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The exhibition ‘A New Beginning. Modernism in the Second Polish Republic’ presents the dynamics and original character of modernism in Poland in the interwar period, using various exhibits for this purpose: from works of art to technical inventions, from architecture to fabric designs, from furniture to everyday objects.
How to design a functional kitchen? Why have spas and sanatoriums become so popular? How to create cities to be useful? The answers to these questions were formulated shortly after Poland regained independence, creating innovative modernisation programmes.
The exhibition deals with the most important aspects of both complex processes – such as building a new state or social reforms – as well as everyday life changing under the influence of technological development. These phenomena are presented against the background of philosophical and globalist debates on the mechanisms of modernisation and their impact on European identity.
The examples of architectural objects, urban concepts and interior design elements presented at the exhibition speak of modernist ambitions to rationalise living space. Examples of painting, photographic and typographic experiments show attempts to deepen and renew human vision. Selected technical devices and their images prove the modernists’ fascination with technology. The representations of nudes, sports competitions and sanatorium facilities are an expression of the modernist politics of the body, while the echoes of the artistic tradition revealed in works of art prove the modernist search for sources of creative inspiration.
Artists, along with many reformers of other areas of human life, experiencing the accelerating modernity, came to the conclusion that art should take an active part in the great work of repairing the modern world and help to create it anew, but without repeating the mistakes of the past.