During the Thursday evening meeting in Zakopane, the artist and curators explained that the design, shape, and motifs of the twelve fabrics refer to the famous “calendar” series of Renaissance frescoes from the Palazzo Schifanoia in Ferrara, Italy. The 12-month calendar cycle is painted on the walls of the 15th-century palace, and the same is true for the Polish Pavilion in Venice, where 12 canvases will also appear as 12 months.
“The three-lane structure of the work was taken directly and duplicated from Palazzo Schifanoia. As in an Italianate palace of the fifteenth century, each of the twelve canvases was divided into three horizontal stripes, according to a certain rule,” explained Wojciech Szyminski, curator exhibition.
The top lane displays plots from the stories of Rome as they wander across Europe. As the artist explained, this is a direct reference to the work of the seventeenth century French graphic artist Jacques Calot, who painted the life of gypsies, whom Europeans in the seventeenth century considered Egyptians to roam around Europe.
However, Callot’s drawings were pejorative and stereotypical towards Roma. Drawing on these drawings, I gave them not only color, but also dignity, and they reflected the negative stereotype of gypsies. I rendered characters from Callot’s drawings on canvas and added some elements. This is the restoration of meanings, I have presented what was a picture of contempt for the Roma minority from the point of view of the Roma minority. The artist explained that gypsies are often presented in a negative light by others.
The middle path relates to the archive of its history – a reference to the historical roles of Romani women. Merga Tas depicted her relatives and women who were very important to the Roma community and the creation of the culture of this minority.
“In the middle bands of drapery they will find signs of constellations and representations of Rumyk, who, for example, are involved in politics, or women who lead an ordinary home life, but who are very strong personalities who take care of themselves and themselves. They raise children like my grandmother Joseph. And there will be, too. A portrait of Alfrida Markowska, who saved children from German extermination during the war, and a portrait of Babusza and many other Romani figures,” Magorzata Muerga told TASS.
The lower strip of fabrics will introduce threads from the life of the village of Czarna Gora, where the artist comes from. Here, the artist was often inspired by the portraits of her uncle Andre Mirga, an ethnographer who in the 1970s made a series of portraits illustrating the life of gypsies in the Czarna Gora.
The curator, Joanna Warza, explained that the lower corridor is at the level of the viewer’s eyes. The characters depicted are in real form, so the observer will become part of the picture.
Historian, art critic and curator Wojciech Szymański explained that in the part of the tapestry where the life of gypsies from Czarna Jura is illustrated, court life is presented at Palazzo Schifanoia in Ferrara.
“In Ferrara, people who entered the palace in the 15th century could identify themselves in the paintings. It is the same in the work of Małgorzata Mirga-Tas. The middle aisle was originally in Schifanoi an astronomical representation of the ancient astronomers – decans, constellations. Szymański said” The upper corridor of the palace was the place where the Olympian deities were presented.”
Szymański added that the drapery in the Polish Pavilion in Venice would form an installation of twelve large tapestries. In addition, the front elevation of the Polish wing will be covered with an oversized canvas with the image of the legendary Wheel of Fortune.
Joanna Warsz noted that the artist’s work from one of Poland’s minorities, the Roma, will be shown for the first time in the National Pavilion during the Venice Biennale of the Arts. She also stressed that Roma constitute the largest social minority in Europe – 12 million people. During the Venice Biennale, the Rome Pavilion was on display for several years, but as an additional event. This time, the Roma artist will be exhibiting the art in the Polish National Pavilion.
Szymański in turn noted that the 59th Venice Biennale would be a special event, also for several other reasons.
“While Małgorzata Mirga-Tas is the first Romanian woman to present any national pavilion at this event, for example, the North Pavilion will also be represented by the indigenous minority from the North – Sami. In the French Pavilion, for the first time, there will be a presentation by an Algerian-born artist. In Venice, for the first time in history, a black female artist will present her art in the American Pavilion,” Szymański noted.
The Venice Biennale is scheduled to open on April 23. The 59th International Art Exhibition of Ś La Biennale di Venezia will end on November 27. Poland’s participation in the event is funded by the Ministry of Culture, National Heritage and Sports of the Republic of Poland. The organizer of the exhibitions at the Polish Pavilion is the Zachota National Gallery of Art.
Małgorzata Mirga-Tas, a Polish-Romanian artist and activist from Czarna Góra near Zakopane, takes up the issue of anti-gypsy stereotypes, establishing positive iconography for Roma communities. She graduated from the High School of Art in Zakopane. Anthony Kanar. She graduated from the Sculpture Department of the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. Her work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including: the 11th Berlin Biennale, Art Encounters Biennale in Timi Orr, 3rd Highway Biennale in Prizren, at the Moravian Gallery in Brno, Polish Sculpture Center in Oronesko, Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum in Cologne. The artist lives and works in her hometown of Czarna Gora.
Majorzata Mirga Tas prepares her work for the Venice Biennale with curators – Joanna Warsa, CuratorLab Director of Curator Studies at Konstfack University in Stockholm, and Wojciech Szymański, historian and art critic.
The title of the exhibition in the Polish pavilion “Przeczarowając świat” is inspired by Silvia Federica’s book “Re-Magic of the World”. Feminism and the Politics of the House of Commons”, which proposes “The Magic of the World” as a way to restore the idea of community and rebuild relationships with others, including animals, plants, water, and mountains.
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