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Szymborska’s Drawer 01.02.2013-31.01.2017  Szymborska’s Drawer

On 1 February 2013, the first anniversary of the death of Wisława Szymborska, the exhibition Szymborska’s Drawer opened at Szołayski House, a Department of the National Museum in Krakow (pl. Szczepanski 9).

Wisława Szymborska was the ambassador of the Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art in the Sukiennice (Cloth Hall), which is why the National Museum in Krakow, always grateful for this honour, has made a proposal to the Wisława Szymborska Foundation regarding part of the Nobel Prize laureate’s legacy. Specifically, we proposed to dedicate a few rooms in the recently refurbished Szołayski House to the installation of an exhibition of the poet’s belongings: her collages, knick-knacks, books, and other household items from her apartment with the famous chest of many drawers and bed. We believe that these precious relics should not be stowed away in a warehouse, but available to the public. The Foundation – especially since it now serves as Ambassador of the Gallery in the Cloth Hall – has agreed to our proposal. Together with the Foundation and the exhibition’s designers, we have prepared a place called “Szymborska’s Drawer” – neither a reconstruction of her flat, nor a memorial chamber, but rather an interior arranged in the somewhat surreal spirit so dear to the poet’s heart - says Zofia Gołubiew, Director of the National Museum in Krakow.


The exhibition is a kind of stage set, a three-dimensional collage, in which the poet's belongings are juxtaposed with quotations from her works and photographs of people, places and things, leading the viewer into her private world of poetic imagination and intellectual inspiration.

An interesting object in the drawer is a chest designed by the Nobel Prize winner, in which she kept photographs and other things. How important her furniture was for her is testified by the poem Possibilities in which poet confesses I prefer desk drawers – hence the title of the exhibition. In this exhibition, the chest is hidden behind the door, and can be seen only through a peephole.



The drawers, boxes, lockers and shelves that make up the exhibition arouse curiosity and encourage searching, exploration, and further acquaintance. They contain items collected by Szymborska – masks, old postcards, souvenirs and curiosities, obtained from friends (e.g. a pig with a music box in its tail, a lighter in the shape of a submarine, a miniature chest of drawers given to the poet by Czesław Miłosz). There are also part of Szymborska’s library, numerous photographs taken, for example, under signboards featuring strange or funny names of towns (such as Neandertal), the poet’s ‘workshop’ showing how one of her poems came into existence, and her ‘workshop’ for creating collages.
Everyone can view excerpts from the film by Katarzyny Kolendy-Zaleskiej, Sometimes life is bearable or sit on the Nobel Prize winner’s own couch and hear her read her own poems on a special telephone.

Szymborska’s Drawer is intended as an open, accessible place for the future, as a cultural salon – a meeting place.

The exhibition was organised under the honorary patronage of the First Lady of Poland, Anna Komorowska.

The exhibition was organised by the National Museum in Krakow and the Wisława Szymborska Foundation.

Admission to the exhibition is free of charge.

Advance booking is required for groups. Please call: 12 292 81 85
Curatorial team:
Zofia Gołubiew
Olga Jaros
Sebastian Kudas
Sławomir Pankiewicz
Michał Rusinek
Teren Prywatny (Anna Bojarowicz, Anna Grzywa, Marcin Przybyłko)

Arrangements: Sławomir Pankiewicz, Teren Prywatny.
Prepared by: Katarzyna Bik

Autor: Katarzyna Bik

The Feliks Jasieński Szołayski House

pl. Szczepański 9, 31-011 Kraków The Szolaysky House
  • Monday: closed
  • Tues - Sat: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Sunday: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Honorary patronage of the First Lady of Poland, Ms. Anna Komorowska

The Wisława Szymborska Foundation

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