The Museum of Warsaw has opened its storage doors to Diana Lelonek. The artist has turned her attention to archaeological collections from the site where the Saski Palace stood. The effects of this search can be seen at the Museum headquarters on the Old Town Square. It is the inauguration of a series of artistic interventions within the framework of which the museum collections will be presented in new, surprising contexts.
Museums show only a small fraction of their collections to the public. It is estimated that it is from three to five percent of what they have collected. The collection of the Museum of Warsaw comprises over 300,000 objects, most of which are hidden from the public in storehouses. It was to them that Diana Lelonek was invited. The artist’s gaze was drawn to cardboard boxes full of broken dishes, floor tiles and stucco, leftover food, fish bones and animal bones. Although they do not look like palace treasures, they are remnants of life that took place at various times in the place where the Saski Palace stood. In 2006 and 2008 archaeological excavations were carried out in this area, as a result of which 29 thousand objects were excavated. All of them, cleaned and described, numbered and packed in cardboard boxes, are in the care of the Museum of Warsaw. They are no longer governed by any hierarchy – a chicken bone turns out to be as important as a piece of porcelain.
I was working on the exhibition at the time when decisions were made to implement the great plan of rebuilding the Palace. I was interested in the contrast between the narrative surrounding the Palace and the modesty and ordinariness of these authentic remains. I wanted to show these objects simply as they are in their shared, quiet existence in archaeological storage, – says Lelonek. Lelonek was interested in the status of these finds, their beauty and storage methods. The artist approached them with curiosity and respect – photographing, filming and transferring part of the warehouse interior to the exhibition. In the remains of the building she saw a transitional state between a utilitarian object, a human creation and a geological one. Her fascination with material traces and remnants of human activity, which, when abandoned, take on a life of their own, is part of Lelonek’s artistic practice.
The Artistic Interventions series is an attempt to take a fresh look at the collections of the Museum of Warsaw, both those on display and those lying in storage. We want them to become an inspiration for artists, so that they can be read in completely new ways, relevant to contemporary Warsaw – says Warsaw Museum deputy director and exhibition curator Jarosław Trybuś. - Diana Lelonek’s first work draws attention to the history of things stored in the Museum and the conditions of their duration created by museum practice_ – he adds.