Poland

The Polish Jews Return through Venice

In the 1920s, the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs founded a Committee for the Promotion of Polish Art Abroad, which aimed at acquiring a building in the area of Giardini. Previously, the city of Venice had offered Poland the opportunity to purchase the German Pavilion as post-war Germany was heavily in debt and Poland could have paid off the remaining payments. However, the Committee ultimately turned down the offer.

In 1931, the city authorities constructed an additional building for the Biennale and expanded the gardens onto the Island of Saint Helen, across a small canal from the existing Giardini. Designed by the Italian architect, Brenno Del Giudice, the new structure would host the pavilions of Poland, Romania, Egypt, and Yugoslavia, as well as the Pavilion of Venice. The costs of the construction for the section dedicated to Poland were estimated at 200,000 lira. In the rear of the Polish Pavilion, the emergency exit opens directly out to the street to the less traveled eastern part of Venice and might serve as a secret passage into the Biennale.

Since 1999, the exhibitions have been chosen through a competition organized by the National Gallery of Art – Zacheta. In 2011, an Israeli artist, Yael Bartana, was the first non-Polish artist to be presented in the pavilion. Her project, The Jewish Renaissance Movement to Poland, called for a return of 3 million Jews to Poland, thus furthering the debate about reconciliation between Poles and Jews. Has her contribution allowed the Polish Pavilion – crowned by the large title “Polonia” – to be understood as a shelter for a diasporic exile?

Sebastian Cichocki and Joanna Warsza

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Pavilion

Organizer/Commissioner:
Ministry of Culture and National Heritage
Artist:
Konrad Smoleński
Curators:
Agnieszka Pindera; Daniel Muzyczuk
Budget provided by the state:
PLN 700,000 (€ 166,740)
Open Call?
Yes
Selection procedure:
The Ministry appointed a jury that selected a project. Zacheta National Gallery of Art is the organizing institution.

Curator

Name:
Agnieszka Pindera
Gender:
Female
Born:
Poland, 1981
Lives and works in:
Poland
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1

Curator

Name:
Daniel Muzyczuk
Gender:
Male
Born:
Poland, 1980
Lives and works in:
Poland
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1

Artist

Name:
Konrad Smoleński
Gender:
Male
Born:
Poland, 1977
Lives and works in:
Poland and Switzerland
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1
Represented by galleries in:
Warsaw

Politics & Economics

State System:
Unitary parliamentary republic
Ruling Political Party:
Centre-right Civic Platform in coalition with centrist Peasants Party
Population (World Bank, 2011):
38,534,157
GDP per capita (World Bank, 2011):
$13,352
Unemployment (World Bank, 2011):
9.6% of the labor force
World Bank credit:
$200,790,000
Net OECD ODA Aid Donated (2011):
$435,080,000
Military Expenditure (SIPRI, 2011):
$9,355,000,000

Alliances


Coalition of the Willing
IMF debt
World Bank debt
International Criminal Court recognized
NATO
OECD
Former Warsaw Pact
WTO

Conflicts

Country independent since:
1918
Last Major Border Revision:
1951
Global Militarization Index (BICC, 2011):
79
Nuclear Force?
No
Participation in Multinational Missons:
NATO missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo. UN peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan, Congo, Ivory Coast, Kosovo, Liberia, Sudan, and Western Sahara. EU mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina.