Vernissage: Thursday – 22.09, 18:30, Museum of Architecture in Wrocław, Bernardyńska 5

The public perception of the heritage of Polish postwar modernist architecture remains a complex issue. On the one hand, recent years have brought – in a discourse increasingly penetrating the mainstream – its recognition, honouring, appreciation. But from a practical perspective, the same period has taken (and continues to take) a devastating toll. Modernist works, which were created in the 1960s and 1970s, have successively disappeared from the streets of our cities over the past decades, or have undergone metamorphoses from which the former designs, full of lightness and precision, are hardly recognizable. In some cases this was accompanied by loud protests, in others it took place in complete silence.

“Memento” is a way of commemorating – or perhaps sometimes “reminding” – of icons that no longer exist or are completely unlike themselves. In a series of monochromatic graphics, the Brazilian-Italian artist and architect Vinicius Libardoni, who lives in Wroclaw, portrays 8 post-war edifices from various Polish cities, while poetically conveying the paradox of their fate.

The brutalist Katowice railway station, the “Emilia”; furniture pavilion or Supersam in the oneiric prints are torn from their surroundings, abstracted from the urban context. On the one hand, it’s a disturbing study of their decay: lonely and abandoned, they disintegrate and crumble, crack, settle into the rubble that surrounds them from all sides. But at the same time, even in this gloomy state, they do notcease to impress with their fine form – a sophisticated play of geometric shapes.

The dystopian landscapes not only blur the boundaries between reality and a fever dream, but also between art and architecture. Libardoni creates stories of architectural heritage, using the language and formal strategies appropriate to the field. His intricate, artful drawings are reflected on raw reinforced concrete slabs. Massive objects, brutal in their form, on many levels – from the metaphorical to the quite tangible – become monuments to the classics of Polish modernism.

Organizers: Wrocław Film Foundation, Museum of Architecture in Wrocław

The objects presented at the exhibition are part of Vinicius Libardoni’s doctoral thesis “Recasting Architecture: Etched Memories, Cast in Concrete” being prepared at the Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw – thesis supervisor: Prof. Przemysław Tyszkiewicz.

On Saturday, 01.10, the artist and the curator of the exhibition – Kuba Żary – will give a tour. The tour will start at 1 pm.

Part of the guided tour will be a screening of the short film “Memento” directed by Michal Bednarski. The director accompanied Vinicius Libardoni for more than three months in the successive stages of the creation of these original works, meticulously documenting them – from the preparation of the first sheet metal to the final moments presenting the finished works, immortalized on a concrete slab. The film is not a picture showing the usual “craft” creative process – it is a picture of the artist’s passion, immense commitment and dedication. It perfectly shows the protagonist’s fascination and love of architecture.