Ada

August - September 2021

IMO contemporary art gallery, Stary Sacz, Poland

The project “Ada” is dedicated to the famous Polish opera singer Ada Sari, who was one of the leading coloratura sopranos of her generation and who performed at the best opera houses and concert halls in Europe and South America during the first half of the 20th century.

 

The inspiration for this project came from the letters and postcards which Ada Sari sent to her family while touring and performing around the world. It is a subjective, personal impression based on Ada Sari’s life, revealed through her letters.  She wrote about her emotions and experience from the performances, but she also shared very personal stories such as a marriage proposal she received, for example.

It is an imagination of what Ada Sari’s life might have been like – being an artist, being recognized and applauded, doing what she loved doing, but at the same time, having moments on her own, being away from her family and loved ones and sharing her feelings only through her letters.

In one of them, Ada Sari confessed how much she loved flowers and how much she enjoyed receiving flowers from the audience.

 

The performative installation "Ada" consists of 369 flowers, made of a letter paper, which are the exact number of letters to which we have access today.

Surrounded by these flowers, I’m listening to Ada Sari’s music and pretending I were her. As I am a visual artist and not an opera singer, to imagine being someone else, means for me to be empathetic and understandable to others’ feelings. I simply let myself experience the feelings of someone else, no matter how different from me he or she is.

Ada

Performative installation, 4'56'' at IMO Contemporary Art Gallery, Stary Sącz, Poland

Curatorial care and director: Małgorzata Kaczmarska

Music: Aria "Caro nome" from Opera Rigolleto by Verdi, performed by Ada Sari.

Camera and video editing: Dariusz Ptak

Photo credit: Aneta Wojcik

Copyright of images: IMO Contemporary Art Gallery, Stary Sącz, Poland

Apart from the letters, Ada Sari sent many postcards from the locations at which she performed or just visited. They were all addressed to Stary Sącz where her family was and where she spent her youth. I imagined, Stary Sacz had a special meaning for her, being not just a place or a name of a town, but where part of her heart was.

 

The second part of the project is about the importance of Stary Sącz for Ada Sari and it is represented by the name of the town, taken from one of the postcards and handwritten by her. This handwritten text is used in three different media to highlight the idea - on an interactive map, in a video and printed on a T-shirt.

 

The map shows some of the postcards at the locations from which they were sent by Ada Sari between 1911 and 1925.  At the location of Stary Sacz, instead of a picture of the town, there is the handwriting by Ada Sari.

 

The same handwritten text of Stary Sącz is also presented as a beating heart in a short video as well as printed on a standard T-shirt. The idea is that usually souvenirs are made with pictures of buildings or monuments, important for the place, but in this artwork, a souvenir represents a very personal story and how important for someone a place can be. It also has a symbolic meaning - the name of the town is close to the heart.

This project was created during a residency at IMO Contemporary Art Gallery, Stary Sącz, Poland. 

Special thanks to Seweryn Udziela Regional Museum in Stary Sącz, Poland and Sądecka Digital Library.

Copyright of postcards Seweryn Udziela Regional Museum in Stary Sącz, Poland.

Performative installation uses archival materials from the collection of the Seweryn Udziela Regional Museum in Stary Sącz, Poland.