Klara Jankiewicz
Klara Jankiewicz

Communal Table

Professor Jerzy Porębski
Studio of Product Design (No. 3)


Klara Jankiewicz’s COMMUNAL TABLE is a reaction to the UNESCO Convention
for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, ratified by Poland last year.
Customs, beliefs, expressions, oral traditions, knowledge and skills, and objects
and cultural space related to them, all of which are considered the cultural heritage
of a given community, according to the Convention need to be documented,
safeguarded, examined, shared and popularised. The latter duties were
of special interest to Klara.

It is a difficult task due to the elusiveness of such a heritage, especially when
we are dealing with folk culture. Its centuries-long homogenisation, marginalisation, commercialisation and simultaneous diversification all magnify this difficulty.

Klara’s installation is a multi-element TABLE and minor objects referring to the actual
diversity. Looking for meanings, sense and what is common, she analysed symbols,
rituals and objects, not guided by their appearance, material properties or the way
they were produced. As the author herself points out, she tried to keep her project
within simple, modern aesthetics, not giving rise to associations with ethno-design.

The TABLE and objects gathered on it form a SITUATION – EXHIBITION, into which
the invited guests are drawn. Its particular parts are made of different materials
and carry different meanings. The TABLE as a symbol of the domestic and daily,
as well as the festive. It may be an ordinary or a representative piece of furniture,
a meeting place or a place of work. The simple, archetypal form, raw wood, stone,
lace and cloth evoke all these meanings.

On the TABLE there is bread, with which many beliefs and customs are connected,
as well as the eternal flame, flowers and herbs, a double pot, stamp-printed textiles,
a decanter and vodka glasses. All these objects form a surprising whole, interact
with each other and recalling a world which is passing away. At the same time
we are dealing with an attempt to reinterpret our traditions in a new context.
The question is, which of them will survive and in what form? Klara invited several
designers to create objects, giving them guidance and consulting ideas.
She thought that the COMMUNAL TABLE should be created by different individuals,
with differing approaches towards our heritage. The resulting project is open
to further experiments and may be an excuse to hold a “design discussion”
on Polish culture and intangible heritage.


B. 1986, studied at the Faculty of Design of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw
(2005-2011). She co-authored the pedestrian crossings in the shape of a piano
keyboard on E. Plater Street in Warsaw implemented on the occasion
of the Year of Chopin Celebrations, 2010. During her studies she won many
awards and official recognition in design competitions. Klara works in
design and graphic arts.