In the year 2018, the Adam Mickiewicz Institute introduced the VISUAL POLAND Programme with intent to support international dialogue in the field of visual culture. The decision seems to be of singular importance in times when the presence and worldwide recognisability of an artist determine the value of his or her art, while also directly defining its impact. The name of the project was not a thing of chance – it references the field the Institute wishes to focus on in particular over the years to come.
Actions forming part of the VISUAL POLAND Programme will include exhibition projects, broadly defined artistic event promotion, and the initiation and effective management of research projects yielding related seminars, symposiums, and expert meetings. The Programme will comprise another vital theme: the initiation and support – in co-operation with international publishing houses – of publications tying in with Polish visual culture and with Central and East European art, with aspirations to become part of the contemporary canon of art-themed literature.
The direct purpose of the VISUAL POLAND Programme is to discover, introduce and promote major phenomena of Polish visual culture worldwide. Such philosophy is a natural consequence of globalisation in art, and a response to the needs of contemporary culture, whose principles and priorities require exchange of knowledge and experience. Only efficiency in blending in with the context of the international art world will allow universal detection of and appreciation for the historical and contemporary oeuvre of Polish artists, and – consequently – its permanent recording in the legacy of global cultural heritage.
Tasks constituting the very essence of the project include regular and active co-operation with foreign partners, its immediate outcomes including the attendance of Polish artists at reputed artistic events, such as biennials. Key Programme assignments will comprise direct assistance offered to the most talented and interesting personalities of Polish art, such as residency visit options and the facilitation of contacts with curators, critics, galleries, and other institutions recognising international artistic co-operation as part of their statutory responsibilities.
Furthermore, the VISUAL POLAND Programme will reference the exhibiting of phenomena and accomplishments of selected authors of Polish art history. It seems both obvious and necessary to emphasise that political contexts notwithstanding, Polish 20th-century art was frequently considered avant-garde against global trends, while regrettably remaining unrecognised as part of the international canon.