The Life and Death of Janina Węgrzynowska, created by Ludomir Franczak, is a project from the very edges of theatrical production, visual arts and documentary making. The initial focus is on a female artist who devoted all of her life to creative work, yet remained wholly unknown to the wider public, as well as the artistic community. Those who are asked about her cannot remember much, while the documents and works she left behind are merely a scrap of that which was scattered after her death. The figure of Węgrzynowska vanishes, dissolves, loops round via individual gestures and words. How to tell the story of someone who evades all attempts at being known? In what way can we gather up the whole of someone’s life, along with the traces they left behind? What sort of form should such a presentation take? 

The basis for this play is the ever-growing archive of works, objects and documents left behind by the artist, which becomes a source of knowledge about Węgrzynowska, meanwhile forming the foundation for further activities. The overall effect is a show / performative installation which completely does away with live actors. The project takes up the theme of loneliness, focusing on that which death leaves behind – one’s works, personal belongings, furniture – an excess of things which suddenly become a problem for those who inherit them. Focusing away from the character of Węgrzynowska, the play tells a story which is relevant to all human beings.

The form the play takes is incredibly close to the artist’s own style, utilising a collage which on the one hand harnesses the legacy of others, and on the other hand becomes a new work of art in itself. This is a complex activity, placing great emphasis on the process itself. Following in her footsteps, we can do it here and now – six years after her death, while at the same time remaining in a unique space outside of time, where rhythm is measured out in personal belongings, encountered histories and dynamism connected with the fact that we never know what might be hiding behind a corner.


Marcin Dymiter

Literary adaptation
Daniel Odija

Artistic consultant
Magdalena Franczak

Art history consultant
Hubert Bilewicz

Sebastian Buczek

Model making
Kamil Stańczak

Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute – “Placówka” programme, Kaiser Söze Foundation

“Węglin” District Centre for Culture