Adopted Objects: The Exhibition

The exhibition showcases the results of an ethnographic-cum-artistic project carried out in Wrocław and Szczecin in 2019-2022. The project was concerned with things dating to the period before and during World War II that have been preserved by those who arrived the cities in and after 1945.

Adapted Objects

What are the attitudes of contemporary citizens of Wrocław and Szczecin towards the cities’ heritage from before 1945? Can objects dating to the prewar period be found in today’s homes? And if so, how did they get there? What is their connection to their current owners? What place do they occupy in the hierarchy of their respective owners’ possessions?

These questions are addressed in the photographs by Łukasz Skąpski featured at the present exhibition alongside privately-owned objects and personal stories about them, and their interpretations from an anthropological perspective.

The objects, loaned by people interviewed in the field study, and the artist’s photographs reveal relationships between humans and objects, different ways the objects are treated and spoken about: destroyed, neglected, appropriated but also adopted, rescued, and appreciated. Some are displayed, others put away, hidden out of sight. Some have continued to be used by the respective family’s successive generations. There are also cases of resilience, like the poppies in a garden in the Wrocław neighborhood of Sępolno that have kept growing back despite repeated efforts to replant or remove them.

The objects featured at the exhibition are not passive artefacts. They are active in their relationships with people, they provoke the owners to act and take a stand, to make up their mind and update values. They reveal new phenomena, for example the role of social divisions in narratives about objects. These objects demonstrate that their borderline condition – between Polish\ness and Germanness, rubbish and vintage, the desirable and the problematic, reflects the extant reality much better than time-honoured divides and strictly defined categories.

Exhibition curators: Marta Derejczyk, Anna Kurpiel, Katarzyna Maniak
Photographs: Łukasz Skąpski
Exhibition design: Magdalena Gazur
Producers: Jarosław M. Gawron, Filip Kuźniar

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