“Palindrom” (“Palindrome”) is the title of a great exhibition, which closing day took place just three days ago in Sopot National Gallery of Art (Sopocka Państwowa Galeria Sztuki – PGS). As some of you have noticed, it is another article about the exhibition in PGS. What can you do, this gallery is just great (everyone should go there)!

But to the point.

The term palindrome is a word which reads the same backward and forwards. In the past, people gave these words magical meaning.
I’m not surprised by the title. Artistic talents and creative expression itself are a remarkable phenomenon.

Curator of the exhibition – Robert Kuśmirowski – faced a major challenge. He compiled works by famous artists (Althamer, Hasior, Juszczkiewicz, Wróblewski and many others) with the work made by people living in psychiatric hospitals or during treatment, who participated in creative workshops as a part of their recovery. Works were positioned so that the visitors weren’t entirely sure which work were made by who (authors’ signatures were removed or hidden). And with the works of Hasior, Juszczkiewicz or Wróblewski, I didn’t have much trouble in finding which is which. This wasn’t that easy with the rest. This was the most fascinating feature of this exhibition. The first time, I felt really “free”, watching the works. I didn’t feel the pressure that one piece is worth looking on more closely than another, just because there is a famous name behind it.

Each visitor must have felt uneasy, going into the exhibition hall. There were often some gruesome works hanging on white walls. However, on closer inspection, you could see the joy in some works (I wonder whether psychotropic drugs had impact on it). Mixing multiple artistic methods, such as paintings, watercolours, installations, books related to the human anatomy and the one sculpture of a boy dragging his head against the wall (see the picture below, on slider), could cause some kind of transfer to the reality of an artist or a mentally ill person. It seems to me, that the curator decided on this combination for some reason, these two states are not so far apart.

A multitude of forms and colours prevailed during the exhibition. These are things which you definitely want to watch. Moving away from boring academic exhibitions, in favour of people – about what they have in their heads – it is an approach that can encourage masses of young people to go to the gallery or museum.

And this is the view from this room in PGS (you can’t go closer to the pier).

Artists invited to the exhibition:

Justyna Adamczyk, Philip Akkerman, Paweł Althamer, Alexander Z. Architekt, Stefan Bertalan, Marek Bogdaszewski, Dobrawa Borkała, Renata Bujak, Michał Chudzicki, Martin Creed, Aleksandra Czerniawska, Henryk Cześnik, Mariusz Czeżyk, Pati Dubiel, Paweł Dunal, Stanisław Dunkiewicz, Marta Fic, Willem Van Genk, Tadeusz Głowala, David Grant, Paweł Hajncel, Władysław Hasior, Lidia Jabłonowska, Piotr Janas, Ewa Juszkiewicz, Filip Kalkowski, Feliks Kołysko, Robert Korzeniowski, Andrzej Kot, Paweł Kowal, Mikołaj Kownacki, Grzegorz Kozera, Sebastian Kularski, Marek Kurpis, Robert Kuśmirowski, Gerard Van Lankveld, Aniel Leśna, Agnieszka Łukaszewska, Barbara Łowkis, Natalia Maciocha, Konrad Maciejewicz, Agnieszka Majewska, Francis Marshall, Dirk Martens, Karolina Matyjaszkowicz, Monika Mausolf, Sylwia Mensfeld, Michał Mroczka, Daniel Mróz, Sofie Müller, Jan Olszak, Roman Opałka, Krzysztof Opioła, Anna Panek, Andrzej Partum, Tomasz Piśniak, Tomasz Płonka, Szymon Popielec, Tomasz Preficz, Jakub Ptaszyński, Kaja Renkas, Joanna Rusinek, Andrzej Sobiepan, Agnieszka Sobczak, Edward Sutor, Ryszard Stachyra, Jacek Staniszewski, Włodzimierz Stepuro, Mateusz Szczypiński, Anna Szprynger, Mirosław Śledź, Andrzej Tobis, Felix Tuszyński, Władysław Wałęga, Johnson Weree, Michał Wiśniewski, Aleksander Woźniak, Leszek Zając, Joanna Zastróżna, Marcin Zawicki, Jan Zieliński, Jakub Julian Ziółkowski and others.

The work on display comes from the following collections:

Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology in Warsaw, Centre for Long-Term Psychiatry in Stronie Śląskie, Dr. Józef Babiński Specialist Hospital in Kraków, Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital in Lublin, Regional Hospital for Neuro-Psychiatric Patients in Świecie, Psychiatry Centre of Świętokrzyskie in Morawska, Mental Health Centre in Gdynia, Galeria Bielska BWA, MOS Gorzów Wielkopolski, Grażyna Kulczyk, Foksal Gallery Foundation, Guido Costa Projects, Turin, Johnen Galerie Berlin, Museum Dr Guislain in Ghent, SPATIF Sopot.

translation: Agnieszka Wawiórko