exhibition from the Project Room series

Jagoda Stączek

Kunstkamera. Cabinet of Curiosities

Kunstkamera is an old term meaning a cabinet of curiosities – a private treasury of unusual items. Jagoda Stączek, inspired by the past and this particular phenomenon, decided to create her own panopticon.

The artist grew up in the 1990s in Wałbrzych, a town whose history is woven from the threads of many nations, cultures and states. The coexisting differences and contrasts have taken deep roots in her artistic practice, and collages became her favourite form of expression. In her work, Stączek attempts to capture the wonder and dread that she remembers from stories she once heard, or childhood peregrinations in the attics, markets and streets of Wałbrzych, which on the one hand offers the charms of a Germanic fairy tale, and on the other hand has for many years been the arena of a turbulent political and cultural struggle.

The fates and toils of displaced families, clashing national identities and the horrifying, shadowy plans of the Third Reich add to the difficult and complicated history of the town. In order to engage with this difficult subject, Stączek uses the filter of child-like sensitivity, fairy tales and phantasms – the same ones she used throughout her childhood to create completely new lands and stories from the surviving relics of the old world.

At the exhibition we can admire flowers, insects, animals, various hybrids, anatomical curiosities, skeletons, surreal scenes and anachronistic puzzles. Historical aesthetics, a hint of nostalgia and a sympathy for kitschy small-town parochialism lead us to experience an imaginary world that is not defined by place nor time, but features elements from the past – or rather, our ideas about the past. 

Consistency in using the language of fairy tales as a universal, transboundary medium, the artist's passion for creating analogue, paper collages and objects (some have moving elements – who wouldn’t smile inside at this sight!?) is a nod to the once-popular artistic techniques, an attempt to turn towards a sphere that slowly disappears from our view (or becomes a rare curiosity), and poses a question about the role of imagination in our memory of past events.

  • Text
    • Alicja Gołyźniak
Media partners
The exhibition has been financed by
  • Exhibition opening
    • 26/01/2023 (Thursday)
      • 19:00—22:00
      • Admission free.
  • Exhibition on view through
    • 05/03/2023
      • Admission free on Thursdays.
Tuesday 11:00—19:00
Wednesday 11:00—19:00
Thursday 11:00—20:00
Friday 11:00—19:00
Saturday 11:00—19:00
Sunday 11:00—19:00