THE INTERNATIONAL BIENNALE OF ARTISTIC LINEN 'FROM A LOOM TO KROSNO' ('Z krosna do Krosna'. Miedzynarodowe biennale artystycznej tkaniny lnianej)
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It is not by accident that the conception of international presentations of contemporary artistic weaving emerged in Krosno. Its organiser - the Crafts Museum - referred to the traditions of Krosno and the region, which date back to the Middle Ages. Fifteenth-century Krosno was famous for its production of fustian, and Krosno cloth was widely known not only across Polish lands but also in neighbouring countries. The cultivation of flax was among the most universal occupations of the population, and its processing was for centuries one of the most basic branches of the economy. Old tradition was continued by the 'Krosnolen' enterprise which functioned until recently and whose high quality products were acclaimed throughout the world. After the fall of the Krosno weaving industry at the beginning of the 1990s, the local farmers, whose products were no longer demanded, abandoned flax cultivation. The only traces of the splendid weaving traditions were reminiscences, publications, archival material, and a few examples of equipment treated already as museum exhibits. The International Biennale of Artistic Linen is an attempt at protecting the cultural heritage of the region. The Biennale was inspired by Anna Kobak-Pisowacka - an artist-weaver, and Jerzy Pisowacki - an ardent lover of weaving and chairman of the Krosno-based Society of Support for the Fine Arts. The prime objectives of the Krosno Biennale include the popularisation of the history of linen weaving in Krosno and the Carpathian Mts. region, the creation of suitable conditions for displaying works based on linen, the opening of a collection of linen at the Crafts Museum in Krosno, and the promotion of ecological postulates by referring to the tradition of linen weaving. In accordance with the rules, and in reference to the Biennale of Small Woven Forms held in Jelenia Gora, the works submitted for the competition and the exhibition should contain a 75% minimum of linen and a size situating them between a classic miniature and a full-format large composition (i.e. from 25 cm. to 60 cm. length and width). Up to now, Krosno has played host to three editions of the biennale, attended by more than a hundred artists from twenty European, American and Asian countries. The compositions were displayed by galleries and museums in Poland and abroad: Krosno, Rzeszów, Zakopane, Gorlice, the Gallery of the 'Orzel' Linen Works in Myslakowice, at the 27th and 29th International Creative Workshops in Kowary, the Museum in Przeworsk, the Museum of Ukrainian-Ruthenian culture in the Slovak town of Svidnik, in the town gallery and Gocsej Museum in Zalaegerszeg (Hungary), the Institute of Industrial Design in Warsaw, the Sarisska Galeria in Presov, and as an exhibition accompanying the Ninth and Tenth Fabric Triennial in Lódz. A fourth edition of the biennale, an event which has already become part of the calendar of artistic weaving shows not only in Poland but also in Europe, is planned for August 2006.
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