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A portfolio of the professor’s fieldwork: exhibition

We invite you to visit the new exhibition: "A portfolio of the professor’s fieldwork. Materials from field research carried out in the years 1946-1997 under Professor Roman Reinfuss".
The portfolio consists of 823 folders, some large and some small. Large folders contain drawings in different techniques – pencil, crayon, ink, water-colour and tempera. Small folders contain texts: interviews, descriptions, smaller drawings and photographs. The unique collection depicting Polish folk art has been growing gradually since 1946. In that year the then Dr Roman Reinfuss was appointed the Head of the Decorative Art Section at the State Institute of Research on Folk Art (founded by the Ministry of Art and Culture).

The Section’s affiliations changed several times until in 1959 it settled down as the Section for Documentation of Folk Art at the Art Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences. At that time the scope or research of the Section expanded. Unlike many other researchers, Roman Reinfuss presented a comprehensive understanding of vernacular art, seen not only from the visual art perspective. He saw folk art in a wider context, so the portfolio of his fieldwork contains notes on the historical and social background of relevant localities. Being aware of the process of urbanisation, which speeded up as result of the post-war system transformation, working together with his team and students, the professor spared no effort to document not only traditional rural culture but also new cultural phenomena. His fieldwork in the years 1949 – 1962 was carefully planned and intensive. Initially, one-month research camps were organised (fourteen in total) and later short exploratory trips. It was a special experience for all the stakeholders – residents of the relevant localities and research teams alike. It was a large-scale project which was carried out with great enthusiasm and devotion, though often struggling with unfavourable weather conditions and without the modern equipment and facilities which are now available to researchers.

The work was carried out practically everywhere – at people’s homes and farms or during farming occupations. Not all participants were prepared to take this challenge. It was a real survival school. One should not overlook this context when looking at the material collected. The professor was the Head of the Section until 1980. then he was succeeded by his co-worker, Dr Ewa Fryś-Pietraszkowa. The output of the team work contained in the Section folders cover all regions of Poland , featuring their architecture, interior decoration, costume, ritual artworks, crafts and art.

The collection contains 70,234 photographs , along with 59,830 drawings and 77, 265 text pages, 730 original cut-outs, 948 stamped patterns for printing on fabric, 200 original painted ornaments, 430 carbon-paper maps , 8,000 fiches of folk artists, 2 ,012 fabric samples, 150 questionnaires on surveys of different cultural issues, 51 inventory books and 20 folders containing documentation of folk art competitions, as well as other archival documents. The collection was already closed when it was passed down to the Ethnographic Museum in Kraków upon the closing of the Section in 1997. It significantly enriched the Museum documentation resources, serving the staff, as well as the public at large – students of different disciplines, researchers, both professional and amateur, artists, diplomatic representations and all those interested in learning more about their family or local background.

The documentation has been used by the author of the monograph of Raba Wyżna, a journalist from Judische Zeitung who was doing research on Łęczna, a couple seeking inspiration for a Kraków-style wedding costume, a teacher from Szczurowa working on a reconstruction of regional costume for a folk group, students of Jagiellonian University Ethnology Department preparing their seminar works (on folk costume from Piwniczna and Lanckorona architecture), a sculptor re-creating the Sorrowful Christ in a roadside shrine, a student of doctoral studies at New Jersey looking for information about Bobowa lace and other individuals interested.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION:
Exhibition: "A portfolio of the professor’s fieldwork. Materials from field research carried out in the years 1946-1997 under Professor Roman Reinfuss".

10.11.2012 – 14.04.2013
Muzeum Etnograficzne im. Seweryna Udzieli w Krakowie Kazimierz, Former City Hall, Plac Wolnica 1
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  • Program regionalny
  • województwo maloposkie
  • Unia Europejska
The following Project is cofinanced by the European Union under the Małopolska Regional Operational Programme for the years 2007 – 2013