The Collection as an Open Assemblage: Collection II of the Arsenał Gallery

The National Gallery


The Collection as an Open Assemblage:
Collection II of the Arsenał Gallery –
A Lecture by Monika Szewczyk, Director of the Arsenał Gallery in Białystok


When: 19 December 2017, Tuesday, 7 p. m.
Where: Sofia Arsenal – Museum for Contemporary Art; 2, Cherni vrah Blvd., Sofia,


Collection II, accumulated by the Arsenał Gallery and the Podlaskie Association for the Promotion of Fine Arts, is a model example of public collections of contemporary art in Poland. It therefore also serves as an excellent starting point for discussions on the assemblage of the most recent art and related issues, as well as on the ways of working with the collection and the decisions that prevent it from becoming a moribund stock slumbering in the institute’s depositories, and which lead to this Collection II’s representing an open assemblage.

‘Her activities quickly became known all around Poland, and outside the country. Arsenał still functions skilfully by associating regional art with events on a wider scale,’ Anda Rottenberg wrote in the book, ‘Art in Poland 1945–2005’.


In 1997, a survey by the Polityka weekly magazine found that Arsenał was one of the best municipal cultural institutes promoting contemporary art.
In 2010, the gallery achieved third place in a ranking of
the best public galleries in Poland.


Monika Szewczyk, art historian, director of the Arsenał Gallery since 1990. Thanks to her efforts, one of the best state galleries of contemporary art in Poland is located in Białystok. At the Arsenał Gallery, she not only executes a consistent artistic exhibition programme but, one of the few in the country, she also collects works of contemporary art and presents them at exhibitions around the world.