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Andrzej Strumiłło 05.09-05.12.2013 Andrzej Strumiłło

As part of the ‘Living Gallery’ cycle, the National Museum in Cracow (MNK) presented an exhibition of paintings, sculptures and drawings by Andrzej Strumiłło. This versatile artist is a painter, graphic artist, sculptor, photographer, book illustrator, set designer, author of books about nature and culture, poet and traveller.

Born in 1927 in Vilnius, Lithuania, he graduated from the Łódź State Art School under the direction of Władysław Strzemiński and the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow under the supervision of Eugeniusz Eibisch and Adam Marczyński, among others. He made his debut in 1954 at an exhibition in Beijing as part of a cultural exchange. His work was hugely influenced not only by the avant-garde experiments of Strzemiński during his studies in Łódź and the colourists of the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow, but also by his first trip to the Far East and the innumerable trips to follow, in Asia, Europe, and the United States (on behalf of the Polish Chamber of Commerce). For several years he also served as the director of the graphics studio at the Secretariat of the UN.

Nepal, India, Japan, Thailand, wartime Vietnam, Mongolia, China, Syria, Turkey, Siberia and the Caucasus … I travelled through these countries many times. I drew, photographed, and wrote. I was greatly interested by the artistic traditions and canons of beauty that grew out of the spirit of Asia. Much of this has permeated my work. Over time – I mean decades − I realised that Asia had made me a different person, recalls Strumiłło. After spending many years on remote journeys, the artist returned to Poland, where he was engaged at the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow. He accepted a position as contractual professor and for three years conducted a thesis workshop.

Andrzej Strumiłło has exhibited his work all over the world. He has published and illustrated four volumes of his own poetry, as well as creating illustrations for such works as Last Poems by Czesław Miłosz. Along with Miłosz and Tomas Venclová, he was the co-creator of Księgi Wielkiego Księstwa Litewskiego (The Book of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania), which was published in 2009 by the Pogranicze (Borderland) foundation. The year 2011 saw the publication of a work by Andrzej Strumiłło entitled Summa, an attempt to summarise his creative output. The artist has won many national awards, decorations and medals as well as the titles Honorary Citizen of the City of Suwałki and Cultural Ambassador of Podlasie (voivodeship). He is also a recipient of the gold ‘Gloria Artis’ Medal for Merit to Culture.

At the exhibition at the National Museum in Cracow, we could view, among other items, six oil paintings by the artist from the Museum’s collection, two stone sculptures, and the A-4 Diary consisting of 140 pages, Strumiłło’s artistic-poetic reflection on reality. The pages were created over the course of many years (from 1975 until 2013 inclusive) and were done using drawing and collage techniques. The oldest of the presented works, in the style of socialist realism, was Head of a bricklayer from 1954. We can also view works from the cycles Psalms and Apocalypse, among them The Last Judgement and The Cross of Saint Andrew. The exhibition was complemented by a biographical film relating the fascinating life and artistic experiences of the creator.

Curator: Maria Wójtowicz

MNK The Main Building

al. 3 Maja 1 Inter-tekst room, 2nd floor
  • Monday: closed
  • Tuesday - Sunday: 10.00-18.00

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