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XX + XXI. POLISH ART GALLERY - Sculpture

03.06.2022 XX + XXI. POLISH ART GALLERY - Sculpture

The XX + XXI. Polish Art Gallery will be expanding in June with a new space dedicated to sculpture of the mid-20th century onwards. This space will be the last on the visitors’ route through the gallery, and will be a complement to the 20th century sculpture gallery located in in the hall on the second floor, and thus will blend the multifaceted history of modern Polish sculpture into a single whole.

The groundbreaking nature of sculpture in the 20th century becomes visible during the second half of the period. The increased significance of the concept of space resulted at that time in a violent departure from figurative sculpture towards experimental forms, such as installation and environment. The human figure, though it ceased to be the exclusive synonym of sculpture, still remains a core theme in artistic work; subjected to transformations, deformed, it illustrates the tension between academic traditions and avant-garde tendencies, becoming itself a new medium for conveying meaning. Sculpture in the 20th and 21st centuries also makes use of a multitude of previously unused materials and represents a fresh outlook on traditional materials.

The limited exhibition space available has forced a synthetic approach to displaying these sculptural works, which are linked by shared themes which can be seen in both the content as well as the form of the works presented. 

The themes of corporeality and of the body as a symbol, as a motif of memory and also the broadly understood constructive movement are all intertwined with the idea of space and spatiality.

The exhibition presents both canonical works and less obvious choices from well-known sculptors, as well as works which have been unfairly forgotten or under-represented in the discourse on contemporary art. The selection and arrangement of the works inclines viewers to discover modern Polish sculpture anew.

Curator: Agata Małodobry
Coordinator: Katarzyna Stolarz
Design designers: Wzorro Design

Implementation of the exhibition "XX + XXI. POLISH ART GALLERY - Sculpture". Co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage
Co-financing amount: PLN 171 500

Autor: Agata Małodobry

The Main Building

al. 3 Maja 1
  • Monday: closed
  • Tuesday: 10.00-19.00
  • Wednesday - Thursday: 10.00-18.00
  • Friday - Saturday: 10.00-19.00
  • Sunday: 10.00-18.00
Katarzyna Kobro (1898–1951)

Akt dziewczęcy (Nude of a young girl)

1948 (cast 1989)

The model for the sculpture was the artist’s 12-year-old daughter, Nika. A slender, slightly slouching girl sits directly on the floor. Her delicate frame is accented by the light flowing through gaps in the form. The sculpture is simplified, some parts of the body have been portrayed in highly distorted perspective. The figure, however, is shown in a much more peaceful pose than in other female nudes by Kobro from that year, and features much more supple forms; in this way, the artist reflected the delicacy of her daughter.

 

XX + XXI. POLISH ART GALLERY - Sculpture
Jerzy Bereś (1930–2012)

Zwid drapieżca (A Predator Vision)

1960

Wooden elements tied together with hemp cords and joined by holes and bolts without the use of nails or synthetic adhesives create a composition resembling a horned fantastic beast with a long neck.Wood is one of the first materials used by humans, and here the artist has only lightly worked the surfaces, retaining the impression of primeval severity.

XX + XXI. POLISH ART GALLERY - Sculpture
Bronisław Chromy (1925–1917)

Drogowskaz (Roadsign)

1960

The soaring form of  a highly dynamic nature is a presentation of the human figure interpreted in a nearly abstract manner. The jagged, in places fragmentary, silhouette enhances the expression, yet the composition is far from chaotic; the sculpture is tamed by the geometric approach adopted by the artist. Parallel leading lines bring to mind the shapes of a crystal. 

XX + XXI. POLISH ART GALLERY - Sculpture
Alina Szapocznikow (1926–1973)

Głowa z łyżką (Head with a spoon)

1966

The motif of the human head is one of the leading themes in the gallery. Among these heads conducting an imaginary dialogue is a concrete bust with an ordinary metal spoon sunk centrally into the face. In the 1960s, Alina Szapocznikow included in her works used and useless objects (fragments of automotive scrap metal, tools, everyday items), achieving an effect blending sculpture and the ready-made. The idea of the ready-made, one of the most influential concepts in 20th century art, was propagated by Marcel Duchamp, who claimed that the very choice of an object was an artistic act in itself. This approach was developed by the Dadaists and Surrealists, and in the 1960s it was carried on by sculptors from the Nouveau Réalisme movement, with whom Alina Szapocznikow’s output was for a time linked.

XX + XXI. POLISH ART GALLERY - Sculpture
Maria Pinińska-Bereś (1931–1999)

Gorset-trapez (Corset-trapeze)

1966

Gorset-trapez is a mobile, hanging sculptural form. It is one of the first works in which the artist deprives the sculptural of the weight traditionally associated with the form.  Drawing on the image of the acrobat balancing on a trapeze, the artist alludes to the poetics of the circus; thus the significance is multiplied, both presenting the female body as an entertainment for men and critiquing the “male gaze” in culture. The corset is an obvious symbol of the enslavement of women by convention and stereotype.

XX + XXI. POLISH ART GALLERY - Sculpture
Zuzanna Janin (born 1961)

Pasygrafia. Solaris III (Homage à Stanisław Lem)

2009

A pasigraphy is a system of signs which is intelligible regardless of the language of the viewer. These may be numbers, or musical notes, or chemical symbols. The artist has here expanded the notion of pasigraphy, using ready-made objects to construct a “signature” of the persons whom she was imagining while creating her sculptures. In Solaris III, these objects are paving stones and socks, two materials with highly divergent structures and properties, arranged in startling combinations. In this way, a tension is created between the human, the personal and that which is public, between the intimate space of a man and the image created for consumption by others.

XX + XXI. POLISH ART GALLERY - Sculpture
Piotr Bożyk (born 1944)

Pożądanie (Desire)

1980 (design), 2010

The kinetic sculptures of Bożyk are complex mechanisms with undeniable aesthetic appeal. At first glance, they appear to be quite rough yet symmetrical, but the sophisticated combinations of their parts results in unique ornamental compositions.

XX + XXI. POLISH ART GALLERY - Sculpture
XX + XXI. POLISH ART GALLERY - Sculpture - exhibition opening
XX + XXI. POLISH ART GALLERY - Sculpture - exhibition opening
XX + XXI. POLISH ART GALLERY - Sculpture - exhibition opening
XX + XXI. POLISH ART GALLERY - Sculpture - exhibition opening
XX + XXI. POLISH ART GALLERY - Sculpture - exhibition opening
XX + XXI. POLISH ART GALLERY - Sculpture - exhibition opening
XX + XXI. POLISH ART GALLERY - Sculpture - exhibition opening
XX + XXI. POLISH ART GALLERY - Sculpture - exhibition opening
XX + XXI. POLISH ART GALLERY - Sculpture - exhibition opening
XX + XXI. POLISH ART GALLERY - Sculpture - exhibition opening
XX + XXI. POLISH ART GALLERY - Sculpture - exhibition opening
XX + XXI. POLISH ART GALLERY - Sculpture - exhibition opening
XX + XXI. POLISH ART GALLERY - Sculpture - exhibition opening
XX + XXI. POLISH ART GALLERY - Sculpture - exhibition opening
XX + XXI. POLISH ART GALLERY - Sculpture - exhibition opening
XX + XXI. POLISH ART GALLERY - Sculpture - exhibition opening
XX + XXI. POLISH ART GALLERY - Sculpture
XX + XXI. POLISH ART GALLERY - Sculpture
XX + XXI. POLISH ART GALLERY - Sculpture - exhibition opening
XX + XXI. POLISH ART GALLERY - Sculpture - exhibition opening

Co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage

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