The Beguiling Siren is Thy Crest
Opening: March 25th, 2017, 12 pm
Exhibition from March 25th to June 18th, 2017
The Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw: Wybrzeże Kościuszkowskie 22, Warsaw
The Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw opens in its new premises on the banks of the Vistula with an exhibition entitled “The Beguiling Siren is Thy Crest”. It delves into the cultural connotations of Warsaw’s symbol, and its universality in the context of creating a modern urban identity. Those visiting the newly opened pavilion can view historic materials – works of art and artefacts – as well as creations of modern and contemporary artists inspired by the mythological siren. This exhibition, the first ever of this scale to discuss the siren, aims to portray and activate her potential as a symbol. It combines different takes on hybridity, national identity and mythology.
The relocation of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw to the banks of the Vistula, near the iconic Mermaid monument by Ludwika Nitschowa, presents an opportunity to take a closer look at this seemingly familiar hybrid. The Museum now focuses on the siren, fish-woman armed with sword and shield, a warrior woman, widely accepted symbol of Warsaw’s inhabitants. A retelling of themes connected with the siren is an unconventional answer to the mounting crisis of a language detached from reality, as well as the appropriation, reduction and contortion of symbols themselves.
The title of the exhibition is a quote from a poem by Cyprian Kamil Norwid (one of the great Polish romantic poets), which proved deeply inspiring to the exhibition’s creators. Depictions of the siren have changed so often over the centuries, that the one thing they all have in common seems to be her dualistic, hybrid nature: she is both human and animal. Appearing on Warsaw’s medieval coat of arms is – surprisingly – a half-man, half-dragon figure. The image of the fish-woman became prevalent as late as the beginning of the 18th century. The exhibition focuses on this diversity of forms.
Featured artists: Korakrit Arunanondchai, Evelyne Axell, Alex Baczyński, Zdzisław Beksiński, Louise Bourgeois, Eugène Brands, Agnieszka Brzeżańska, Bernard Buffet, Claude Cahun, Liz Craft, Edith Dekyndt, Christian Dietrich, Leo Dohmen, Drexcyia i Abdul Qadim Haqq, Elmgreen & Dragset, Leonor Fini, Ellen Gallagher, Malarz Goltyr, Justyna Górowska, Zdzisław Jasiński, Dorota Jurczak, Ewa Juszkiewicz, Birgit Jürgenssen, Tobias Kaspar, Marek Kijewski, Aldona Kopkiewicz i Mateusz Kula, Łukasz Korolkiewicz, Gina Litherland, Jacek Malczewski, Witek Orski, Sylvia Palacios Whitman, Pablo Picasso, Krzysztof Pijarski, Aleka Polis, Agnieszka Polska, Karol Radziszewski, Joanna Rajkowska, Carol Rama, Erna Rosenstein, Tejal Shah, Franciszek Siedlecki, Tomasz Sikorski, Penny Slinger, Juliana Snapper, Franz von Stuck, project „Warsaw’s Sirens” (Jacek Łagowski, Danuta Matloch, Katarzyna Opara), Alina Szapocznikow, Stanisław Szukalski, Jerzy Bogdan Szumczyk, Wacław Szymanowski, Dorothea Tanning, Wolfgang Tillmans, Tunga, Anna Uddenberg, Aleksandra Waliszewska, Wojciech Wilczyk, Hannah Wilke, Ming Wong, Marcelo Zammenhoff, Anna Zaradny, Artur Żmijewski.