Polish culture in the Republic of South Korea
Thanks to the involvement of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, the first Polish Pavilion at the Gwangju Biennale will open between 5 and 7 May 2023. Polish artist Małgorzata Mirga-Tas will take part in the Biennale.
The Polish Pavilion takes the form of a public programme entitled the “Postartistic Assembly”. It will feature performances, workshops, sound walks, concerts, discussions, and film screenings. The formula of the assembly is an attempt to respond to the needs of contemporary art, including interdisciplinarity, i.e. the interpenetration of various creative forms. Visual artists reach for tools from other fields: not only music, film, theatre, but also social sciences, political activism, economics, and geology, and do not avoid political issues.
During the three-day event, choreographer Alicja Czyczel will experiment with voice and different forms of coming together and experiencing art with others. Centrala Group (Małgorzata Kuciewicz and Simone de Iacobis) will address the relationship between the city and water and present their methodology, based on, among others, walks, art installations, and material research. Sound artist and musician Paweł Kulczyński will unveil his new composition, creating a communal space for deep listening. Pola Sutryk will present a participatory performance encouraging visitors to transgress the boundaries between art, cooking, and feasting. The events will be accompanied by a sound installation created by the visual artist, Antonina Nowacka.
The (post)artistic practices from Poland will be combined with the activities of invited guests from South Korea: theikkibawiKrrr Collective, the Rice Brewing Sisters Club, and Jeamin Cha, who will present her film entitled “Sound Garden”. Following Sebastian Cichocki’s studio visit to Korea organised by the Korea Arts Management Service in 2022, Korean artists were invited by curators to attend the assembly.
The programme will also include film screening and presentations of work by artists who combine art with education and social work – Jaśmina Wójcik, Alicja Rogalska and the CentrumCentrum collective (Gosia Mazur and Łukasz Jastrubczak). From 7 April to 9 July, films created by the artistic and activist collective Freefilmers from Mariupol will be presented at the Podonam Gallery. The group’s fee will go towards providing humanitarian aid to their local community in Ukraine.
The curators of the Postartistic Assembly are Sebastian Cichocki and Marianna Dobkowska. Sebastian Cichocki is the chief curator of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. Marianna Dobkowska is the co-creator of the residency programme at the Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art. Together with Sebastian Cichocki, she curated the 2021 Postartistic Assembly in Sokołowsko, Poland.
The central theme of this year’s Biennale is “soft like water”. The works of Małgorzata Mirga-Tas will be presented at the main exhibition. The artist has created three new textile-based artworks that celebrate the ordinary and highlight the importance of the community. Working with clothes donated by family and friends allows the artist to breathe “second life into well-worn fabrics.”
Mirga-Tas is a visual artist, painter, sculptor, educator, and activist. She represented Poland at the 2022 Venice Biennale and took part, among others, in the III Art Encounters Biennale in Timişoara (2019), the 11th Berlin Biennale (2020), and Documenta 15 in Kassel.
The Adam Mickiewicz Institute has been present in South Korea since 2012. Among the numerous cultural projects carried out by the AMI, the most important include a 2012 series of events related to film, theatre, dance, and music entitled “Polish October in Korea,” the exhibition “Polish Art: An Enduring Spirit” at the National Museum of Korea in 2015, and the programme of Poland-themed events on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Polish-Korean relations.
Founded in 2000, the Adam Mickiewicz Institute is a national institution dedicated to promoting Polish culture abroad. Its role is to create a lasting interest in Polish culture by organising artistic events all over the world. By 2022 the Institute has completed projects in more than 70 countries on 6 continents. The Adam Mickiewicz Institute is a cultural institution subordinate to the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage in Poland.