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A project of the Foksal Gallery Foundation, Poland
Re:form is undertaking the attempt to re-read Polish (art) history from the perspective of the present. This process of re-signification and re-contextualization also involves the development of new models for publicly presenting art, which have found international recognition and do justice to the changed economic and social conditions now prevailing in Poland. "Re:form" poses questions about the forgotten and silenced aspects of Polish (art) history. The project digitalizes private artist archives from the 1950s onwards, curates exhibitions held during the International Film Festival in Cieszyn, fosters and supports art projects in public spaces and publishes monographs on artists.

Within the scope of "Re:form," the Foksal Gallery Foundation has been able to extend and intensify the activity it began seven years ago as one of the most important Polish institutions supporting and spreading contemporary art. In existence since 1997, the work of the Foksal Gallery Foundation follows in the tradition of the Foksal Gallery, founded in 1966.

Developing new models for spreading and enhancing the public presence of art

From the beginning, the Foksal Gallery Foundation has pursued the goal of carrying on the tradition of the Foksal Gallery and altering its strategies to fit the changed circumstances: namely, to develop new models for spreading and enhancing the public presence of art, models which find both international acclaim and adapt to the new economic and social conditions in Poland. The themes of history and the archive, therefore, play an important role in many of the initiated projec ts: reformulating history, reading it anew, or reviewing it anew from the perspective of the present are the basic modes of our work. At the same time, the Foksal Gallery Foundation, operating independently of the Foksal Gallery since 2001, seeks to actively respond to the changing social conditions and find new ways of working with art which are in tune with the times. Accordingly, many of our projects work experimentally. We have chosen the title "Re:form" for the project jointly realized with "relations" for the following reasons: for us, "Re:form" means seeing processes of gradual change, of reforming, of redefining and reinterpreting, of re-signification or re-contextualization in terms of their connection with the formulation of new forms. Returning to history with the goal of developing something new appears to us to be the best way of describing the general direction of the Foksal Gallery Foundation. A central project within "Re:form" is the digitalization of various private archives holding works of conceptual art, concrete poetry, sound poetry, Fluxus, video and network art. The scholar Piotr Rypson is responsible for its management. Furthermore, the archives of the artists Jarosław Kozłowski and Edward Krasiński are appraised. We intend develop a model that provides the public with access to the studio of the recently deceased Krasiński, without following the usual path of turning his life and work into museum exhibits. A further module of "Re:form" is the conceptualization and organization of the artistic program accompanying the annual film festival for young filmmakers in Cieszyn. Here we have succeeded in establishing a long-term cooperation with the city of Cieszyn. Our most important project in this segment of "Re:form" for 2004 was the placement of a mural by Monika Sosnowska on the facade of an urban apartment block in Cieszyn. The municipal authority has agreed to guarantee the preservation and care of the mural for the next ten years. In order to further extend our cooperation with the municipal authorities for promoting art projects in public spaces, we will present an artistic work for the urban space every year within the framework of the film festival in the city of Cieszyn. The third module of "Re:form" is the project "Local Modernism," launched in 2003. Here we are driving forward our plan to have a footbridge built across the Olza River, which marks the border between Poland and the Czech Republic. For the theoretical elaboration of "Local Modernism," artists and scholars get grants. Finally, we have been continuously working on the edition of artist monographs: Publications on Cezary Bodzianowski, Henryk Stażewski, Oskar Hansen and Tadeusz Rolke. All of the works are published by "Revolver - Archiv für aktuelle Kunst" in Frankfurt/Main.

Joanna Mytkowska