Looking for Warsaw’s new Museum of Modern Art (Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej (MSN), designed by the Swiss architect Christian Kerez? Well, keep looking, because it’s not to be seen for another few years… The opening, is/was planned for 2014, but has been caught in red tape and no digging has yet begun.

In the meantime you have to make do with the (con)temporary museum, that may be small in size but certainly not in ambitions. Take the new exhibition “Black and White” where the art of drawing is on display. Drawings in different form and shape; animated films, comics & comic strips. Drawing being the basic means of expression. All you need is carbon, e.g. a pencil or some ink on paper. And an idea to picture. For example as a status comment to our world of today.

That is what Romanian artist Dan Perjovschi was commissioned to do on the huge wall (& front window) that welcomes you when entering the museum. At first glance his many drawings may seem naïve but at a closer look they have a critical and political sting, both on the local, Polish, level as well as on a global view. Perhaps a reaction to the current Polish EU presidency where nationalism clashes with internationalism, integration with segregation and pretentious slogans on humanism with petty reality.

Black and white is also the aesthetics of the interior design of this exhibition. The white rooms house the drawings and the black rooms the animated films. The most spacious one projecting four different films parallel at only an arm’s length apart, resulting in a mixed-up of soundtracks, which I found rather disturbing.

Among the animations I particularly enjoyed is Belgo-French Philippe Grammaticopoulos’ individual stylistic approach and animation technique in sci-fi dystopia “Le Regulateur” (2005). South African William Kentridge is one of my favourite artists with his personal palimpsest technique and he is here represented with the short “Mine” (1991). Arguably the most striking animated film is British Phil Mulloy’s “The Sound of Music” (1992), an utterly grotesque narrative of the dark side of human nature, underscored by the visual style of his skeletal figures to a minimalist background. Savage, shocking and humorous – simultaneously!

Well, there’s a lot more black than white in this exhibition. There are also a lot of dark clouds looming over the city this afternoon, which makes this presentation a perfect draw for an hour or two, during yet another rainy day in Warsaw. The small in-house-café does lunch (WiFi).

“Black and White” lasts until 18 September (admission free)

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