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Painting Works Cooperative
Museum of Warsaw, Warsaw
22 Jul 2023 - current


Paulina Włostowska’s mural is a contemporary interpretation of the process of rebuilding the Old and New Town, particularly its final phase, i.e. the creation of large-format decorations on the walls of the reconstructed tenements. This was done by women artists: Krystyna Kozłowska, Zofia Czarnocka-Kowalska, Krystyna Łada-Studnicka and Helena Grześkiewicz. Some of them, alongside designing and creating the paintings, also developed novel plaster colouring technologies. Others – such as Zofia Artymowska and Hanna Żuławska – would go on to have significant, often international or academic artistic careers.

Paulina Włostowska’s paiting work draws directly from the methods developed by the women’s cerative teams. The artist combines visual quotations into a coherent whole, introduces elements of urban ornamentation or decorative motifs taken from archives and photographic documentation. Włostowska includes the profiles of the story’s protagonists – the women painters and artists – into the work itself. She revises their activities, restoring their visibility and presence.

The large-format mural within the Museum’s space also enters into a dialogue with Wojciech Fangor’s Forging the Scythes – a work cerated in 1954 and hidden behind a playwood wall for more than half a century. Włostowska proposes an alternative view of the city’s history, one that departs from the myths of national uprisings and the commeration of armed struggle. She looks at what comes after the war – she commemorates the process of recontruction, emphasising the importance of decorating and beautifying common spaces following their destruction.

Curator: Zofia Rojek

Execution: Paulina Włostowska, Michał Szczęsny Szuwar

Photography: Tomasz Kaczor

Selected artists whose works provided inspiration of the mural: Zofia Artymowska, Julia Berli, Zofia Czarnocka-Kowalska, Halina Centkiewicz-Michalska, Barbara Dega, Helena Grześkiewicz, Janina Ignatowska, Mirosława Karpińska, Krystyna Kozłowska, Teresa Rostworowska, Krystyna Łada-Studnicka, Janina Węgrzynowska, Teresa Wierusz, Irena Wilczyńska, Hanna Żuławska