In 2018, the Adam Mickiewicz Institute introduced the Visual Poland Programme 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 art event promotion, and the initiation and effective management of research projects including 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 dedicated to Polish visual culture and with Central and Eastern European art with the aspiration to become part of the contemporary canon of art-themed literature.
The key objective of the VISUAL POLAND Programme is to discover, introduce and promote leading 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 ensure universal recognition and appreciation of historical and contemporary works of Polish artists, and consequently their lasting position in the legacy of global cultural heritage.
Key activities in 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. Such initiatives will offer direct assistance 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 showcase phenomena in Polish art and accomplishments of selected Polish artists. It seems necessary to recall that, political contexts notwithstanding, Polish 20th-century art was frequently considered in the avant-garde of global trends, while regrettably remaining unrecognised as part of the international canon.
The best examples are the works of Katarzyna Kobro and Władysław Strzemiński presented by IAM and the Museum of Art at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Gemeentemuseum in the Hague, and the Moderna Museet in Malmo.