”WONDER YEARS”. MUSIC. POETRY. PAINTING. THE ‘70S AND ‘80S. AN EXHIBITION AT THE ADAM MICKIEWICZ MUSEUM OF LITERATURE IN WARSAW, APRIL-AUGUST 2009
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The protagonists of this exhibition are not celebrated figures or representatives of elites, but anonymous inhabitants of villages and small towns, accidental passers-by, workers, peasants and young hippies. It was they who in the 1980s rose up from their knees, claimed their dignity and successfully struggled for freedom. Over a hundred photograms on display capture their lives: banal, dramatic, happy or nostalgic, suspended between conformism and heroism. We discover the same faces at weddings, dances, pilgrimages, May Holy Mass services, bus stops, on grey winter city streets, among people queuing up in mud to buy sausages and marching in a May Day parade or in crowds facing ZOMO (Motorized Militia) units in clouds of tear gas. The photograms correspond to more than 200 works of art: paintings, examples of the graphic arts and sculptures, which in an artistic abbreviation show the difficult two last decades of People’s Poland. This image of the “wonder years” would be incomplete without the accompanying sound track prepared by Marek Gaszyński and composed of the powerful rock music and blues of the 1970s and 1980s. For the young generation of the period, such music was a sui generis enclave of freedom and hope as well as friendship and cultural identification. It still resounds with youthful nonchalance and courage and, predominantly, with an immortal wish for constructing yet another republic of dreams, contrary to common sense and the depressing daily life of the “wonder years”.
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