Back to Front. Polish Exhibitions on Show
La Triennale di Milano
Via Alemagna, 6
The exhibition showcases an unknown history of Polish exhibition design and presents it as an independent design field. A reflection on the role of exhibition design in communicating ideas, telling stories, and creating illusions.
Back to Front: Polish Exhibitions on Show is an exhibition about exhibitions, projects that vanish soon after their completion. The purpose of exhibition design is to serve as a background for the objects on display, as visitors focus on individual artifacts and look past the design that brings them together. Back to Front aims to reverse this order, drawing attention to things that are often overlooked or treated as secondary – to bring the back to the front.
This showcase looks at Polish exhibition designs featured in twentieth-century international fairs, world exhibitions and design events. Through the use of attractive graphics, photos and inventive spatial arrangements, these sets are not merely auxiliaries for the display of artifacts but interesting creations in their own right.
The photos that document the exhibitions, held over the three decades after the Second World War, aptly capture the visual and spatial arrangements, which successfully drew attention away from cheap or unattractive products. Yet, among these mass-produced industrial goods, it was also possible to see thoughtfully designed pieces. Back to Front showcases a number of these original designs, surviving in little-known public and private collections.
Through photos, sketches and reconstructed architectural models, it recaptures a small slice of the forgotten history of Polish exhibition design. At the same time, blending historical retrospective with contemporary design, it examines the role exhibitions play in promoting ideas, telling stories, and nurturing dreams.
The exhibition is curated by Katarzyna Jeżowska and is realized by Marcin Kwietowicz, an award-winning Polish architect and designer, and by Marian Misiak, a famous Polish graphic designer
Back to Front is organized by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute as part of the POLSKA 100 international cultural program accompanying the centenary of Poland’s regained independence. The Institute’s program of celebrations includes several hundred cultural events ranging from film productions to exhibitions, concerts and theatre performances. It is financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland as part of the four-year program NIEPODLEGŁA 2017–2021.