Exhibition in Milan. 1959. Wojciech Zamecznik
Tuesday April 17
10:30 am – midnight
Wednesday, April 18 – 22
10:30 am – 10:00 pm
A tribute to the architecture of Polish exhibitions from the 1950s and 1960s –a forgotten yet fascinating moment in the history of exhibition design.
This project is organized by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and is part of POLSKA 100, an international program of cultural events celebrating 100 years of Polish independence.
Back to Front is an exhibition about exhibitions. Created to display objects to visitors, temporary exhibition structures often disappear in the background. Back to Frontswitches the focus onto the structures of exhibition design, bringing them to the fore, and showcases exhibition architecture from an often forgotten yet fascinating time and place in the history of exhibition design: Poland in the 1950s and 1960s.
The exhibition, a tribute to this moment in time, is organizedby the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and is part of POLSKA 100 –the international cultural program celebrating 100 years of Polish independence. The aim of the Institute’s robust programof cultural events is to strengthen Poland’s image as a country of rich traditions, with a modern culture that draws on the past and forms an important element of contemporary European identity.
Back to Front is an evocative exhibition featuring sketches, black and white photos and replicas of three-dimensional structures, all of which define a moment of Polish creativity that continues to inspire the world of exhibition design today.Back to Frontshines a light on a historical period in which Poland, re-emerging from the destruction of WWII, developed a distinctive and highly specific language of exhibition architecture. A new school of exhibition design developed in Poland during the 1950s and 1960s. This movement had its own identity and independent form of artistic expression, which could trace its roots to the great universal exhibitions of the 1920s and 1930s –where Polish pavilions were famed for their inventiveness and creativity.
For the context of the Back to Front, imagine life behind the Iron Curtain after the Yalta Conference. Poland’s most creative minds found themselves living in a country that could only dream of national independence and freedom of expression. The great international fairs and exhibitions provided a refreshing sense of open-mindedness and an opportunity to interact with diverse visions from around the world. Constrained by political propaganda and economic considerations, they produced a new architectural code for exhibition design. Formal research was incentivized by the sheer lack of items on display. Exhibition structures had to compensate for this lack and a new expressive architectural language was born. This included paintings, sculpture,design and graphics –all innovatively combined to play an important role in exhibition layouts.
As described by exhibition curator, Katarzyna Jeżowska, Polish exhibition design during the inter-war period was known for its unprecedented multi-disciplinary style. It was brought to life by a small yet vibrant community of designers, applied arts experts, filmmakers, photographers, artists, graphic designers and musicians.
Milan Design Week brings international visibility to this unique form of expression, inviting visitors from around the world to reconsider contemporary exhibition architecture and to gather future ideas from this extremely fertile moment in the history of exhibition design. Back to Frontwill open to the public on April 17th at La Triennale Museum in Milan.