Site-specific Installation

Marysia Lewandowska: how to pass through a door

The Cosmic House

10 October 20229 September 2023

The Jencks Foundation is thrilled to announce the opening of Marysia Lewandowska’s site-specific sound installation how to pass through a door, at The Cosmic House from 10th October 2022.

For the past year Lewandowska, a renowned Polish-born and London based artist, has been the inaugural resident of the Jencks Foundation at The Cosmic House. Lewandowska, whose practice over the past 20 years has explored the public functions of archives, museums and exhibitions was invited to review the holdings of the Jencks archive at a crucial formative time for both the archive and the institution. This residency, formed in conversation and collaboration with Lewandowska, probed and questioned the boundaries of the institutional and the archival, and collaboratively explored the relationship between the two in the task of building a new cultural institution.

how to pass through a door continues Lewandowska’s practice of recovering women’s cultural contributions through the use of voice, previously developed in projects such as the Women’s Audio Archive (2009) and It’s About Time at the 58th Art Biennale in Venice (2019), among others. Starting from the notion of the archive as an open-ended construction of contributions and interpretations, Lewandowska’s artistic research during her residency engaged with the legacy of Maggie Keswick Jencks as it is framed by the multiple histories of The Cosmic House: once a family home, a built manifesto of Post-Modernism and a meeting place for the movement’s main protagonists, and now a museum. The new sound installation, with the title borrowed from one of Maggie’s notebooks containing detailed records related to the design programme of The Cosmic House, is the culmination of the artist’s one-year-long sustained engagement with the Jencks’ archives in London and in Portrack, Scotland.

Lewandowska’s resulting new sound installation presented for the first time will occupy multiple rooms throughout the The Cosmic House. The work activates Maggie’s voice by relying on the archival records, both spoken and written, spanning from her formal lectures on the Chinese Garden to the more intimate letters and notes related to the construction of the house. Through her method of ‘voicing’, Lewandowska proposes an alternative encounter with the space, and by acknowledging Maggie’s role and contributions opens up a polyphony of interpretations and a parallel universe to Charles’ own.