Ada

August - September 2021

IMO contemporary art gallery, Stary Sacz, Poland

The project “Ada” is dedicated to the famous Polish opera singer from the beginning of 20th century - Ada Sari. It was created in the village of Stary Sacz where Ada Sari spent her youth and where her family lived.  The inspiration for this project came from the letters and postcards which Ada Sari sent to her family, while she was touring and performing around the world.

Being the sole communication channel at the time, the letters and postcards contain very personal stories and reveal the singer’s private life. In the piece “Ada”, the artist imagines and represents Ada Sari’s feelings and emotions, assumed from this personal correspondence,

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

Surrounded by these flowers, the artist is listening to Ada Sari’s music and pretending she was 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.”

 

This piece is about empathy and tolerance. To put oneself in somebody’s else shoes, not having anything in common, means to understand the other’s feelings. This piece is also about frankness. The artist exhibits personal experience and emotions, provoked by another art – in this case, the art of Opera.

Ada, 2021

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

The second part of the project focuses on the significance of the place for Ada Sari.

Addressing all her letters and postcards to Stary Sacz, Ada Sari wrote the name of the town on the envelopes with passion and sentiment.

The handwritten text Stary Sacz is taken from one of the postcards and used in three different media to highlight its importance for the singer.

An interactive 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 text is pulsing like a heart in a short video and printed on a T-shirt souvenir.

Usually souvenirs are made with pictures of buildings or monuments, important for the place, but in this artwork, a souvenir represents a personal story and how important for someone a place can be. It also has the symbolic meaning of the name of the town being 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.