oscars. I Although such cinema            collective dream of their country is from
is crafted in the new democratic system, its      today’s reality. During the Berlin Film
artistic tradition dates back to the times of     Festival in 1999, the American Cinema
the People’s Democratic Republic.                 Foundation awarded Wajda the first
Especially during the years 1956–1981, once       Freedom Award for the Most Creatively
the Communist regime had softened its             Brave Film Personality in Central and
ideological rigour, the Polish film industry      Eastern Europe. Since then, the award has
succeeded in avoiding, for the most part,         borne the name of Andrzej Wajda and
the propaganda demands of the authorities         every year he awards the prize personally.
and standing on the side of the people. It        In 2000, the award was won by the
was during this period that the two most          Ukrainian director Kira Muratowa, in 2001
important artistic currents in the history of     by the Czech surrealist Jan Svankmajer,
Polish cinema developed – the “Polish             and in 2002 by the young German director
School” of 1956–1961 and the “cinema of           Andreas Dresen. Alongside Wajda, among
moral anxiety” of 1975–1981. I In                 the artists of the “Polish School”, is
particular, the tradition of the first stream –   Kazimierz Kutz (1929), the creator of
64      | Ashes and Diamonds (based on the novel by J. Andrzejewski), dir. A. Wajda, 1958




                                                                                            beautiful films illustrating life in Upper       prizewinner, Czesław Miłosz – evoke the
                                                                                            Silesia. His Death as a Slice of Bread (1994),   multicultural nature of a Polish society in
                                                                                            with Wojciech Kilar’s wonderful music,           which Poles, Jews, Rusyns, Lithuanians and
                                                                                            recalls the myths of “Solidarity” through        Germans lived alongside each other for
                                                                                            the reconstruction of a tragic event – the       centuries. I It is worth adding that, during
                                                                                            army’s quelling of the striking miners at the    the Thirties, Poland had the largest number
                                                                                            Silesian “Wujek” pit after the introduction      of artistically valid Jewish Yiddish films.
                                                                                            of martial law in 1981. Jerzy Kawalerowicz       Today, these films, such as Michał
                                                                                            (1922), the author of aesthetic costume          Waszyński’s The Dybbuk (1937) or Józef
                                                                                            morality plays like Mother Joan of the           Green’s and Jan Nowina-Przybylski’s Jidl’s
                                                                                            Angels (1960) or Pharaoh (1966), has             Violin (1936) – have been given a new
                                                                                            recently made the monumental Quo Vadis?          lease of life after being screened as restored
                                                                                            (2001) based on the Nobel laureate Henryk        copies. In the last-named film, the
     F I L M




                                                                                            Sienkiewicz’s classic novel. Unfortunately,      protagonist was played by a guest arrival
                                                                                            the writer and director Tadeusz Konwicki         from the USA, Molly Picon. Generally,
                                                                                            (1926), a forerunner of auteur cinema (The       however, the characters were played by
                                                                                            Last Day of Summer, 1958), has not made a        excellent Jewish actors and actresses living
                                                                                            new film for years. His original visionary       in Poland, such as Ida Kamińska who,
                                                                                            works – the autobiographical How far it is,      many years after the War, played the main
                                                                                            How near (1972) or Issa’s Valley (1982),         role in the Oscar-winning Czech film The
                                                                                            following the novel by another Polish Nobel      Shop on Main Street (1965). I The most
                                                                                           film
                                                                                                   65




                           | Krzysztof Kieślowski




                                                                       | Roman Polański
recent allusion to the achievements of the
“Polish School” might be Roman Polański’s           A Selected Filmography of Roman Polański
work, The Pianist, winner of the Golden             1965 Repulsion – screenplay and direction;
Palm at the Cannes film festival in 2002 as              starring Catherine Deneuve
well as three Oscars. Poland was only               1968 Rosemary’s Baby – screenplay and
co-producer of this film, but it was filmed              direction; starring Mia Farrow,
in Poland and tells the story of a Polish                John Cassavetes
Jewish artist. Roman Polański, today a              1974 Chinatown – direction; starring
renowned actor, director, and screenwriter,              Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway
played his first important film role in             1979 Tess – direction;
Wajda’s Generation (1954), which began                   starring Nastasha Kinski
the “Polish School”, and was Munk’s                 1988 Frantic – screenplay and direction;
assistant during Bad Luck, while his                     starring Harrison Ford
diploma film at the Łódź Film School,               1992 Bitter Moon – screenplay and direction;
When Angels Fall (1959) was a parody of                  starring Emmanuelle Seigner,
the “Polish School’s” achievements. During               Peter Coyote
his many years of work in the West,                 1994 Death and the Maiden – direction;
Polański has remained loyal to his Polish                starring Sigourney Weaver,
collaborators, e.g. Krzysztof Komeda, who                Ben Kingsley
composed the music to Polański’s most               2001 The Pianist – screenplay and direction;
entertaining British film, Dance of the                  starring Adrien Brody
Vampires (1967), and the best of his
American ones, Rosemary’s Baby (1968).
The music to The Pianist was created by             renown as a leading European director. His
another Polish composer, Wojciech Kilar,            ten film cycle, The Decalogue (1988–89)
and the cameraman was Paweł Edelman. I              provided the template of how to shift from
The second classic stream of Polish cinema          pure observation of reality to the
developed differently; the “cinema of moral         fundamental questions, important to every
anxiety”, which, based on reality, criticised       individual. Further steps along this road
the degeneracy of the Communist system in           were his later co-productions, The Double
Poland. Its two greatest exponents, going           Life of Veronica (1991) and the Three
beyond direct criticism, were Agnieszka             Colours trilogy (1993/94), all accompanied
Holland (1948) and Krzysztof Kieślowski             by Zbigniew Preisner’s unforgettable music.
(1941–1996), the creator of the style’s             Roles in these films allowed the young
masterpiece Camera Buff (1979). At the              French actresses Juliette Binoche and Irene
turn of the Nineties, Kieślowski gained             Jacob to link up with the best traditions of
66
        | Edi, dir. Piotr Trzaskalski, 2002




                                              European film acting. I The “cinema of            such pieces appears to be the recent debut
                                              moral anxiety” stands as a still productive       by Piotr Trzaskalski (1967) – Edi (2002),
                                              creative model. Among its proponents, the         suggesting in a series of convincing scenes
                                              most active is Krzysztof Zanussi (1939),          that even life as a homeless outsider does
                                              whose film Life as a Fatal Sexually               not make internal harmony and happiness
                                              Transmitted Disease (2000) shows how it is        unreachable. A recent wave of emerging,
                                              possible to observe contemporary society,         young film-makers is well-worth mentoning.
                                              while simultaneously talking about                For example Magdalena Piekorz, whose first
                                              fundamental questions. The leading                feature film, The Welts, was nominated for
                                              representatives of later generations use a        the American Academy Award in the category
                                              similar model. Krzysztof Krauze (1953), in        of foreign film or Wojciech Smarzowski, well
                                              the film The Debt (1999), recreating a real       known in Poland for his film The Wedding
                                              criminal case from the beginning of the           Party, which depicts and ridicules popular
                                              Nineties, asked questions about the legal         Polisch stereotypes and many more. Feliks
                                              limitations on self-defence, but also political   Falk depicts a current criminal case in The
                                              and moral questions – about the price of          Collector (2005). I Characteristic of the
     F I L M




                                              regime change and about the mental                current phase in the development of Polish
                                              preparation required for freedom. In his          cinema are a group of auteur individualists,
                                              film Hi, Tereska (2001), Robert Gliński           conversing with their viewers through the
                                              (1952) showed, through a harsh portrayal          medium of stories about their inner life. One
                                              of the fate of two adolescent girls, how the      of the most consistent auteurs in this group
                                              present collapse in faith and values              is Andrzej Kondratiuk (1936). For years, and
                                              translates into helplessness on the part of       with some success – in films like Spinning
                                              care institutions. The most optimistic of         Wheel of Time (1995) or The Sundial (1997)
| Hi, Tereska, dir. R. Gliński, 2001                                                                                                       film   67




                                                                                                                     | Agnieszka Holland
                                       – he has created a private autobiographical       I
                                       cinema, taking on all possible functions:
                                       scriptwriter, set designer, producer and star.    A Selected Filmography
                                       Polish cinema’s current leading critic,           of Agnieszka Holland
                                       demonstrating in his heroes the bitter fate of    1988 To Kill a Priest – screenplay
                                       the frustrated intellectual, is Marek Koterski         and direction; starring Christopher
                                       (1942), the author of The Day of the Madman            Lambert, Ed Harris
                                       (2002) with a marvellous role for Marek           1990 Europa, Europa – screenplay and
                                       Kondrat, one of the leading Polish actors.             direction; starring Solomon Perel,
                                       The most famous young gun of the Nineties,             Marco Hofschneider
                                       Jan Jakub Kolski (1956), in works such as         1993 Secret Garden – direction; starring
                                       Johnny Aquarius (1993) and A History of the            Maggie Smith
                                       Cinema in Popielawy (1998) has created a          1995 Total Eclipse – direction;
                                       separate world far from civilisation in the            starring Leonardo DiCaprio
                                       remote countryside, where elemental ethical       1997 Washington Square – direction; starring
                                       questions sound most natural. Finally, we              Jennifer Jason Leigh, Albert Finney
                                       should note the fruitful directorial entrance     1999 Third Miracle – direction; starring
                                       of a one-time actor in the “cinema of moral            Ed Harris, Anne Heche
                                       anxiety”, Jerzy Stuhr (1947), who, as the         2001 Golden Dreams – direction; starring
                                       creator of Love Stories (1997) and The Big             Whoopie Goldberg
                                       Animal (2000), has successfully joined the        2005 Copying Beethoven – director; starring
                                       club. I Among the varieties of commercial              Ed Harris, Diane Kruger
                                       cinema, the greatest popularity is enjoyed by
                                       comedy. Cult status has been achieved by          aforementioned Jerzy Stuhr. In the course of
                                       those creators of comedies from Communist         the last decade, his film Killer (1997) was
                                       times who were able to show the absurdity         similarly successful. This tale of a naive cab-
                                       of the everyday functioning of the system in      driver mistaken for a hitman was not just a
                                       their films – Stanisław Bareja (1929–1987),       chance to look satirically at the spiritual
                                       the creator of Teddy Bear (1980), and Marek       state of his countrymen, but also told so
                                       Piwowski (1935), the author of Cruise             well that Hollywood producers have bought
                                       (1970), a film which has delighted new            the rights to an American remake. I An
                                       generations of fans. Today’s specialist in this   important chapter in the tradition of Polish
                                       field is Juliusz Machulski (1955), the creator    film is that of the “artistic” documentary. At
                                       of Sexmission (1983), a hit during the            the Łódź Film School, one of the classics of
                                       Eighties, an amusing pastiche of science-         Polish documentary filmmaking still lectures
                                       fiction, with a role played by the                – Kazimierz Karabasz (1930), the author of
68

                                                                                                                            I
                                                                                                                            The Most Important Awards
                                                                                                                            2006 BAFTA – Tomasz Bagiński Fallen Art
                                                                                                                            2006 Golden Bear at Berlin – Andrzej Wajda
        | Roman Polański and Adrien Brody on the set of The Pianist, 2001




                                                                                                                                 for Lifetime Achievement
                                                                                                                            2005 Oscar – Jan A.P. Kaczmarek for best
                                                                                                                                 score – Finding Neverland
                                                                                                                            2002 Golden Palm at Cannes – Roman
                                                                                                                                 Polański’s The Pianist
                                                                                                                            1998 Golden Lion at Venice – Andrzej Wajda
                                                                                                                                 for Lifetime Achievement
                                                                                                                            1995 Silver Bear at Berlin – Krzysztof
                                                                                                                                 Kieślowki’s Three Colours: White
                                                                                                                            1993 Golden Lion at Venice – Roman Polański
                                                                                                                                 for Lifetime Achievement
                                                                                                                            1993 Golden Lion at Venice – Krzysztof
                                                                                                                                 Kieślowski’s Three Colours: Blue
                                                                                                                            1990 Golden Palm at Cannes for a Female
                                                                                                                                 Role – Krystyna Janda in Ryszard
                                                                                                                                 Bugajski’s The Interrogation
                                                                            the famous 10-minute Musicians (1960),          1985 Golden Shell at San Sebastian – Radosław
                                                                            which Krzysztof Kieślowski, his student, on          Piwowarski’s Yesterday
                                                                            the 100th anniversary of the birth of cinema,   1984 Golden Lion at Venice – Krzysztof
                                                                            placed in his list of the world’s 10 best            Zanussi’s The Year of the Quiet Sun
                                                                            films. The Polish school of documentary         1982 Golden Palm at Cannes for a Female Role –
                                                                            making was based on a particular view of             Jadwiga Jankowska-Cieślak in Karoly
                                                                            reality that creates a generalisation, a             Makk’s Hungarian film Another Way
                                                                            metaphor of destiny. Excellent documentaries    1981 Golden Palm at Cannes – Andrzej
                                                                            (First Love, Hospital) were created by               Wajda’s The Iron Man
                                                                            Krzysztof Kieślowski. The current master of     1980 Silver Bear at Berlin for Best Actor –
                                                                            such film-making is Marcel Łoziński (1940),          Andrzej Seweryn in Andrzej Wajda’s
                                                                            who, during Communist times, made                    The Orchestra Conductor
                                                                            documentaries unmasking the hypocrisy in        1966 Golden Bear at Berlin – Roman
                                                                            the system (Recipe for Life, 1977), and              Polański’s Cul-de-sac
                                                                            currently, in films like 89mm from Europe
                                                                            (1994) or Anything Can Happen (1995),           VHS camera (The Way It Is, 1999). Among
     F I L M




                                                                            seeks situations which best mirror the          other filmmakers, documentary-maker and
                                                                            spiritual condition of contemporary             traveller Andrzej Fidyk (1953) stands out.
                                                                            humankind. One of the most talented             His The Parade (1989), a programme
                                                                            documentary-makers of the younger               reporting on the 40th anniversary of the
                                                                            generation is his son, Paweł Łoziński (1965),   Korean People’s Democratic Republic, is a
                                                                            the creator of an original, private             fascinating metaphor for a totalitarian system.
                                                                            documentary formula, by portraying his          The film Mobile Cinema of Dreams (1998),
                                                                            neighbours in the same tenement with a          a kind of tribute to Indian cinematography
                                                                                                                               film   69




                                                                                                    dir. Andrzej Wajda, 1976
                                                                                                   | Promised Land,
                                                                     I
                                                                     Selected Oscar Nominations
                                                                     2003 The Cathedral, an animated film by
                                                                          Tomasz Bagiński
                                                                     2001 Sławomir Idziak for Cinematography
                                                                          in Black Hawk Down, dir. R. Scott
                                                                     1995 Krzysztof Kieślowski Three Colours:
                                                                          Red – Best Foreign Film
                                                                     1991 Agnieszka Holland Europa, Europa-
                                 | Tango, dir. Z. Rybczyński, 1980




                                                                          Best Original Screenplay
                                                                     1985 Agnieszka Holland Angry Harvest –
                                                                          Best Foreign Film
                                                                     1976 Andrzej Wajda Promised Land –
                                                                          Best Foreign Film
                                                                     1974 Roman Polański Chinatown –
                                                                          Best Film, Best Director
                                                                     1968 Roman Polański Rosemary’s Baby –
and India, the country with the greatest                                  Best Adapted Screenplay
number of films produced annually, won the                           1966 Jerzy Kawalerowicz Pharaoh –
Grand Prix at the Banff Television Festival.                              Best Foreign Film
One of his most recent works, Reed Dance                             1961 Roman Polański A Knife in the Water-
(2001), is a colourful, though pessimistic, tale                          Best Foreign Film
of everyday life and problems in Swaziland, a
small country in southern Africa. According                          Lenica (1928–2001), who worked in the
to a UN report from June 2000, during the                            West for years and the author of animations
next few years over half the teenagers in                            like Labyrinth (1963) or King Ubu (1979),
Swaziland will die of AIDS. Fidyk’s film won                         and also Walerian Borowczyk (1923), the
a World Media Festival prize in Hamburg in                           creator of grotesques like The Concert of Mr
the “society” category, and during the                               and Mrs Kabal (1962). Current leading
Television Fair in Cologne it was counted                            animators are Jerzy Kucia (1942) from
among the world’s top ten television                                 Cracow, an eternal experimenter, known as
productions of 2001. I Polish animation has                          the “Bresson of world animation”, and in
been a fruitful terrain for artistic experiments,                    Warsaw Piotr Dumała (1956), the creator of
at the same time conveying literary and                              original animated adaptations of the world’s
philosophical content. Masters of this art                           literary masterpieces (Gentle Spirit, 1985;
form include the recently deceased Jan                               Crime and Punishment, 2001). A separate
70
         | Grażyna Szapołowska in K. Kieślowski’s A Short Film About Love




                                                                            place in this group is occupied by Zbigniew        has educated many marvellous directors,
                                                                            Rybczyński (1949), the first Polish Oscar          camera operators, actors and production
                                                                            winner for the film Tango (1982), known as         managers, with Wajda, Polański and
                                                                            “the Pope of video”. In works such as Steps        Kieślowski at the head. The second is the
                                                                            (1987), Orchestra (1990) or Kafka (1991), he       Radio and Television Department at the
                                                                            searches for hitherto undiscovered artistic        Silesian University in Katowice. Both
                                                                            and learning opportunities offered by new          institutions also accept students from abroad.
                                                                            technologies such as the High Definition           It assists graduates with a start in Polish
                                                                            System. I In Poland, there are two state-run       television, enabling the creation of fictional
                                                                            film schools. The older and more famous is         debuts as part of the “Generation 2000” cycle.
                                                                            the more than 50-year-old State Academy of         The most interesting of these young
                                                                            Film, Television and Theatre in Łódź, which        filmmakers, like Małgorzata Szumowska

                                                                            I
                                                                            Poland’s Most Respected Camera Operators
                                                                            Andrzej Bartkowiak – Stranger among Us (1992), dir. S. Lumet; Prizzi’s Honour (1985),
                                                                            dir. J. Huston; Terms of Endearment (1983), dir. J.L. Brooks.
                                                                            Sławomir Idziak – King Arthur (2004), Black Hawk Down (2001), dir. R. Scott (Oscar
     F I L M




                                                                            nomination for Cinematography); Proof of Life (2000), dir. T. Hackford; Three Colours: Blue
                                                                            (1993), The Double Life of Veronica (1991), dir. K. Kieślowski.
                                                                            Janusz Kamiński – Schindler’s List (1994), The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997), Saving Private
                                                                            Ryan (1998), Minority Report (2002), dir. S. Spielberg; Jerry Maguire (1996), dir. C. Crowe
                                                                            Andrzej Sekuła – Reservoir Dogs (1992) and Pulp Fiction (1994), dir. Q. Tarantino
                                                                            Piotr Sobociński (1958–2001) – Three Colours: Red (1994), dir. K. Kieślowski; Marvin’s Room
                                                                            (1996), dir. J. Zaks; Twilight (1998), dir. R. Benton.
                                                                                                                                                          film    71
| Stars of Polish and European Cinema: Wojciech Pszoniak,
 Daniel Olbrychski and Andrzej Seweryn in A. Wajda’s
 Promised Land (based on W. Reymont’s novel)




                                                            (Happy Man, 2000), Łukasz Barczyk (I Am           world’s best camera operators. I Film
                                                            Looking At You, Molly, 2000) or Marek Lechki      Studies is also developing in Poland and
                                                            (My City, 2002) enrich homegrown cinema           may be studied at all universities in the
                                                            with the new authorial perspectives of            country. Separate Film Studies courses are
                                                            people educated within a democratic Poland,       available at the Jagiellonian University in
                                                            free from the prejudices and complexes of         Cracow and at Łódź University. Among the
                                                            their parents. I Among the many film              many magazines about film, the most
                                                            festivals organised in Poland, there are three    important are: the academic “Film
                                                            considered most influential. For domestic         Quarterly” and two monthlies, the ambitious
                                                            cinematography, the most important is the         “Kino” (similar to “Cahiers du cinéma”) and
                                                            Polish Festival of Fictional Films in Gdynia      the popular “Film” (similar to “Premiére”).
                                                            (previously, in Gdańsk), founded in 1974,
                                                            where all of the country’s domestic              I
                                                            productions are shown every September –          Polish Oscar Winners
                                                            the Grand Prix are known as “Golden              2005 Jan A.P. Kaczmarek, Finding Neverland,
                                                            Lions”. The richest tradition is possessed by          Best Original Score
                                                            the Cracow Film Festival, in existence since     2002 Roman Polański, The Pianist, Best
                                                            1960, which runs two parallel competitions,            Director
                                                            Polish and International, in which Golden        1999 Andrzej Wajda for Lifetime Achievement
                                                            Hobby Horse and Golden Dragons are               1993 Janusz Kamiński for Cinematography,
                                                            awarded to the best documentaries and the              Allan Starski and Ewa Braun for Art
                                                            best short films. The youngest festival is the         Direction/Set Decoration for
                                                            International Festival of Film Camera                  the film Schindler’s List, dir. S. Spielberg
                                                            Operators “Camerimage”, organised at the         1982 Zbigniew Rybczyński for the animated
                                                            beginning of December every year since                 film Tango
                                                            1993, which awards Golden Frogs to the
72




     PHOTOS BY:
     Blake Mike/REUTERS/FORUM 62
     Bohdziewicz Anna Beata/Reporter 7
     Droździk Piotr 49
     Druszcz Wojciech/Agencja Gazeta 13
     Goebel Anna 51
     Karewicz Marek 35, 36, 37, 39
     Krężel Bogdan 4, 38
     Lempp Elżbieta 11, 12
     Łoś Anna 16
     Malak Daniel 11
     Marekwica Piotr 43, 44
     McLeod Murdo 25
     Okołowicz Stefan 20, 24,
     Papp Judyta 8
     Piotrowska Agnieszka 67
     Plewiński Wojciech 18, 19, 26
     Schuster Łukasz 43
     Słodowski Jan 65, 67
     Studnicki Marek 48, 52, 53,
     Świetlik Andrzej 33
     Tomczyk Piotr 58
     Węgiel Danuta 12
     Witecki Edmund 55, 56
     Wojciewski Krzysztof 65
     Wolska Marta 28




     Reproductions, illustrations and film stills from
     the collections of Modern Art Centre in Warsaw,
     National Film Archives in Warsaw, Starmach
     Gallery in Cracow, Zachęta Gallery in Warsaw,
     Museum of Literature in Warsaw, National
     Museum in Cracow, National Museum
     in Poznań, National Museum in Warsaw,
     National Museum in Wrocław, Regional
     Museum in Nowy Sącz, Art Museum in Łódź,
     Wawel Royal Castle, Heritage Film, Opus Film,
     Sinfonia Varsovia and from the private
     collections of Krystyna Czerni, Łucja Mróz,         Roman Opałka: Description of the World
     Stefan Okołowicz, Krzysztof Penderecki                           1965/1-..., Detal 1-35327
     and Witold Siemaszkiewicz.                                        – a fragment of the picture from p. 61

				
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