MSŁ is an attempt to look at the space of the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź “against the grain”, evoking its specificity. The uniqueness of the Muzeum Sztuki as an art museum stems from the fact that it was arranged in a facory owner’s palace and not in a building specifically designed for that purpose. That is why in its exhibition spaces one finds so many peculiarities that render the rules governing the construction of exhbition spaces opaque, subverting the exhibitionary order. The project is divided into several parts, each addressing a different aspect of that site.
The first part consists of a record of the exhibition space from a “mouse’s” perspective. It turns out that close to the baseboards unusual things happen. While in the majority of museums the infrastructure is neatly hidden to present to the viewer a space perfectly clean and autonomous, here it is full of cables, connectors, various devices, and the famous constructivist furniture. Onlt from time to time a work of art appears – the base of a sculpture, a fragment of an installation, or Edward Krasiński’s blue line, flowing down to the floor. The baseboard, marking out the horizon of the first series of photographs can be read as a reference to Krasiński’s line. Not only does this visual element suggest the spatial continuity of those pictures, but also underlines the temporal aspect of their perception.
The second part is dedicated to the “hidden” spaces of the Mzeum Sztuki. The photographs show thin slices of space between the windows of the former palace, and the hanging walls of the museum’s exhibtion space. Those spaces, who – although soliciting their attention – remain inaccessible to the museum visitors, have a life of their own, on the margins of the grand narrative of art. At the same time, they are transitory spaces of sorts, where the past tense of the palace is transformed into the present tense of the museum, and living space becomes archival space.
What was only marginally apparent in the first parts becomes the center of the last one – the works from the museum’s collection themselves, but not in their “original” configuration that has become part of the collective memory. The photographs depict constellations of works that were created during the second and third “sketch” of the collection. As sketches of sketches, so to say, they show the famous collection already in a state of flux; dubbed “sketches” by their curators, the successive transformations of the permanent exhibition in the year preceding the move seemed to be preparing the viewer for what was just about to happen.
The project came into being just before the collection of the Muzeum Sztuki was transferred to its new, postindustrial home. Many questions and doubts accompanied this change, before all concerning the fate of the Neoplastic Room. In this respect, MSŁ is a last, melancholic look at a legendary museum that is about to change beyond recognition. Irremediably belated, because changes were already underway, this gesture’s aim was to grasp this moment of instability. Only the margins of the former home of the collection are indices of time that before our eyes becomes a time past. MSŁ can be seen as a snapshot of this transitory moment “between”.
MSŁ was my diploma at the Łódź Filmschool, prepared under the tutelage of prof. Krzysztof Cichosz.
I would like to thank Jarosław Suchan, Zenobia Karnicka, and Magdalena Ziółkowska, without the goodwill and help of whom this project would have been impossible, and my advisor, of course, who helped me to nudge the project in the right direction.