The Royal Castle in Warsaw and Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin are jointly developing the exhibition entitled Side by Side. Poland Germany. A 1000 Years of Art and Historywhich will be on view in Berlin from September 23, 2011 to January 9, 2012. The project celebrates the first Polish presidency of the EU Council, which will begin in July 2011.
The project outline has been supervised by an scientific board headed by Professor Władysław Bartoszewski. The exhibition curator is the Polish art historian Anda Rottenberg, known for a number of internationally acclaimed exhibitions and long-serving director of Zachęta National Gallery of Art
Poland and Germany look back on over 1000 years of shared history. The complex nature of the history of the two neighbours has above all been shaped by major political developments and events, which have removed from the horizon areas of cultural common ground in such fields as culture, religion, language and economy.
Both German and Polish cultural memory is often shaped by emotion and prejudice.
Nonetheless, there seems to be a consensus on both sides of the River Oder that a new process of understanding, which begun over 20 years ago, has been forming a basis of a lasting friendship. Polish presidency of the European Union is a unique opportunity to strengthen this vital dialogue through an exhibition in the German capital. This will be the very first time that the 1000 years of Polish-German history in all its manifestations is depicted in a major exhibition.
Approximately 700 historical and contemporary exhibits with some 250 paintings, 30 sculptures, 60 incunabula, 80 manuscripts and 60 prints will be shown in 19 rooms of the gallerys ground floor with a total area of 3,200 square metres. Apart from traditional works of art the exhibition includes over 60 documents, 100 craft objects, 150 photographs, film material and books as well as examples of music including compositions by Arnold Schönberg, J.F. Telemann, J.S. Bach and the others. The exhibits from numerous Polish, German and international museums and collections are witness of the culture in Poland and Germany. The list of lenders includes the National Museum in Warsaw, the Łódź Museum of Art, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Vatican Library.
Among the special highlights is the presentation of Jan Matejkos monumental work the Prussian Homage on loan from the National Museum in Kraków. Contemporary artists have also ventured a look into the future with works that were especially commissioned by the Martin-Gropius-Bau.
A comprehensive education programme addressed to school children and students is designed to advance cultural exchange between Poland and Germany. The programme that provides information is aimed to contribute to the further integration of Europe and mutual understanding.
An encyclopaedic exhibition catalogue in German and Polish, edited by the Polish art historian Professor Małgorzata Omilanowska will be published by DuMont Verlag. The lavishly illustrated, approximately 700-page catalogue will include essays by leading experts in Germany and Poland and eminent guest authors from other countries.