Porcelain Troubles Me Most

Niczego mi tak nie żal jak porcelany

 

Porcelain Troubles Me Most

17 October 2022 – 17 January 2023

Gallery of Masterpieces

 

Czesław Miłosz

Song on Porcelain

(English version translated by Czesław Miłosz himself in collaboration with Robert Pinsky)

"Rose-colored cup and saucer,

Flowery demitasses:

You lie beside the river

Where an armored column passes.

Winds from across the meadow

Sprinkle the banks with down;

A torn apple tree’s shadow

Falls on the muddy path;

The ground everywhere is strewn

With bits of brittle froth–

Of all things broken and lost

Porcelain troubles me most. (…)"

Washington D.C., 1947

Porcelain that has been scorched in the fire of a city ablaze and shattered into the tiniest of pieces may still be found at many locations throughout Warsaw: at construction sites, in antique shops, museums and private apartments. The generation that remembers the war is departing. We use Czesław Miłosz’s Song on Porcelain to bring back the memories of the maimed city and the tragic fate of the residents of Warsaw.

The exhibition titled Porcelain Troubles Me Most presents the remnants of old porcelain and faience, including that of the most precious and highly intricate varieties, made primarily in the 18th century. A significant portion of the artifacts presented originates from private Warsaw-based collections and has never been displayed in public. Porcelain remnants were dug out from under post-WWII rubble by the residents of Warsaw. Some of the burned and blemished cups or teapots survived the inferno of entire quarters of the city set ablaze during the Warsaw Uprising. If it had not been for the war, the most precious pieces would have certainly found their way into museum collections.