The Signum Foundation is an art foundation, social enterprise and an aid organisation all at the same time.
Signum’s main activities centre around providing support to the youngsters in need and promoting 20th and 21st century art internationally, with a particular focus on Polish art. The Foundation’s purpose is therefore to establish adequate educational programs, including teaching through art and creating socially engaged art projects. The Foundation operates in Poland, with it’s head office in Zeyland Factory, Poznan, as well as in two exhibition spaces; Signum Foundation Gallery in Lodz, Poland and Palazzo Dona in Venice, Italy.
A MESSAGE FROM THE FOUNDERS
The Signum Foundation was formed in 2002 in order to develop our (until then only casual) charity work and cultural events organisation into something more permanent, coordinated and standardised. The Foundation has since become a magnificent tool to expand the spectrum of operations as well as improve the efficiency of our art-focused social enterprise.
In our foundation’s statute we stressed our commitment to the “support and promotion of various forms of artistic creativity” and to organising help for those in need, particularly “youngsters, but also to the sick, elderly and disabled, as well as the families of the disabled”. In accordance this pledge, we continue to recognise people’s needs in the communities we engage with. We work on perfecting our ways of supporting creativity.
We continue to encourage others to engage in similar efforts by involving our family and friends in our work. It allows us to keep the structure of our Foundation uncomplicated; that way our environment is fun, flexible and adaptable, rather than monotonous and bureaucratic.
As a Foundation, we try to put forward and develop socially engaged practices, interdisciplinary art projects and aid efforts that are most worthwhile.
The line between socially engaged practices and cultural activities is often a blurred one, which we find inspiring and incredibly fitting with what we offer. It is apparent in the events we organised in the years of 2007-09, such as “Spotkania Sztuki i Działań Społecznych” (“Art meets Social Enterprise”) “Warsztaty Radości Życia” (“The Joy of Life- a Workshop”). These events offered a lesson in empathy, stressed the value of voluntary work, as well as presented the participants with a chance to experiment with their creativity and communication skills- both for the patients and their carers. Another project of ours, “Poznan Projection”, a collaboration between the artist Krzysztof Wodiczko and Pogotowie Spoleczne (Poznan Social Aid Foundation) was similarly successful and had a far-reaching impact on the community.
The Foundation’s charitable practises comprise of offering financial, consultative and managerial support to those in need. As a result of our efforts, a permanent group of dependants emerged from the community of people we provided our help to. We are now able to offer them an extensive, long term therapy program that is specific to the needs of these individuals. It gives us great joy to see progress and health improvements among our proteges. We are conscious that some of the success we witness may seem only small- but sometimes maintaining the status quo of one’s condition is already a great step forward, especially when dealing with individuals with severe disabilities. Additionally, it is equally important for our Foundation to look after the carers, guardians and parents of the youngsters involved in our programs.
In regards to the aim of promoting contemporary art, the Foundation has both organised as well as supported the development of various exhibitions as well as producing exhibition catalogues in the recent years. This has since led us to advance the Foundation’s own original interdisciplinary practises. From 2009 the Foundation’s activities have been reaching beyond Poland.
The 2009 exhibition “Awake and Dream” in Palazzo Dona, marked the launch of the Foundation’s international outreach, allowing the palace in Campo San Polo to become Signum’s Venetian branch.
Known as Signum Foundation Palazzo Dona, the palace is a permanent exhibition space with an admission free access to the public. Thanks to the incredibly fortunate and popular location, the Palazzo has become a place of intercultural dialogue as well as multinational, cultural and artistic exchange of ideas and practises among artists and critics.
In 2015 the Foundation opened a brand new space in Lodz, where an exhibition of selected artworks from Signum’s collection is open to public.
The realisation of the concept of generosity and genuine openness to another human through financial, but most of all creative support has been the Foundation’s main objective from the very beginning.
Hanna i Jarosław Przyborowscy
Founders - Foundation Council
President of the Board
BSUF Project Coordinator
The Signum Foundation’s head office is in Zeyland Factory – the only historic factory building remaining in Poznan city centre. The ground floor space is often used for temporary exhibitions and various projects organised by the Foundation. Here the Signum Foundation has hosted several exhibitions showcasing the work of artists such as Ryszard Wasko, Krzysztof Wodiczko and Jaroslav Kozlowski to name just a few.
A three-storey brick building with a basement, two slight avant-corps and visible roof turret, was erected in 1871-72 by an industrialist Jozef Zeyland. It housed Mr Zeyland’s Carpentry Factory (Fabryka Wyrobow Stolarskich Jozefa Zeylanda) until 1903. Jozef Zeyland’s internationally acclaimed woodwork became a permanent feature in many institutions as well as private homes. Some of the most well known carpentry realisations include an altar, pulpit and benches in the church of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Ostrow Tumski, the furnishings for the so-called Kraszewski’s office (commissioned by PTPN, Poznań Society of Friends of Learning), the furnishings of the Rogalin Palace library (commissioned by a nobleman Edward Aleksander Raczynski)
Jozef Zeyland (1823- 1891)
Industrialist, social activist, one of the Industrial Bank founders, PTPN member (Poznań Society of Friends of Learning) and TMK (Youth Mercantile Society), active supporter of a local educational aid for youth. Buried in a Cemetery of the Merited Citizens of Greater Poland in Poznan (cmentarz Zasłużonych Wielkopolan na Wzgórzu św. Wojciecha w Poznaniu).
Signum Foundation Gallery
The new exhibition space of Signum Foundaion will be designated for presentations of selected works and projects from the collection of the foundation.
It is no coincidence for it to be situated in Lodz; the city is a particular place on the map of 20th century
avant-garde. It is here, where thanks to the determination of artists like Wladyslaw Strzeminski, Henryk
Stazewski, Katarzyna Kobro and Julian Przybos, the first European international collection of modern art
was created in 1930. Muzeum Sztuki in Lodz is also foundation’s regular partner.
Presentations in Signum Foundation Gallery will concentrate more around personalities of creators than just their works. The collection of the foundation consists of large groups of works of representatives of Polish and
International avant-garde, among others: Stefan and Franciszka Themerson, Henryk Stazewski, Edward
Krasinski, Tadeusz Kantor, Katarzyna Kozyra, Jesús Rafael Soto, Carlos Cruz Diez, Ludwig Wilding.
Selected works from the collection: object, installation, video, film, series of photographs are to be an
impulse for the audience, to carefully discover personality of the artist and not only see his creations
exhibited at the gallery. For many artists the process of creation is indeed part of the artwork, although in
most cases it remains in the form of documentation.
Intimate character of the exhibition space will become a particular laboratory to determine and present
identity of Signum Foundation. Apart from mentioned projects we are planning to present works of young artists, for whom the collection has become inspiration and source for discussion for their own artistic practices. Each year the foundation will prepare six exhibitions.
Palazzo Donà is an exceptional place just like the city itself. The uniqueness of Venice, a city saturated with history is also a result of the interaction between all possible cultural influences including: Byzantium, Christianity, Judaism and Islam. The city of the greatest new-era painters of, Titian, Giorgione, Veronese has for some time now become more open to modern art.
Walking from Ponte di Rialto towards the basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa Dei Frari, we pass Campo San Polo, a huge square famous for its Early Gothic palaces, carnival masquerades, and outdoor cinema shows during the Film Festival. Palazzo Donà is one of the oldest palaces situated in the north-west frontage of the square.
The Palace, also known as Palazzo Donà Brusa, was apparently the first home to the aristocratic Donà family. According to historical records the original name was Donatus and it was given to the Roman citizens from Aquileia who in the 6th century found shelter in the lagoon. From the 11th century onwards, the Donà family actively participated in the public life of Venice. As it was the case with all great Venetian families its representative, Francesco Donà was the Doge, the highest official in Venice in the middle of the 16th century. In the following centuries the office was also held by Leonardo and Nicolas Donà. The artistic traditions of the palace are also well known. Giovanni Francesco Brusa was a composer of operas and church music. He cooperated with the famous Carlo Goldoni whose family home was in the close vicinity of Campo San Polo. It is also a Gothic palace comparable to Palazzo Donà.
The beginnings of Palazzo Donà date back to the early 14th century. It is most likely the time of the entrance portal with its decorative friezes marked by the visible influence of Byzantine art. Another interesting example of Early Gothic is the courtyard with an open staircase and with a well in the middle. A similar although more modest layout of the courtyard is found in the house of Carlo Gondoni mentioned earlier.
The somehow hidden from the outside piano nobile Palazzo Donà has a unique wooden Gothic vaulted ceiling, a Byzantine and Gothic quadroforium leading to the outdoor courtyard and the flooring done in the pastellone technique. The long and rich history of the palace is closed by the artistic family of painters and writers named Fonseca. A new page in the history of this exquisite place will be filled by the artistic activity of the Signum Foundation.
Here in the Palazzo the exhibitions are taking place every two years accompanying Biennale di Venezia.
AN AWARD GRANTED BY THE MUSEUM OF ART TO MRS. HANNA PRZYBOROWSKA AND MR. JAROSLAW PRZYBOROWSKI, THE FOUNDERS OF THE SIGNUM FOUNDATION
On September 3 the Museum of Art in Łódź granted an award to the Founders of the Signum Foundation, Mrs. Hanna Przyborowska and Mr. Jarosław Przyborowski.
The Museum of Art award is “a distinction granted for exceptional support given to the Museum of Art in Łódź and for the contribution to the development of this institution”.
The award was an expression of appreciation by the Museum for the Founders of the Signum Foundation who had purchased Cabane Clare, a work by Daniel Buren for the collection of the Museum of Art in Łódź as well for their support granted to the Museum within the Social Council of the Museum of Art in Łódź.
“This award has for us a symbolic dimension. For years the Museum of Art in Łódź has been an inspiration for us” (Jarosław Przyborowski)
Signum’s art exhibition in Palazzo Dona, Venice was ranked by the magazine “Arteon” as one of the most significant artistic phenomena of the year 2009.
In January 2010, Arteon’s editorial board reviewed the exhibition “Awake and Dream” (Palazzo Dona, Venice, 2009). The exhibition placed 7th in the magazine’s ranking of the “most significant artistic phenomena” of the year 2009. It reads “The inauguration of the Signum Foundation’s international outreach remains one of the major events of last year, thus annunciating far-reaching ramifications for establishing a prominent position for Polish art globally (…)”.
FOUNDERS OF THE SIGNUM FOUNDATION AMONG THE HUNDRED OF "OBIEG" AND THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE IN THE POLISH ART WORLD
Hanna and Jaroslaw Przyborowski, founders of the Signum Foundation, were placed on the 52nd position in the top Hundred of “Obieg” (one of the most important opinion making art magazines in Poland) and “Art Bazaar” (a blog dedicated to contemporary art collecting edited by Piotr Bazylko and Krzysztof Masiewicz) among the most influential people in the Polish art world.
Justification: “Although the international collection of the Signum Foundation established by Hanna and Jaroslaw Przyborowski has been developing for years it was only in 2009 that the collection was presented to the public. And obviously it was not a case that the presentation took place at Palazzo Donà in Venice during the Biennale.”
JAREK MASZEWSKI AWARD 2009
We have the pleasure to announce that Mrs Hanna Przyborowska and Mr Jarosław Przyborowski, the founders of the Signum Foundation, have received the Jarek Maszewski Award for their “thoughtful social work with children, consistent exhibition programme, for presenting art in a public space and for exhibiting Polish art in Venice”. With these words the Jury which granted the award (Polish Association of Visual Artists, Association of Polish Architects, Association of Polish Photographers, Poznań Academy of Fine Arts and Arsenał, the Municipal Gallery) justified their decision.
CERTIFICATE OF CHARITY
Certificate was awarded to the Signum Foundation by the Foundation for Childen “Help on Time” for significant financial support for therapies and rehabilitation.
THE GOLDEN ERASMUS AWARD
The Primary School No. 7 in Poznań, whose patron is Erasmus of Rotterdam, awarded the Golden Erasmus in the category ‘Friends of School No. 7’ to Mrs Hanna Przyborowska and Mr Jarosław Przyborowski.
"SYBILLA 2003" – PRIZE BY THE MINISTER OF CULTURE
“Sybilla 2003” for the exhibition entitled “Magic of Colour. Samuel Tepler 1918-1998” as the most interesting Museum Event in 2003 in the category of exhibitions prepared entirely from foreign collections.