A Taste Of What’s To Come: Warsaw MoMA

BY Katrina Kufer / Apr 4 2017 / 15:37 PM

The Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw opens its doors by paying homage to the Polish city’s icon, the mermaid

 A Taste Of What’s To Come: Warsaw MoMA
Image courtesy of the artist
Juliana Snapper. You who will emerge from the flood, photo: Miha Fras, Aksioma. 2009.

While Warsaw MoMA won’t open until 2020 in its final destination, a new building in Plac Defilad, it hasn’t prevented the institution from giving the public a glimpse into its future programming. Currently located at the Museum on the Vistula, it inhabits a sizeable portable structure that was originally installed in Berlin from 2008-10 as the Temporaere Kunsthalle. Due to Warsaw MoMA’s collaboration with the Vienna-based Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21) foundation, the ber-cement panel building has become an edgy, experimental temporary exhibition space for the museum on loan until its final space is ready.

Inaugurating the space and setting the groundwork for the new museum is the exhibition The Beguiling Siren Is Thy Crest, on until 18 June. Curated by Joanna Mytkowska and Marta Dziewańska, the exhibition revolves around interpretations of Warsaw’s insignia Syrena, or the mermaid, which has decorated the city’s coat of arms since the early 18th century – the exhibition also (coincidentally) exists a short distance from Ludwika Nitschowa's public monument Syrena (1939). The title is drawn from a poem by Cyprian Kamil Norwid, a noted Polish Romantic poet, who reminds readers and viewers alike that the siren is an anthropomorphic hybrid that is both beautiful yet dangerous. Intending to evoke the complex, dualistic relationships the mermaid represents, almost 150 pieces by heavy-hitting artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Elmgreen & Dragset, Pablo Picasso and Wolfgang Tillmans, are included alongside historical artefacts and manuscripts.

The works address the idea of the siren directly and conceptually, and this is the largest exhibition ever staged devoted to exploring the theme.

The Beguiling Siren Is Thy Crest runs until 18 June 2017 at The Museum on the Vistula, Warsaw, Poland. For more information visit artmuseum.pl