This year the Atlantic Cinema is celebrating the 90th anniversary of its founding. It is the oldest still functioning Warsaw cinema. The ZODIAK Warsaw Pavilion of Architecture feature a special exhibition devoted to cinema buildings – “A Cut of Cinema!” (Polish: “Przekrój kino!”).

Its aim is to present the architectural transitions of local cinemas in the context of the changing needs and expectations of audiences, reflecting social, economic and technological processes. The Pavilion’s space is divided into few thematic areas, including the Atlantic and Iluzjon Cinemas, and the no longer existing Skarpa Cinema, providing the leading motives of each cinema.
On display there are sectional views, floor plans and photographs, with subtle neon light creating a unique atmosphere resembling that of a cinema room.

The accompanying events programme includes cinema history lectures and meetings devoted to architectural issues and national film-making. All events are streamed online on our YouTube channel: tiny.pl/77dcb.

The exhibition is organised by the City of Warsaw.

Exhibition partners:
Oddział Warszawski Stowarzyszenia Architektów Polskich, Centrum Kultury Filmowej im. Andrzeja Wajdy, Kino Atlantic, Kino Iluzjon, Filmoteka Narodowa – Instytut Audiowizualny, Narodowe Archiwum Cyfrowe, Muzeum Neonów, W małym kinie

Media partners:
Aktivist, ARCH, Architektura i Biznes, Architektura Murator, Autoportret, Bryła.pl, Warszawski Magazyn Ilustrowany Stolica

Post-war architecture in the former state-socialist countries has recently become a prominent topic. For a long time it was viewed by the public in a dubious light and against the backdrop of the often bleak personal memories of and lives impacted by the communist regime. Recent expert studies and activities aimed at public education have, however, revealed that the architecture at that time assumed a surprisingly diverse array of forms and that there existed in the region a parallel course of development that anchors the former Eastern bloc within the wider frame of the history of world architecture. The ICONIC RUINS? exhibition thus focuses primarily on politically prominent public investment projects and looks at where the ambitions of power and the creative ideas of architects connected and where they clashed.

The rapid demise of this architecture in recent years as a result of dramatic redevelopment and radical demolitions has prompted unprecedented action on the part of the professional community and academic sphere. The exhibition therefore also tracks the current condition of post-war architecture and combines historical comparisons based on Docomomo International’s methodology with student visions for the future use and transformation of such structures, which were developed as part of a project of the same name run by the Academy of Fine Arts in Bratislava (Studio of Architecture II, III A3, and the Virtual Studio).

The ICONIC RUINS? exhibition seeks to reveal the parallels to be found in the architecture of the four Visegrad countries’ shared state-socialist past and to initiate a broader discussion of the immediate future of the critically at risk cultural heritage of late modernism. The exhibition is part of a large European project titled Shared Cities: Creative Momentum aimed at mapping the shared history of socialist architecture in Central Europe. The ICONIC RUINS? exhibition was created as part of Shared Cities: Creative Momentum – an international network for creative discourse at the intersection of architecture, art, urbanism and the sharing economy. From 2016 to 2020, Shared Cities is bringing together eleven partners from seven major European cities (Belgrade, Berlin, Bratislava, Budapest, Katowice, Prague and Warsaw) with the ambition of showing urban citizens that their participation and cooperation is essential for creating a pleasant and valuable urban environment. The project Shared Cities: Creative Momentum is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

Czech Centres are a contributory organisation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, established to promote the Czech Republic abroad. The network of Czech Centres abroad is an active tool of the foreign policy of the Czech Republic in the area of public diplomacy.

But why construct more monuments? And who needs another exhibition about them? Aren’t monuments obsolete? And most of all: in light of all the conflicts erupting over monuments, shouldn’t we discard this medium once and for all?

It seems that we can’t just give up on them – the stake is too high. These public media of memory are just as much about the present and about the conceivable futures, as they are about the past. They are just as much about visualizing a set of desirable social roles, ways of understanding the public sphere, power and community, as they are about canonizing a set of heroes, values, and historical events. Paradoxically, in an age dominated by uncountable, elusive and free-floating images, these heavy, static elements of the urban landscape still have the capability of generating strong emotions, of gaining new meanings and unexpected agency.

It is then not only the ‘content’ of monuments that is important, but also their forms. Pedestals, bronze, enormous figures are ways of establishing a relation between the public and history. They don’t leave much space for dialogue, coercing us into consent and acceptance. A past, represented by static, unattainable stone figures, is in many ways supposed to be just like them – unambiguous, individualistic, authoritative. It’s a history supposedly shaped by outstanding, unwavering heroes and breakthrough events. That is why it would not be enough to use the form of the traditional monument to memorialize even the most progressive and revolutionary male and female heroes, who fought in the name of emancipatory values. The available pedestals and mold structures will simply not accommodate subjects and phenomena from outside of the traditional canon. Subjects (or rather communities) and events (or rather processes) that have hitherto not been represented in the monumental canon need formulas corresponding to their qualities.

Monument prototypes
Karolina Brzuzan, Róża Duda i Michał Soja, Piotr Łakomy, Olga Micińska, Dominika Olszowy, Daniel Rycharski, Łukasz Surowiec.

Exhibition
Józef Gałązka, Karolina Gołębiowska, Daniel Malone i Stanisław Welbel, Gizela Mickiewicz, Jan Możdżyński, Franciszek Orłowski, Witek Orski, Krzysztof Pijarski, Liliana Piskorska, Aleka Polis, Alicja Rogalska, Szymon Rogiński, Daniel Rumiancew, Anna Shimomura, Łukasz Skąpski, Zbiorowy Collective.

Curators
Łukasz Zaremba, Institute of Polish Culture, University of Warsaw / Szymon Maliborski, Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw

Project management
Joanna Turek

Production
Maja Szybińska, Joanna Turek, Zofia Zajkowska

Exhibition Architecture
Aleksander Wadas Studio: Weronika Marek, Anna Odulińska, Aleksander Wadas

Detailed design of monuments
Magdalena Romanowska

Key visual and graphic design
Edgar Bąk Studio

Collaborators of research teams
Social research team managed by Maja Głowacka and Zofia Sikorska; research team: Katarzyna Bartosik, Anna Gańko, Bartłomiej Jankowski, Ludmiła Kruszewska, Alexandra Senn, Krzysztof Średziński

Monument Research Team of the Department of Landscape Art at SGGW, managed by doctor ingeneer Kinga Rybak-Niedziółka; research team: dr inż. Anna Długozima, dr inż. Ewa Kociacka-Beck, dr inż. Izabela Myszka, mgr Daria Szarejko, mgr Rafał Myszka oraz Mateusz Wieczorek

Editing and proofreading
Justyna Chmielewska, Kacha Szaniawska

Translations
Mohamed Mahmoud, Anna Marciniak, Magda Szcześniak, Agnes Monod-Gayraud

Production of set design elements
Studio Robot (Krzysztof Czajka, Łukasz Wysoczyński)

Realization
Jakub Antosz, Marek Franczak, Piotr Frysztak, Szymon Ignatowicz, Artur Jeziorek, Paweł Sobczak, Marcin Szubiak, Michał Ziętek

Promotion
Paweł Brylski, Kacha Szaniawska, Iga Winczakiewicz, Magdalena Zięba-Grodzka

Educational program
Dominika Jagiełło, Marta Przasnek, Marta Przybył, Katarzyna Witt, Zespół Użyj Muzeum

Photo documentation
Daniel Chrobak

Cooperation
Paweł Bojemski, Kinga Cieplińska, Joanna Kasperowska, Jerzy Klonowski, Agnieszka Kosela, Andrzej Kowalski, Krakowski Chór Rewolucyjny, Katarzyna Król, Anna Nagadowska, Dagmara Rykalska, Katarzyna Sałbut, Igor Szulc, Daniel Woźniak, Artur Wosz, Piotr Wójcik, Katarzyna Zachara, Szymon Żydek

Acknowledgements

  • Aldona Machnowska-Góra, Dyrektor koordynator ds. kultury i polityki społecznej Biura Kultury m.st. Warszawy
  • Hanna Jakubowicz, Dyrektor Zarządu Mienia m.st. Warszawy
  • Anna Brzezińska-Czerska, Monika Komorowska, Biuro Architektury i Planowania Przestrzennego Urzędu m.st. Warszawy
  • Arkadiusz Pawlak, Małgorzata Smoktunowicz, Biuro Rozwoju Gospodarczego Urzędu m.st. Warszawy

and
Olga Bilewicz, Philomène Dupleix (Villa Arson, Nicea),Tomasz Fudala, Bartłomiej Gowin (Gowin & Siuta Sp.j.), Bartek Górka, Mateusz Halawa, Julia Kern, Kinga Kurysia, Éric Mangion (Villa Arson, Nicea), Michał Pospiszyl, Olga Rosłoń-Skalińska (Zarząd Zieleni m.st.Warszawy), Jacek Sosnowski, Klaudia Podsiadło, Adam Przywara, Marcus Seidner, Szymon Sławiec, Magda Szcześniak, Marek Szołtun (Szołtun Kamieniarstwo), Marta Wódz, Adrian Zatorski (ZAB-BUD), Agnieszka Żuk.

More information on the 11th edition of the Warsaw under Constuction festival website.