My Recollection — Katowice Steelworks

Benon Liberski

  • type of object: painting
  • date: 1973
  • material/technique: oil on canvas
  • dimensions: 135 x 210 cm
  • inventory No.: M-190
  • image licensed under: CC BY-SA

In 1964 Benon Liberski took part in the nationwide competition Man and Work in People’s Poland, in which he received second prize for his painting Dispatcher. The subject intrigued him, so he began to go on industrial plein-airs (a cement plant in Działoszyno, a machine factory in Skierniewice, Pulawy’s Azoty plant and the Marcel Mine in Radlin), painting colossi, cement plants, tanks — an industrial landscape devoid of human presence.

One of these works is painted, most likely on the basis of post-plein-air sketches, a dynamic painting called My Recollection — Katowice Steelworks (1973). The canvas manifests well the engaged — on the side of socialism — attitude of the graduate of the Propaganda Graphics Department in Katowice and his desire to reach the widest possible audience. Here we have a real fascination with the world of machinery — in the foreground are two giant excavator wheels, behind them trucks and other equipment are visible from afar. The ‘caution’ lettering, the digital and lettered machine markings, and the aggressive red contrasted with the steel grey of some pieces of industrial equipment add to the hectic atmosphere of the image. The author of the picture doesn't care about aesthetics, he bursts the frames, recalls a still from a thriller film or, by its poster-like nature, a fragment of a comic book.

This is one of Liberski’s paradoxical works that depict icons of socialism while betraying a fascination with American culture, an example of the Polish version of pop art. The strong contour and colour, the simple arrangement of forms could have been taken from Fernand Léger’s paintings, as could the interest in contemporary themes, such as industrial development.

Karolina Zychowicz

translated by Paulina Bożek

Image published as part of the Operational Programme Digital Poland: Open Zachęta financed by European Funds

Other works by artist in the Zachęta collection

  • Zdjęcie pracy Guerillas
    GuerillasBenon Liberski1962
  • Zdjęcie pracy Łódź
    ŁódźBenon Liberski1962
  • Zdjęcie pracy Łódź
    ŁódźBenon Liberski1962
  • Zdjęcie pracy
    Benon Liberski1959
  • Zdjęcie pracy Still Life
    Still LifeBenon Liberski1962
  • Zdjęcie pracy Landscape /Łódź/
    Landscape /Łódź/Benon Liberski1963
  • Zdjęcie pracy My encounters - North harbour
    My encounters - North harbourBenon Liberski1974
  • Zdjęcie pracy Nude
    NudeBenon Liberski1974
  • Zdjęcie pracy Coking Plant
    Coking PlantBenon Liberski1974
  • Zdjęcie pracy Berlin 1945
    Berlin 1945Benon Liberski1975
  • Zdjęcie pracy Portrait of Einstein
    Portrait of EinsteinBenon Liberski1980
  • Zdjęcie pracy Still life
    Still lifeBenon Liberski1982

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