Statement of the Board of the ZW Foundation in regards to the removal of the artwork by Natalia LL from the permanent exhibition of the 20th and 21st century art at the National Museum in Warsaw
We were deeply saddened to hear that the artwork of Natalia LL "Consumer Art" was removed by the authorities from the permanent exhibition of the 20th and 21st century art at the National Museum in Warsaw. One of the most important activities of the ZW Foundation are: looking after the creative activity of Natalia LL, the creation of the Archive of Natalia LL, conducting research on the artistic achievements of the artist and creating a library about her achievements.
The works of Natalia LL can be found in many of the most important museums around the world. Last year Centre Pompidou bought a series of Natalia LL’s works for their permanent collection in Paris. The recently opened Susch Museum, founded by Grażyna Kulczyk, presents the work of the artist in one of their galleries among other iconic, international, female artists. The works of Natalia LL can be also seen in other prestigious institutions in Poland and abroad such as: Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, Frauen Museum in Bonn, Ludwig Museum in Cologne, International Centre of Photography in New York, Städtische Kunstsammlungen in Dresden, and many others. Natalia LL as one of the most important artists of the second half of the twentieth century has received numerous awards including: Silver Medal "Zasłużony Kulturze Gloria Artis" (2017), Katarzyna Kobro Award (2013), and Rosa Schapire Art Prize (2018).
In the last couple of days numerous reports have appeared in the news and on the internet about the removal of Natalia LL’s work, among other artists’ works, from the permanent exhibition. On Friday, April 26, 2019, we contacted the National Museum in Warsaw to confirm the information. We learned that the artist's work was indeed removed, but no one was willing to give us any valid reasons. We managed to confirm, however, that the work was not removed for conservation purposes. Soon after, some public statements by the authorities were made, including the commentary of the director of the National Museum in Warsaw, prof. Jerzy Miziołek. According to Gazeta Wyborcza, the works were removed at the director's request, which was demanded by the Ministry of Culture. Miziołek himself stated that "This is the National Museum and some subject matters, such as gender, should not be explicitly shown", and the works "have a distracting influence on young people". (source: museum-national-removes-scandalizing-works-from-exhibitions-zamknie.html)
As professionals working for many years in the art industry and looking after the legacy of the works of Natalia LL, we are outraged by the open censorship of the artworks by the institution that should act as the most important museum in the country. The museum should not be afraid of exhibiting thought-provoking works of an existential nature. "Consumer Art" (created between 1972-1975), consisting of photographic and film records, already at the very beginning of its existence gained successful recognition by being purchased by the Museum of Art in Łódź. Subsequent exhibitions, texts, and new studies both at home and abroad, show the timelessness of the artist’s work. Through her art, Natalia LL was never afraid of asking difficult questions, and we certainly should not be afraid to answer them. Therefore, as the management of the ZW Foundation, we would like to express our opposition and indignation towards the policy of the National Museum in Warsaw and the Ministry of Culture.
Mateusz Kozieradzki, President of the ZW Foundation
Renata Sargalska, Vice President of the ZW Foundation
Dawid Lewandowski, Vice President of the ZW Foundation
Piotr Krzymowski, Chairman of the Council of the ZW Foundation