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The Great French Hotel

Research residency of curator Anna Smolak in Brăila

The Great French Hotel continues the curatorial project Austeria [The Inn], realized in 2015 in Nowy Sącz, Poland (curated by Anna Smolak and Raluca Voinea and co-organized by București) and adapts it for the specific context of Brăila and The Museum of Brăila, which building has functioned in 1897-1945 as a hotel, The Great French Hotel. Currently the museum hosts varied collections of history, archaeology, art and ethnography and organizes numerous events dedicated to the local minority communities and to the history of Brăila. Austeria has departed from the geographic and historic condition of Nowy Sącz, situated at the same time at the margin and at the crossroads of empires, as well as from the condition of contemporary art institutions as places of refuge, memory lanes or relational platforms. The Great French Hotel will aim to create through contemporary art interventions a dialogue with the historic and social heritage of Brăila and to look at the way a museum can hold together communities.

Project team: Anna Smolak, Raluca Voinea, Roxana Gibescu, Eduard Constantin

With the help of Museum of Brăila staff Maria Stoica (chief curator at the Art Department) and Camelia Hristian (Public Relations manager, responsible for the Centre for Cultural Diversity).

Anna Smolak is a curator based in Krakow, Poland. Currently she is chief curator of BWA SOKOL Contemporary Art Gallery in Nowy Sącz. Her interest is based in contemporary institutional critique and examining alternative modes of collaboration and organization. In her projects she has investigated the notion of margin, periphery and exclusion. In the recent years she analyzed the development of the art scene in the Eastern Partnership countries as well as contributed with collaborative projects in the region. Her recent exhibitions include: Lada Nakonechna. Exhibition, PinchukArtCenter, Kiev, 2016; Mihut Boscu Kafchin. Chronicles of My Fantastic Banality, BWA SOKÓŁ, Nowy Sącz, 2016; Sislej Xhafa. The Stillness of Thought, BWA SOKÓŁ, Nowy Sącz, 2016; Re:public, Absheron/Azerbaijan, 2015; Smugglers, NARRACJE Festival, Gdańsk, Austeria, BWA SOKÓŁ, Nowy Sącz, 2015.