Zuzanna Ginczanka. Only happiness is true life. An exhibition devoted to the poet at the Miłosz Festival | Miłosz Festival

Zuzanna Ginczanka. Only happiness is true life. An exhibition devoted to the poet at the Miłosz Festival

Appreciated by the poets of Skamander and Witold Gombrowicz, loved by the Warsaw bohemians for her talent, incredible personality and beauty. The poems by Zuzanna Ginczanka (Zuzanna Polina Gincburg), a Polish-Jewish poet, are full of maturity, considering both her artistic skills, as well as her existential considerations. The figure of the poet herself, for long shrouded in obscurity, became a source of fascinating inspirations for the artists, poets and researchers. Soon she will also be discovered by the participant of the Miłosz Festival and Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow. On the 8th of June at 6:00 PM, the opening of the “Zuzanna Ginczanka. Only happiness is true life” will take place in the History of Photography Museum in Krakow.  The exhibition will run until 15 August 2016.


The exceptional character and the creations of Zuzanna Ginczanka will be presented in the form of archival materials from the collection of the Adam Mickiewicz Museum of Literature in Warsaw. The visitors will have an opportunity to see the manuscripts and photographs from the poet’s private album, as well as contemporary art referring metaphorically to her life and poetry.


This ambitious artistic project reflects the extraordinary nature of the life of one of the most talented, but at the same time one of the most unappreciated women creating in the inter-war period. She grew up in Volhynia, in a cultural melting pot, among Poles, Ukrainians, Russians and Jews. When she arrived at Warsaw in 1935, she quickly became someone to admire because of her talent and unprecedented beauty. She was a poet, a columnist and a translator. She published in Szpilki, Wiadomości Literackie, Skamander, Nowe Widnokręgi and Almanach Literacki. In 1936, at the age of 19, she released her first volume of poetry, O centaurach [On centaurs]. Her poems are filled with sensuality, eroticism and satire, with increasing presence of fear of war and warnings about anti-Semitism.


Her biography is deeply marked by tragic war-time experiences. In September 1939 she was forced to flee to Lviv. She barely survived when she was denounced by the hostess at the house where she stayed. The name of the woman was immortalised in one of the poems, “[***]” (“Non omnis moriar”) – an ironic and bitter account of war. In 1942 Ginczanka left to Krakow and remained in Swoszowice, using counterfeit documents. After being found out because of her appearance, she ran to Krakow. In 1944 she was arrested by the Gestapo in a house at Mikołajska Street. She was shot.


Independence, sensuality, impressive sensitivity and talent. Zuzanna Ginczanka – who was she really? The exhibition devoted to the artist in the History of Photography Museum will be an attempt to find the traces of her thoughts and art, and juxtapose them with the present. The authors show how deeply the character of Zuzanna Ginczanka influenced the artists of the subsequent generations, despite being hidden from the general audience. Now, the participants of the Miłosz Festival will have an opportunity to unveil and engage into an unprecedented dialogue with the poet in the space of art. What will be the result of that meeting?

The artists, whose works will be presented on the exhibition: Bogusław Bachorczyk, Stanisława Celińska, Hubert Czerepok, Alex Czetwertyński, Renata Dancewicz, Marta Deskur, Zuzanna Ginczanka, Maja Gordon, Aneta Grzeszykowska, Dominik Jałowiński, Ninel Kameraz Kos, Eryk Lipiński, Anna Orlikowska, Krystyna Piotrowska, Mikill Skugga, Slavs and Tatars, Maria Stauber, Aleksandra Waliszewska


Co-organisers of the project: Polish Modern Art Foundation, Adam Mickiewicz Museum of Literature in Warsaw, Miłosz Festival, City of Literature Foundation, Krakow Festival Office, Walery Rzewuski History of Photography Museum in Krakow, Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow.


More information about the Festival and the upcoming events will soon appear at: www.miloszfestival.pl


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