LINDA McCARTNEY'S EXHIBITION - WARSAW, OCTOBER 1984
Piotr Chrósciel last edited by
In the eighties nobody from my family was concerned with the Solidarity underground movement and nobody was in the communist party either. No wonder the years 1982-1984 in Poland were politically completely uninteresting to me. Everyday life in Warsaw was grey and boring. People suffered from lack of basic foodstuff. A depressing symbol of those years were the shop shelves full of identical bottles of cheap vinegar. For a young, sensitive man who lived in Warsaw there was a place where I could go, when I felt low, when I felt blue. And it was my mind. My mind set on art. An unforgettable experience for me was the concert of a young jazz vocalist Stanislaw Sojka who - in my presence - sang a set of religious songs at the Stodola Students' Club in Warsaw on the 23rd of August 1982 (martial law!) to commemorate the 600th anniversary of the Jasna Góra Monastery (the most famous shrine to the Virgin Mary in Poland) In 1984 the two artistic events lit up post martial law period in the greatest city of Poland. On the 10th of January I went to the concert of a legendary English band Madness at the Victoria Intercontinental Hotel in Warsaw. On the 4th of October the first East European Exhibition of Linda McCartney's photographs was opened at the Gallery of the Association of Polish Artists Photographers in 8 Plac Zamkowy (8 Castle Square) in the Old Town in Warsaw. It was the third step in discreet promoting Paul and Linda McCartney in Poland after releasing their records "With A Little Luck" and "Wings Greatest" before John Lennon's death. Between the 4th of October and the 28th of October about ten thousand people admired 52 photographs. 10 of them were coloured. The rest was black and white. Most of Linda McCartney's works presented at the Warsaw Gallery were earlier published in her album "Photographs" (Pavilion Books 1982) including the portraits of famous rock stars - e.g. John Lennon, Janis Joplin, Ginger Baker, Yoko Ono, Mick Jagger. Paul McCartney and Ray Davis. Hence a simple title of Her Warsaw exhibition: "Photographs. Linda McCartney". Some people were expecting Paul and Linda to come to Warsaw on the 4th of October 1984 to officially open the exhibition. Many fans were gathered at the Warsaw Airport only to find out that neither Linda nor Paul landed there on that day although a headline of the newspaper "Kurier Polski" read "The Hotel Is Reserved For One of The Beatles!". In this way the Polish communists did not get support from the McCartneys. And neither did Solidarity. No wonder Henryk Urbanowski criticized Linda's Exhibition in the regime paper "Walka Mlodych" ("The Fight of the Young") stating that Mrs McCartney's photographs had no artistic value. But generally the reaction of the Polish people and of journalists was enthusiastic. So Urbanowski's efforts to humiliate Linda McCartney were in vain. We - the inhabitants of Warsaw - knew very well where the truth lies. Linda' s Exhibition in Warsaw in October 1984 was a great artistic experience for all of us who were lucky enough to see it. For nearly one month Warsaw did not belong to General Jaruzelski. Thanks to to Lady Linda McCartney it belonged to the West. And I was there for I visited Her Warsaw Exhibition twice (the second time was with my friend Michael).