logo museum of sadness

There is a Happiness Research Institut in Copenhagen, which claims that Danes get a lot happier in their souls if they light a candle. The more candles, the more joy. However, not everyone’s mood is improved by the burning knot. Poles have a good predisposition to sadness, this melancholic national sadness, but also quite ordinary, everyday sadness of gray apartment blocks.

Everyone feels sad sometimes. You can be sad for a broken heart, you can be sad for a dead pet hamster. You can also be sad, if you find out that someone has deceived you a lot by saying that you are outstanding and can achieve anything. Sadness is an individual experience, but you can go to sympathy. We can be sad as a nation – when the national team loses the championship. We can feel together a generational sadness over lost opportunities and disappointed hopes. Sadness allows you to experience an extraordinary state of community and alienation at the same time – we can unite in sadness, but in the end, everyone stays with his/her own sadness alone.

Curators by the main part of the exhibition


We created the Museum of Sadness, because we were just sad. We wanted to accumulate the overflowing emotions, abstract them from life, squeeze them out like an extract and present them in its purest form – in order to share them. As curators, we try to translate into the language of exhibitions what is immaterial, and thus more strongly felt. Institutionalization helps in ordering, unifying meanings and familiarizing what is not obvious. In this case, it is supposed to be cathartic.

Let’s share the sadness, maybe it’ll make us feel a little easier after that.

Set of ingredients (Disappointment, Nostalgia, Regret, Failure…) and laboratory glass

Exhibition elements

  • light – blue, like a blue screen (inspiration: the film Blue by Derek Jarman)
  • sound – water dripping from the ceiling into a large metal reflective bowl
  • interactivity – the possibility of pouring your sadness into the bowl; in the vestibule, a set of laboratory dishes with various types of sad emotions that the viewer can freely mix in his own measuring cup, which he later adds to the bowl in the middle of the tower (closed circuit – dripping water flows down and returns)
Opening night

Objectives of the exhibition:

  1. present sadness as a universal experience, experienced individually
  2. visualize sadness, institutionalize
  3. share a personal experience – a sincere gesture
  4. interaction as a gesture of inclusion in the community
Museum visitors mixing their emotion potions
Adding sadness to the common pool

Co-curated by: Kamila Twardowska

Realised by: Artur Wabik, Dorota Halbarda

Hosted by: Centrum Kultury Dworek Białoprądnicki, Galeria BASZTA

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