Dittmer said she hadn’t anticipated that Martínez’s long-held vision for a research institute devoted to women would find fruition with Kulczyk’s backing. She just knew, when she introduced them, that “these two wonderful women have to meet—they will have a lot to say to each other.”
Martínez, who has written extensively on gender issues in the art world, said she and Kulczyk bonded immediately over their shared concern for how women are treated as they move through their professional lives.
Although it’s not clear yet exactly how the institute’s activities will tie in with the museum’s programming, it will have use of a small documentation room within the museum to mount displays that stem from the institute’s research. For example, the Instituto is compiling a large database of reports, research, and theory, documenting women’s status around the world and representation in different industries. This will be the basis for a “mobile library” and, eventually, a report.
Martínez is keen to use the research room to present these statistics visually, and hopes they can then travel to other institutions.
“The display needs to be artistic, in a way. It needs to be readable,” she said.
Research into women’s rights around the world would reveal a growing threat in Poland in recent years, where the ruling Law and Justice party has systematically attempted to roll back women’s freedoms, particularly around reproductive autonomy. Kulczyk, who spends most of her time in Switzerland, where she has a home (also designed by Voellmy and Schmidlin) less than 25 miles from the museum, said she is not involved with political issues in Poland and does not consider herself a feminist.
“I don’t declare myself as a feminist,” she said, “but I simply fight for equal rights for women to be recognized across the board in different fields including art and business, because I believe they possess an equal amount of talent as men.”
That belief includes no shortage of pride in her own accomplishments.
“I’m glad that I managed to do this,” she said, speaking of her new museum. “That I was stubborn and self-confident enough that I did not give up this dream.”