Andrzej Wajda. Japanese Notebook

21.11.2019 - 11.10.2020

Opening: 20.11.2019, 18.00

Visual design & arrangement: Anna Król Scenario: Anna Król, Wioletta Laskowska-Smoczyńska

From the Manggha Museum Collection

To travel to Japan is only to change the place. You feel no motion in time. Except for minor (and thus unnoticeable) differences, it is all very similar: the palaces, the temples, the houses… the gardens. The gardens are the most Japanese of all arts because lasting is implied by their very nature… the lasting of stones, the lasting of water – and waterfalls. Nothing to improve here, nothing to alter.

You cannot design a garden, you have to set it up… keep thinking about it (Andrzej Wajda, 1987).

In Japan, I met people who were close to my heart. […] They have all those traits that I have been trying to develop and nurture in myself all my life: seriousness, a sense of responsibility and honour, and also the need for tradition (Andrzej Wajda, 2000).

One of the most valuable parts of the collection of the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology is a unique assembly of works of paper – sketches and drawings – by Andrzej Wajda. Some of the most interesting among these are those made during his trips to Japan. He visited that country seven times – in 1970, 1980, 1987, 1989, 1992, 1993, and 1996 – including six times with his wife, Krystyna Zachwatowicz-Wajda. During each of these trips he took notes, made sketches, trying to remember the most significant elements of that different, foreign culture of a strange land. The land that, over time, the couple would call ‘Our Japan.

In fourteen notebooks and sketchbooks we find a ‘picture story’ of not only Japan but also, or perhaps primarily, of a painter-director, of his artistic preferences, inspirations and discoveries. As we know, to Andrzej Wajda sketching was a form of communicating with the world, a function of memory.

When drawing in Japan, especially the sketches depicting landscapes and genre scenes, the artist assumes a ‘Japanese’ point of view and composes the picture in the manner of ukiyo-e woodblock prints. This is why it is possible to look at Wajda’s Japanese drawings as an interesting example of Japanese inspiration, of Polish Japanism.

The exhibition Andrzej Wajda. The Japanese Notebook, celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology, his sketches are displayed chronologically, in accord with the rhythm of the director’s travels. The arrangement seems to illustrate excellently the successive stages of acquaintance, delight with and reflection on a different culture and art.

Anna Król

Financed by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.



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