Four Dome Pavilion opens in 2016

'We can now reveal the date of the exhibition of contemporary art from the collections of the National Museum in Wroclaw. It will be June 25, 2016,' said Prof. Małgorzata Omilanowska, Minister of Culture and National Heritage at the opening ceremony of the renovated Four Dome Pavilion, held on Friday evening.

  • Four Dome Pavilion interior, photo Tomasz Walków

Over the next nine months, furnishing the exhibition will continue. However, the first works of young contemporary artists - Piotr Janas and Jakub Julian Ziółkowski have already appeared in the snow-white interiors. These are the latest acquisitions of the National Museum.

'We have torn one of the most beautiful museum space out of inertia, oblivion and extreme devastation,' said Piotr Oszczanowski, director of the National Museum in Wroclaw. He thanked all those involved in the project of reconstruction and restoration of the pavilion. 'Their attitude, determination and kindness allowed us to close today such an important stage in the history of the National Museum in Wroclaw. Piotr Oszczanowski also thanked his predecessor, Mariusz Fermansdorfer, who amassed one of the finest collections of contemporary Polish art and began efforts to acquire the Four Dome Pavilion. 'Your dream is coming true, sir,' Oszczanowski adressed Mariusz Hermansdorfer, absent for health reasons.

'Today, we can tangibly know that money coming from European taxpayers have been sensibly used to save a unique monument,' emphasized Minister Omilanowska. 'When I first came here, I was terrified - the building was falling apart! It was the picture of decay that seemed unstoppable. Now, we bring to life an extraordinary building designed by Hans Poelzing. The architect succeeded in combine modernity and historical styles. It would be a shame to allow this work to dilapidate,' added the Minister, admitting her joy of participating in the ceremony. The Minister also announced that in 2016, on the occasion of the European Capital of Culture, the Four Dome Pavilion will also host contemporary art from abroad.

Development of the sites for exhibitions will last for nine months. 'Exhibition of Polish contemporary art is to be two times bigger than that presently exhibited at the National Museum,' explained Barbara Banas, deputy director of the National Museum in Wroclaw.

The exhibition will comprise the so-called pillars of the collection of the National Museum in Wroclaw - works of Jan Lebenstein, Alina Szapocznikow, Władysław Hasior and Magdalena Abakanowicz. Available will be installations Jozef Szajna, graphics by Józef Gielniak, Józef Panek, etchings and works of Jan Lebenstein, as well as works of Marek Oberlander, Andrzej Wróblewski, Mieczysław Berman, Zdzisław Beksiński or Jerzy Lewczyński. 'It will be a living exhibition, changing as sequentially as contemporary art does,' explained director Barbara Banas.

The Four Dome Pavilion was designed by architect Hans Poelzig. The building was constructed in the years 1912-1913. From the beginning its purpose was exhibition - in 1913 it housed a historical exhibition commemorating the centennial anniversary of the victory over Napoleon. In 2006, the pavilion was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the Centennial Hall.

On 30 June 2015 Budimex completed the restoration and reconstruction of the Four Dome Pavilion. The works took two years. There were plenty of surprises on the site, such as additional foundations, not included in the plans or a cracked northern dome. During the works, the façade was restored and painted in a colour that was determined after iconographic analysis. The northern dome was reinforced and its original decoration was restored. The building was equipped with modern installations and the windows were replaced. The interior is painted in a sterile white. However, the object of visitors' admiration is the interior courtyard, specially covered to enlarge the exhibition area of the museum. The glass roof is supported by an enormous steel structure. As a result, the National Museum acquired 6246 square meters of additional space. The building is adapted to the needs of people with disabilities, with special railings and elevators. The design's authors are BeMM Architekci, and the general designer is Marek Michałowski. The contractor of construction works was Budimex S.A., Warsaw.