Private Mythologies is a long-term project intended to create a permanent space for the international collection of contemporary art of Wrocław Contemporary Museum. It will consist of a series of exhibitions held at two-year intervals. This rhythm, which assumes the evolving nature of the individual presentations, will make it possible to observe the collection development strategy while providing an opportunity to update the artistic statements and search for new contexts for them. Thus the project will use the collection as a critical tool for analysing the strategy of creating, displaying and interpreting museum collections as such.
The exhibition titled Marta’s Birthday, which initiates the Private Mythologies project, is intended to study these relations. It departs from a linear arrangement in order to emphasise the right to artistically express that which is individual, intimate or private, although socially determined. The narrative of the exhibition is based on three general areas. The first one is connected with memory and history, at the level of both preserving past traces and reinterpreting more or less distant realities. The second area concerns the agency of art and its entanglement in utopias, ideologies and social engagement. The third area is related to experiments that determine the individual experience of identity and social interactions, constituting a peculiar method of analysing not only existential issues, but any structures in which we operate or which we question. The title of the first instalment of the project – Marta’s Birthday – is a direct reference to the 1976 film by the Romanian artist Ion Grigorescu, which is presented at the exhibition. Focusing on the story of a family celebration, the film is an example of turning towards the private and analysing an individual’s entanglement in the socio-political context, which is a characteristic features of Grigorescu’s art – and, more broadly, of a number of artists from Central and Eastern Europe living at the time. Both in the film and at the exhibition, privacy is a key factor of sensitising to the surrounding reality.