Welcome to Creative Arts Centre in Wrocław – a friendly place for art meetings. What do we do? Twice a year you can enroll to the variety of courses we offer. We organize concerts, exhibitions, meetings, occasional workshops, plein-air sessions and more. We publish art books and release our own records. If you are interested in our activity feel free to get in touch wit us!

For events and more info please visit our calendar or mail us: info@opt-art.net

How is Your Second Heart Feeling? | Maria Kniaginin-Ciszewska

7 April – 20 May 2022
opening: 7 April 2022, 19.00
curator: Łukasz Rusznica

Miejsce przy Miejscu 14
pl. Strzelecki 14, Wrocław
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How is Your Second Heart Feeling? | credit: Maria Kniaginin-Ciszewska
7.04 – 20.05.2022 @ Miejsce przy Miejscu 14

How is your second heart feeling?
this is a question that the artist used to hear a lot from her partner's grandmother. It is an expression of concern for the granddaughters, their emotional relationship and well-being. It is also a question that has an opposite potential, a question that triggers anxiety. Specifically articulated, it implies neglect of one's own emotions, lack of insight, and failure to recognize oneself. The exhibition presented at the Miejsce przy Miejscu 14 art gallery is based on this ambiguity.

Maria Kniaginin-Ciszewska’s diploma project has become a key part of the exhibition. Attributes such as wedding dresses, hair rollers or red roses appear in the postcard-like scenes, but more to disarm the decor of a typically female image than to meet its requirements. The photographs taken on the couch in grandma’s apartment symbolize a confession of longing for Polishness and its aesthetics. You can think of these large-scale works as fantasies about everyday life, in which the artist and her fiancée invite you to a shared meditation session focused on their femininity, sexuality and reflections on how these values favour, or not, self-presentation.

This strange game with familiarity, its alternating disappearance and disclosure, continues in a new series of works that express the need to return to the idea of creating your own home. A reconstruction of the ‘grandma’s sofa’, which gives a sense of security and comfort. It consists of a mix of home items that make up the artist’s self-merch. Inevitably, a duvet, a bamboo curtain*, a T-shirt or a plate become ‘artifacts’ or ‘installations’, and things that are usually seen as domestic objects suddenly fall into the sphere of the unknown. We see models posing on the sheets and we feel like putting our heads down on a pillow with the image of Maria in a blonde wig. Through contact with these items, the sense of security, strongly based on what is known and tame, starts to feel constantly negotiated – it can literally disappear at any moment.

– This is my way of finding myself in the new reality and of course it triggers some contradictory emotions. These emotions are a mystery to me, although they also set the rhythm of the day – for me and my fiancée – says Maria Kniaginin-Ciszewska. – I have no time for existential questions or answers. What is left for me? Silent existence? It is not my style. With a strawberry in my mouth and tears in my eyes, I discovered the most liberating home activity – pissing standing up. After the first try, I can stand up straight. It is a daily ritual of adding myself more strength.

The title question becomes an introduction to the story about the desires of one’s heart and the ways to fulfill them. And thus it becomes a risky question.


Maria Kniaginin-Ciszewska was born in 1998 in Warsaw. Last year she graduated in photography from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague. Her interests revolve around stereotypes and their presentation in culture. As an independent visual artist, she works between reality and fantasy, penetrating social and cultural norms. By creating representations of the female form, she examines the boundaries of taboos and icons. She explores the artifacts of Polishness or, more broadly, Slavicness, combining them with the concepts of the body and interpersonal relations.

*The painting on the bamboo curtain is the result of cooperation between Maria Kniaginin-Ciszewska and Kozlow.

Out now! HOW TO LOOK NATURAL IN PHOTOS – Beata Bartecka & Łukasz Rusznica

“How to Look Natural in Photos” is a book about a totalitarian system which uses photography for its purposes. It includes reflections on the mechanism and relationships connected with looking and photographing, observing and being observed, describing and being described. Violence begins in the nervous system, from an impulse that runs through the body and makes someone press the shutter. It ends in an archive, the place where information and images are stored. This basis reveals who interprets the collected data, and consequently – who controls the facts. The book also tells a story of spies, agents, guards, AI algorithm programmers, surveillance subjects, suspects, archivists, convicts and accidentally photographed passers-by. They interact on various levels, all comprising one huge machine, inordinate and dispersed.

All the photos in the book come from the archive of the Institute of National Remembrance – Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation (IPN), which investigates the history of Poland between the early 20th century and the fall of the totalitarian system. The book contains descriptions of photographs based on archival notes, and an essay written by Tomasz Stempowski, historian and archivist.

Curated and Edited by Beata Bartecka & Łukasz Rusznica
Design by Joanna Jopkiewicz (Grupa Projektor)
Essay by Tomasz Stempowski
Colour proofing and Prepress by Krzysztof Krzysztofiak
Published by Ośrodek Postaw Twórczych & Palm* Studios
Wroclaw – London 2021.
First Edition, 500 Copies
Printed in EU
ISBN 978-83-917373-5-4

Buy: Palm*Studios or OPT shop.

Creative Arts Centre

Creative Arts Centre [Ośrodek Postaw Twórczych (OPT) in Polish] is a municipal cultural institution. Our main purpose is to educate through art and cultural activities. We offer workshops that allow creative dialogue and thought exchange. We fully support the growth of your artistic awareness, we develop your creative mindset, we inspire you to think independently.

Ośrodek Postaw Twórczych

Publishing House

We release publications of our course leaders, participants and people connected with the Creative Arts Centre. We believe, that each creative process deserves the sense of closure by confining all abstract content into a physical form thus becoming the official culmination of the entire process from the birth of the concept to its realization.

Działalność wydawnicza OPT

Service Activities

Creative Arts Centre offers also commercial activities. We rent adequately equipped and multifunctional meeting room for conferences, lectures or business meetings.

Działalność usługowa OPT