PROJECT WOMEN EXHIBITIONS SERIES
This is the flagship and loudest project of the Foundation, in which its author - Maksymilian Ławrynowicz, photographer and founder of the Foundation talks about unobvious women. Each year, the subject of exhibitions change. The goal remains the same: showing the image of strong and intriguing women. Over the years, the cycle came to the position of one of the most prestigious photographic projects in the country and the vernissage of each edition has permanently entered the artistic life of the Polish cities. Each year, both very well-known and liked women as well as qualitative and prestigious partners take part in the project. The project had nineteen exhibitions in the country and six exhibitions abroad.
SLAVIC WOMEN | 2023 SPECIAL EDITION
The “Slavic Woman” has many faces. Photographer Maksymilian Ławrynowicz has been aware of that fact for a long time. His love for Slavic legends, history, and folklore spawned a unique photo project. Once again, the artist pays tribute to Slavic stories and fairy tales, focusing his artistic vision on legendary Slavic women. He investigates the mythical female characters of Polish cities, villages and entire regions, but he also delves deep into the culture of our Slavic friends and neighbours.
The works constitute a modern interpretation of the legendary characters, with visible traces of contemporary content marketing. The key was to create photographs that would affect the imagination of the audience with equal attractiveness and strength, both in the museum setting and in the digital space. The art is characterised by Vogue-like retouching, careful styling and a uniform visual concept. The characters were revealed during the course of a nation-wide cooperation with specialists, doctors and educators active at universities, publishing houses, museums, and other cultural-scientific institutions.
We cordially invite you to join us on this unique journey, where the historical yet fairy-tale-like stories reveal incredible women: legendary rulers, mythological goddesses, and folk demons. The symbolic women who have solidified their positions on the edges of collective imagination. Today, they come back from the depths of times long gone, from old tomes, tales, and stories, taking on a modern form and reclaiming their rightful place in the hearts of all Slavic people regardless of state borders.
The exhibition is preceded by the music video for “Niekochane” (“Unloved”) sang by Aleksandra Borak, and Dorota Gardias to the music of Vechi Acum. The exhibition premiered on October 30, 2023, at The National Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw. The opening of the exhibition featured a folklore-inspired fashion show by fashion designer Kamila Zielińska and jewellery designer Ewa Lewanowicz. The vernissage was enriched by the recital of Karolina Skrzyńska. The Masovian Voivodeship was the partner of the event.
PRIMEVALS | 2023 EDITION
Proud, almighty, capricious. Evoking reverence, adoration, fear and love. Surrounded by alabaster, lapis lazuli, and diamonds under the roofs made of ebony and gold. Bathed in the aroma of frankincense and myrrh, anointed with precious oils. The ones who received sacrifices in the form of of valuable gemstones, as well as human lives. “Primevals” is a return to the primordial roots of humanity, when the female element was worshipped as the highest ideal. Together, we will explore the ancient mythologies from the entire world, we will reach toward the earliest days of human civilization to publicly reveal the portrait of goddesses so ancient they have nearly been forgotten.
Every character received their own graphical space thanks to the cooperation of the artist with the concept of Walltime Studio. Several individual artists – painters, graphic designers, collage creators – also created the backgrounds for a number of characters. These individuals were invited by the Foundation to work together on the photographs. The description of each character was prepared by Joanna Laprus, who is a writer and the editor-in-chief of the Świat Książki publishing house.
The exhibition premiered in March 2023 at Hala Koszyki in Warsaw. The opening of the exhibition featured a fashion show inspired by the divine element, prepared by fashion designer Krystian Szymczak and jewellery designer Ewa Lewanowicz. The vernissage was enriched by the recital of Magdalena Ugorna.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST | 2022 EDITION
“Within the infant rind of this weak flower
Poison hath residence and medicine power
For this, being smelt, with that part cheers each part
Being tasted, slays all senses with the heart”
– William Shakespeare
Beautiful and deadly, intelligent and cruel, subtle and cunning, brilliant and ruthless. Seemingly virtuous by day, bloodthirsty by night. Such are the heroines of the next stage of the photographer’s project – women who have paved their way through history as mantises, seductresses, and embodiments of cruelty. The queens of crime, sensual vipers, who always got what they wanted, even at the cost of human lives. The plural form at the end no accident.
Murderers, nymphomaniacs, two-faced conspirators, insidious harlots, and ruthless rulers who bathed entire nations in blood – and often did so just for fun. The long lists of their victims remain unsettling even today, and the conditions of their cruel murders send shivers down the spines of many. What are the most macabre murders conducted by women of the past? Which of these mantises were the most ruthless? How many people did they harm? Join us in our investigation of the darkest manifestations of feminine nature across history.
The exhibition premiered in March 2022 at Hala Koszyki in Warsaw. The vernissage was enriched by the recital of Zofia Ławrynowicz.
ICONS | 2021 EDITION
The desired ones, the rebels, the idealists – who hides behind the iconic images of legendary women whom we got used to? What is the common denominator for all the heroines of the next part of the Project Women series? What are we forgetting when we accept unambiguous associations that have been used as permanent labels for unique women? Aren’t we forgetting that under the layer of legend there is a real person? An icon. Not all of them were happy, but all were courageous, complex, and imperfect. Their nature was a reflection of the emotions they stirred among others – it was extreme.
Female legends, dressed in the garments made of preconceptions, roles and expectations, perceived as adventurous spirits and sex icons of scandalous behaviour. They cause controversies, evoke clear associations – unhappy yet courageous. “Icons” is a tribute to women’s imperfection and ambiguity. The exhibition premiered in March 2021 at Hala Koszyki in Warsaw. The vernissage was enriched by the recital of Olga Bończyk.
POLISH DEMONS | 2020 EDITION
How would the images of Slavic goddesses look today, if Poland had not forsaken its native beliefs? What demons and other nightmares would be the reason for closing the windows firmly at night? Can lethal dangers lurk behind unearthly beauty? Why is it so difficult not to give in to temptation? The exhibition “Polish Demons” is a tale of women perceived through the lens of ancient Slavic mythology, legends, and various stories from different regions of Poland. Our ancestors loved amazing tales. The colourful and mysterious world of Polish folk beliefs had developed throughout the course of hundreds of years, and women play the most important roles in the best of these tales.
The stories of Slavic gods and demons show how easy it is for us to get lost in the woods of human existence. The godlike and demonic impersonations of women – though shrouded in magic, impenetrable, and mysterious – seem to tell the tales of ever-present human fears and longing. The exhibition is a feminist journey through the stories of women who were rejected, cursed, and underappreciated.
The exhibition was preceded by the music video for “Matka” (“The Mother”) sang by Barbara Kurdej-Szatan and Katarzyna Kurdej-Mania. The music was composed by the family folk collective MaKuSza. The exhibition premiered in March 2020 at Hala Koszyki in Warsaw. The vernissage was enriched by the recital of the band Provinz Posen.
BEAUTY | 2019 EDITION
What is beauty? Our answer is obvious: beauty is a woman. This unorthodox edition of the photo portrait series Project Women is a turning point for the photographer. Forever fascinated by creation, styling and fashion, he made an exception, abandoned his assumptions and performed an emotional make-up removal of his heroines. He emphasizes realism, withdraws from strong styling and postproduction, allows only for natural make up, and faces the difficult art of classic portrait photography.
Photographer Maksymilian Ławrynowicz delved into the intimate world of female emotions: sadness, happiness, and endless devotion. The project is an attempt to present female beauty with all its light and dark sides that constitute perfection. It also shows the relations between women – this is why next to solo portraits there are also photos of mothers and daughters, sisters, same-sex couples or simply – good friends. The exhibition premiered in March 2019 at Hala Koszyki in Warsaw. The vernissage was enriched by the recital of pianist Łukasz Paziewski.
POWER | 2018 EDITION
Power is a woman. Women have always had a profound impact on the history of the world. They were often the ones who decided the fate of entire nations, they drew state borders and were the mistresses of life and death for their subjects. What is power and why does it fit Women so well? The answer is obvious: power needs ambition and the unwavering conviction that against all prejudice one is supposed to seize the opportunity if the conditions are favourable. To seize power, the women presented in the series reached out for unconventional means in this dangerous game. Who were they? How did they become famous? How did they seize power and why can’t we forget about them?
The precursors of self-creation, of the grand awareness of how they wanted to be perceived – the heroines of the next edition of Project Women are the first female PR specialists in history. Women who were capable of turning weakness into strength, or using a lower position in the social hierarchy as an asset. By combining their stories with photography and image creation, while simultaneously making the best use of modern styling, makeup, and digital photo processing, the series tells the tale of amazing women in the context of modern commercial image and answers the question: How would queen Elizabeth I look today on the cover of Vogue? How would these outstanding women look if they were hidden behind exquisite makeup and careful styling? “Kobiety Władzy” (“Women of Power”) present the modern images of the historical rulers of France, Poland, and England. They are the prime examples of courage, intelligence, fantasy, determination, and ruthlessness, which characterised women in times that were unfavourable for them. The exhibition premiered in March 2018 at the National Museum. The vernissage was enriched by a recital performed by the National Philharmonic string quartet.