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Zuzanna Zasacka

February Art Guide - Warsaw

February Art Guide - Warsaw

Recommendations of what to see in the Warsaw art scene this month by our local guide, Zuzanna Zasacka. Discover even more on a private tour.

I.

Exhibition: Sarkis. Angel Rainbow
Artist: Sarkis
Venue: Zacheta Gallery
Dates: Until February 18th, 2018


An exhibition of one of the most important classics of the 20th and 21st century art. Born Sarkis Zabunyan, in 1938 in Istanbul, Sarkis is an Armenian conceptual artist. He studied painting and design at the Mimar Sinan University in Istanbul, and since the 1960s has lived and worked in Paris. He was one of a dozen young artists invited by the curator and art critic Harald Szeemann to participate in the exhibition Live in Your Head: When Attitudes Become Form (Works — Concepts — Processes — Situations — Information), at the Kunsthalle Bern (1969), which presented a new vision of contemporary art.
In his work, Sarkis metaphorically touches on the most important problems of today’s world. He is fascinated by both contemporary visual culture and the richness of tradition and history of non-European cultures, which have been excluded or marginalised for years. The basic elements in the structure of his works and ideas are constituted by the concepts of memory and identity. In Zachęta, in collaboration with people working locally at the exhibition, the artist has built and manipulated three important elements of his work: light, word, and context of place. This Zachęta exhibition will present 21 sentences, selected by our team and hand-written in Polish by Zachętas employees, then made into neon signs. 

Sarkis_Angel Rainbow_exhibition view_Zachęta_photo by Marek Krzyżanek

Sarkis_Angel Rainbow_exhibition view_Zachęta_photo by Marek Krzyżanek


II.

Exhibition: Rachel Poignant. Generations
Artist: Rachel Poignant
Venue:  Xavery Dunikowski Musuem of Sculpture „Królikarnia“
Dates: Until February 18th, 2018

The sculptures of Rachel Poignant, though abstract and unique, resemble forms we know: shells, stones, cookies or the avant-garde works of the constructivists. They are anachronistic—they do not seem to belong to the time in which they originated, reaching both the remembered past as well as the imagined future. They are reminiscent of remnants of 20th century modernism extracted from the ruins of our world by archaeologists of the civilizations that will come after us. 
What connects Rachel Poignant (b. 1986) to Poland is her teacher and mentor, Anka Ptaszkowska. Ptaszkowska, an eminent curator and art critic, works only with outstanding artists. She was the initiator of many unconventional artistic events, which connected the Polish art world with Western Europe. Also this time, Ptaszkowska, convinced of the extraordinary talent of Rachel Poignant, has initiated a Polish-French collaboration.

Rachel Poignant

Rachel Poignant

III.

Exhibition: Gallery of Polish Design
Venue: National Museum in Warsaw 


This time I will exceptionally recommend the permanent exhibition, but freshly open. The NMW has something special in store to mark the end of 2017. Polish applied arts will be on permanent display in the Gallery of Polish Design, showcasing the most important pieces from the early 20th century up to the present day.

The Nataiona Museum’s new permanent gallery shows the numerous approaches to design prevalent throughout the various decades and artistic circles – from the Zakopane milieu, Krakow Workshops, “Ład” Artists’ Cooperative and modernists in the “Praesens” group, through the post-war reconstruction period, Social Realism, the Polish thaw and post-1956 modernism – when Polish applied arts developed with the greatest dynamism – to the finest examples of contemporary design. A separate mention will be given to aspects of industrial design, design for children and ethnographic design.

Gallery of Polish Design

Gallery of Polish Design

Warsaw Art Guide - December

Warsaw Art Guide - December

I.

Exhibition: The Other Trans-Atlantic. Kinetic and Op Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America 1950s – 1970s
Artists: Various Artists
Venue: Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw
Dates: Until February 11th, 2018


"The Other Trans-Atlantic. Kinetic and Op Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America 1950s – 1970s" examines a brief yet historically significant moment in the post-war era during which artists from Eastern Europe and Latin America cultivated a shared enthusiasm for Kinetic and Op Art.
This trend represented both an alternative and a challenge to the critical consensus of mainstream Northern-Atlantic art production: while in the established art centers of Paris, London and New York, abstract expressionism, informal and lyrical abstraction reigned supreme, another art history was being written linking the hubs of Warsaw, Budapest, Zagreb, Bucharest and Moscow together with Buenos Aires, Caracas, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.
The exhibition was organized by the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw in collaboration with Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow and SESC São Paulo.

Abraham Palatnik, Kinetic Object P-28, /1971 (2000) wood, formica, acrylic, metal, engine. courtesy of Nara Roesler Gallery, São Paulo and New York

Abraham Palatnik, Kinetic Object P-28, /1971 (2000) wood, formica, acrylic, metal, engine. courtesy of Nara Roesler Gallery, São Paulo and New York


II.

Exhibition: Second Thoughts
Artist: Luka Rayski
Venue: Galeria Szydlowski
Dates: Until February 15th, 2018


The exhibition "Second Thoughts" gathers 13 paintings of Luka Rayski, made in the last two years. They were made simultaneously with the press illustrations, posters for theaters and political demonstrations. Paintings presented in the gallery were made on polypropylene. Rayski juxtaposed a waste material, which is very durable and light at the same time with painting- a medium with a long tradition. The effect is exceptional. 
The pictures are based on the multiplicity of overlapping layers from different orders and realities: the shapes of the people, face profiles interpenetrate with an abstract pattern of stairs, or arrows that give the vector of the composition. 

Luka Rayski, Untitled (head and hands), 2016, photo by Ignacy Skwarcan

Luka Rayski, Untitled (head and hands), 2016, photo by Ignacy Skwarcan


III.

Exhibition: Hidden Doubts
Artist: Alicja Bielawska
Venue: Kasia Michalski
Dates: Until January 25th, 2018


Alicja Bielawska in her practice, has been dealing with the physical—or metaphysical—qualities of objects: their geometric shapes, their colors, their potential or imaginative functions, but also the relationships occurring between them and individual viewers. She has applied this attitude in creating drawings, sculptures and installations, but also experimenting with perceiving them in motion, animating them through choreographed actions with dancers.
The works presented in the exhibition seem captured in a state of their own becoming; self-sustained, they create dynamic constellations within the space.

Hidden Doubts , 2017, exhibition view, photo: M. Gardulski

Hidden Doubts, 2017, exhibition view, photo: M. Gardulski

Warsaw Art Guide - October

Warsaw Art Guide - October

I.

Exhibition: Love, Memory, Curiosity
Artists: Alicja Bielawska, Tymek Borowski, Magdalena Karpińska, Olga Micińska, Shana Moulton, Katarzyna Przezwańska, Mikołaj Sobczak, Stach Szumski, Nomadic State
Venue: Polana Institute in Geological Museum
Date: until November 6th


Love, Memory, Curiosity is the first exhibition of contemporary art at the Geological Museum. It shows contemporary art as yet another stage of evolution, with the title referring to the words of Charles Darwin: “the difference in mind between man and the higher animals, great as it is, certainly is one of degree and not of kind.” Love, memory, and curiosity are common to humans and animals.

The idea for the exhibition was born out of fascination with the function and space of the Geological Museum, where nature becomes a history that needs to be preserved for future generations. Visitors usually struggle to grasp the immense durations of geological eras; the exhibition artists deal with this exercise in geological imagination by incorporating magic and surrealistic elements in their art.  For me the interior of the Geological Museum is the opposite of the white cube. Observing the art object of young artist in such surrounding was a very refreshing and stimulating. 

Magdalena Karpinska_Love, Memory, Curiosity_exhibition view_2017. Photo by Bartek Górk

Magdalena Karpinska_Love, Memory, Curiosity_exhibition view_2017. Photo by Bartek Górk


II.

Exhibition: Views 2017
Artists: Ewa Axelrad, Przemek Branas, Agata Kus, Honorata Martin, Łukasz Surowiec
Venue: Zachęta – National Gallery of Art
Date: until November 12th


Views 2017 is the eighth edition of the competition for young artists, organized by Deutsche Bank Polska S.A. and Zachęta – National Gallery of Art. The committee led by painter Paulina Ołowska selected five finalists. Participating in this year’s Views are artists born between 1984 and 1987, representing various regions of Poland, whose art is linked by a shared interest in humanity — both in the individual, as well as in the social perspective.

The show is a good occasion for an overview of contemporary young art in Poland. This years edition is special because of its vivid comment on the actual political and social reality. 

Honorata Martin „Wikiup”, Zachęta, fot. Marek Krzyżanek

Honorata Martin „Wikiup”, Zachęta, fot. Marek Krzyżanek


III.

Exhibition: Early Polishness
Artists: Katarzyna Przezwańska
Date: until November 4th


In the gallery window Katarzyna Przezwańska shows a handmade diorama made from paper, depicting the area of Warsaw about a hundred million years ago. The capital of Poland was overgrown with palms and subtropical forest inhabited by dinosaurs. The area was located closer to the equator. The artist sums up, shortly- Poland was better before it was Poland. Przezwańska focuses on the time before humans, escaping from Anthropocene.  

Katarzyna Przezwańska, Early Polishness, by B. Górka. Courtesy of Fundacja Sztuki Polskiej ING

Katarzyna Przezwańska, Early Polishness, by B. Górka. Courtesy of Fundacja Sztuki Polskiej ING

Introducing the Avant-Garde Institute, Warsaw

Introducing the Avant-Garde Institute, Warsaw

The Institute of Avant-Garde is an extraordinary gallery at the site of the studio of late Polish artist Edward Krasiński. It is preserved exactly in the same state as it was left in 2004, after the artist’s death. Edward Krasiński was one of the most important protagonists of the Polish neo-avant-garde from the 1960s and '70s. 

The main feature of his studio is blue Scotch tape, which he stuck horizontally at the height of 130 centimetres, “everywhere and on everything”.

 “I don’t know whether this is art”, he commented, “but it’s certainly scotch blue, width 19 mm, length unknown”. Krasinski’s works are currently showing at the Tate Liverpool until March 2017, where his blue Scotch is juxtaposed with the Yves Klein exhibition.

Edward Krasiński in his studio

Edward Krasiński in his studio

The studio is placed on the eleventh floor amongst a block of flats in Warsaw’s city center. From 1970 Krasiński shared the atelier with Henryk Stażewski, another well-known avant-garde and constructivist artist.The studio is open to the public but because of the unusual conservation restrictions, groups have to be small and must be booked in advance.

The terrace pavilion which was newly attached to the studio houses all kinds of exhibitions, lectures, workshops and academic sessions—forming a broad context for the tradition created by Stażewski and Krasiński. The confrontation of Krasiński’s ephemeral works with new exhibitions and critical reflection makes the Avant-Garde Institute a unique experiment in contemporary museum practice.

- by Zuzanna Zasacka