(b. 1956) is an art critic, independent curator, editor-in-chief of
the magazines Sztuka, Projekt and Art & Business,
and the author of books on contemporary art
Iwona Wojewoda-Jedynak. Interjeras. 2002,
drobė, tempera, 150x100
OBA (Ryszard Grzyb, Marcin Osiowski). Visi garbingi
lenkai kaip Čingischanas. 2002, drobė, akrilas, 148,5x114,5
Ewa Miazek. Pastatas su velniu. 2004, drobė,
Paweł Susid. Be pavadinimo (Vladimiro Lenino
daiktai). 1980, drobė, aliejus, 33,5x33,5
Ryszard Gieryszewski. Du trikampiai. 1997,
medžio raižinys, 70x50
Sylwester Ambroziak. Jaučiant tavo kvapą, jaučiant
tavo kvėpavimą. 20022003, medis, 102x110x120
Józef Szajna. Batų siena, asambliažas
Overview: Contemporary Polish Art
Warsaw in Vilnius and a concurrent Vilnius in Warsaw are
two significant events capable of bridging a cultural gap of the long
years and introducing to the viewers the phenomena that appear to be
familiar, yet in reality, they are new to them.
The Warsaw in Vilnius with 64 artists and 150 pieces of art presents
the contemporary Polish art (predominantly from Warsaw) on an unprecedented
scale in Lithuania. No unifying theme has been designated for this exhibition,
and all the works featured have been selected on the basis of quality.
The Warsaw in Vilnius has a rationale of a simple overview and
is, in a sense, a missing link in the chain of two previous (in the
past ten years) events of Polish art in Lithuania: a retrospective of
Polish art after 1945, held at the Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius
seven years ago, and the exhibition Under a White-Red Flag. New Art
from Poland, hosted by the same venue early this spring. In general,
Lithuanian and Polish cultural contacts are close and cordial, yet it
is possible that such close proximity and spiritual kinship prevent
from seeking to learn more of each others art.
The Warsaw in Vilnius is an attempt at defining a present situation
of Polish art and verifying if its traditionally characteristic features
have remained the same.
Quite a number of the painters on display in Vilnius can be identified
as colourists, even though the very concept of colourism has
changed and diffused so much since the times of Post-impressionism.
Yet even today there are artists who consider colour to be one of the
key elements of art. For Teresa Pągowska colour is the way to
express emotion and manifestation of life, for Tadeusz Dominik, colour
in itself is an absolute value. Stanisùaw Fijaùkowski
also has his own philosophy of colour, based on the theory formulated
in the letters of Strzemiòski and Kandinsky.
Several painters of different generations have created their idioms
through their relationship with nature. Such colour dominated abstractions,
like these by Maria Orzęcka, Alina Bloch or Barbara Pszczóùkowska-Kasten
have some remote references to landscape or a skyscape,
as in the case of Krzysztof Wachowiaks canvases.
The professor Stefan Gierowski represents both geometric and non-geometric
abstraction, demonstrating how artificial this division is. Dorota Grynczel
and Apoloniusz Węgùowski also recognize geometry as a way
of painting and means of imparting discipline and philosophy on it.
Though overall Polish artists often rely on abstraction in one or another
way, as witnessed by variety of works on display, it is impossible to
speak of abstraction as dominating trend on the Polish scene, as it
is difficult for the viewers to comprehend to gain wide popularity.
Polish new expressionism, which emerged in the years of military
dictatorship, was most active in the 1980s, and exists today. It is
most explicit in the art of OBA, Ryszard Grzyba and Marcin Osiowski.
Marek Sobczyk and Paweù Susid have also been perpetuating the
trend of new expressionism, even though most of the latters canvases
feature writing. Expressionists in the classical sense are Zdzisùaw
Nitka and Marek Sobczyk, while Edward Dwurnik in his art is both expressionist
Mikoùaj Malesza abd Jacek Ùydýba can be associated
with poetic expressionism, Eugeniusz Minciel and Jarosùaw Wójcik
are abstract expressionists, though both understand expression and abstraction
in a totally different way.
The professors Gustaw Zemùa, Adam Myjak, and Antoni Janusz Pastwa
are loyal to figurative sculpture and are undoubtedly the best
in this field in Poland. Displayed alongside with classical pieces by
other sculptors, wooden primitive figures by Sylwester Ambroziak strike
a distinct note.
The experiments of the internationally established artists Andrzej Kalina
and Marek Jaromski, has long ago brought the two beyond the boundaries
of graphic art. Andrzej Kalinas "gypsographs&", (linocut
is imprinted in gypsum) are very impressive and fragile, Jaromski makes
three-dimensional objects from paper and crushed plants.
"The fantastic&" is probably the weakest category of
contemporary art. Through commercial success of the contemporary exponents
of fantastic art, it had become synonymous with kitsch. Yet it remains
a territory of important and interesting discoveries, and in Poland
it is best represented by Maria Anto and Franciszek Maúluszczak.
The young art today seems to be preoccupied exclusively with
the "cold media&". Photography, video, computers and installation
seem to be created for critics, curators and international events. Those
who do not want to give in to the dictatorship of fashion and believe
in the universal values of art, have to promote their art themselves.
Piotr Wachowski has combined formal and thematic tricks in his work,
while Ola Chaberek has created the longest in Poland painting, combined
with installation, using a complex technique of drawing in chalk on
cardboard mounted on canvas, oils, and layers of wax.
Iwona Wojewoda-Jedynak, indifferent to fashion, continues painting peaceful,
light-filled interiors and still-lives in classical tempera technique.
Two Maùgorzatas, Gurowska and Dmitruk, two young graphic art
stars, have undertaken a revival of traditional graphic art techniques
- linocut, drawing, and lithography. Elýbieta Banecka-Olszewska
pursues a similar route.
Vilnius exhibition features some Polish artists who stood at the cradle
of contemporary assemblage and installation, Józef Szajna
and Jerzy Kalina. Józef Szajna (he worked with Wolf Vostell and
Joseph Beuys) is one of the artists has highly individualised this form
Some of the artists are simply impossible to associate with any trend
or style. In such instances a concept of "individual mythology&"
is applied. Jerzy Mierzejewski is not only one of these, but also a
representative of a dynasty of "individual mythologists&".
His metaphysical landscapes and interiors are inhabited with what seem
rather shadows than concrete people. Ewa Miazek merges abstraction,
figurativism and illusion to constructs her own symbols. Barbara Guzik-Olszyòska
and Ewa Peùka "map out&" landscapes of unexciting countries.
Jan Dobkowski and Krzysztof Pająk have also created their own
mythologies: the two artists have a different experience, but apply
similar universal symbols and paint in vibrant colours, which they apply
on canvas in thin layers. The canvases by Mariusz Dąbrowski are
also beyond time and space, while Michaù Zaborowski combines
plain colours with subtle half-tones to capture picturesque moments
of life. His art is humorous, sexual and provoking simultaneously, something
for a desert.