Exhibition view, Young Poland: An Arts and Crafts Movement (1890–1918), William Morris Gallery, London, photo by Nicola Tree
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Kitchen Conversations with Julia Griffin about Young Poland: An Arts and Crafts Movement (1890–1918)

Just before the end of the year, Patrycja Rozwora (creator of Kitchen Conversations) travelled to William Morris Gallery (located in Walthamstow, north-east London) to see Young Poland: An Arts and Crafts Movement (1890–1918) exhibition and speak with one of the shows curators, Julia Griffin. 

Young Poland: An Arts and Crafts Movement (1890-1918) is an international research and knowledge exchange project led by the William Morris Gallery and National Museum in Kraków, created in partnership with the Polish Cultural Institute London, co-financed by the Polish Minister of Culture, National Heritage and Sport within the framework of the Inspiring Culture Programme.

The exhibition and publication (created together but independent of each other) explore the decorative and applied arts of the Young Poland (Młoda Polska) period in the context of the international arts and crafts movement. It was made possible by the expertise of three Young Poland Project Curators – Julia Griffin, prof. Andrzej Szczerski and Roisin Inglesby, in collaboration with project manager Kamila Hyska. It is the biggest research project on this topic to this date, when it comes to efforts realized outside of Poland. 

Exhibition view, Young Poland: An Arts and Crafts Movement (1890–1918), William Morris Gallery, London, photo by Nicola Tree
Exhibition view, Young Poland: An Arts and Crafts Movement (1890–1918), William Morris Gallery, London, photo by Nicola Tree

From the end of the 18th-century Poland underwent a successive partition dividing the Polish land between Russia, Austria and Prussia, resulting in the country disappearing from the map of Europe for 123 years. After a couple of failed military uprisings, Polish people understood that making art was the only remaining way to preserve their endangered national identity. The Young Poland movement embraced an unprecedented flourishing of applied arts and the revival of crafts, drawing inspiration from nature, history, rural traditions and craftsmanship.

For this episode of Kitchen Conversations, Julia Griffin (an art historian and curator with a specialization in British art, design and cultural history in the period of 1850-1938) gave a detailed historical background of the Young Poland movement, while at the same time discussing the symbolism behind the exhibited objects and their power of conveying patriotic values. 

Exhibition view, Young Poland: An Arts and Crafts Movement (1890–1918), William Morris Gallery, London, photo by Nicola Tree
Exhibition view, Young Poland: An Arts and Crafts Movement (1890–1918), William Morris Gallery, London, photo by Nicola Tree

The art movement consisted of hundreds of artists, designers, writers, musicians and dramatic writers. Apart from discussing canonic figures such as Stanisław Wyspiański and Stanisław Witkiewicz, Griffin also talked about the lesser known heroes: Karol Kłosowski, Maria Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewska, Maria Witkiewicz and Bronisława Rychter-Janowska. 

The exhibition is open until 30 January 2022.

Christmas-tree decorations originally made and designed at the Kraków Workshops by Zdzisław Gedliczka and others, and recreated by the contemporary designer Dr Anna Myczkowska-Szczerska, Young Poland exhibition at the William Morris Gallery.
Exhibition view, Young Poland: An Arts and Crafts Movement (1890–1918), William Morris Gallery, London, photo by Nicola Tree
Exhibition view, Young Poland: An Arts and Crafts Movement (1890–1918), William Morris Gallery, London, photo by Nicola Tree

Maria Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewska’s radio play, ‘Portrait of Doom’ – https://youngpolandartsandcrafts.org.uk/portrait-of-doom/

read also

One year with Kitchen Conversations summary

Patrycja Rozwora Dec 15, 2021

With the beginning of 2021, Contemporary LYNX began collaborating with artist writer and podcaster Patrycja Rozwora. We started promoting Kitchen Conversations podcast in the Online Weekly section of the magazine. Now, with the year coming to a close and with over 13 hours of conversations in the books, we would like to reflect on the whole series.

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About The Author

Patrycja
Rozwora

Artist and writer. Studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and the Critical Studies Department at the Sandberg Institute. Her ongoing research relates the post-Soviet countries. In 2020, she launched a podcast series called ‘Kitchen Conversations.’

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