19.01 – 05.03.2017 Abraham Ostrzega
artists: Hubert Czerepok, Małgorzata Niedzielko, Katarzyna Rotkiewicz-Szumska, Krzysztof Wojciechowski and Abraham Ostrzega
kuratorzy | curators: Hanna Wróblewska (Zachęta), Michał Laszczkowski (Fundacja Dziedzictwa Kulturowego)
collaboration: Julia Leopold, Aleksandra Zientecka
visual identification of the exhibition and map design: Jakub de Barbaro
The inspiration for the exhibition was the work of Abraham Ostrzega — Jewish sculptor and culture animator active in pre-war Warsaw. He was a student of Henryk Kuna, and was recognised for his sepulchral sculptures — tombstones, several dozen of which can be found at the Jewish Cemetery in the Wola District in Warsaw. He was a member of i.a. the pre-war Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts (had his debut during an exhibition in Zachęta in 1910) and initiator of the Jewish Society for Fostering Fine Arts; together with Władysław Waintraub he ran the Atelier of Decorative Art. During the war, in the ghetto, he co-founded an art cooperative. He died at concentration camp in Treblinka together with many other Jewish artists. Famous for his tombstones, he himself became one of the thousands of victims without a grave.
Last autumn, during the preparative phase of the project, The Cultural Heritage Foundation conducted the restoration of 24 tombstones by Ostrzega at the Jewish Cemetery. We don’t present neither the documentation of the artist’s works nor of the restoration works, only a map which redirects you to the cemetery at Okopowa street where Ostrzega’s sculptures can be seen in their natural surroundings.
Although there are no sculptures by Abraham Ostrzega in the exhibition rooms, he is present through the works of contemporary artists representing different generations and using various media, referring to Abraham Ostrzega’s history and work in a personal way, creatively interpreting the threads which they found interesting.
It’s worth mentioning that a word ‘ostrzega’ means ‘warns’ in Polish, thus the title of the exhibition has a double meaning.
Hubert Czerepok (b. 1973) — author of objects, films and photos. He prepared a light installation for the facade of Zachęta: the name of the Jewish sculptor (and at the same time the title of the project) is composed into the tympanum of Zachęta, replacing the regular inscription ‘Artibus’.
Małgorzata Niedzielko (b. 1959) — sculptor. She created a model of the lost model of one of Ostrzega’s projects, which was supposed to be erected in the town of Białystok — the monument of the creator of esperanto, Ludwik Zamenhof. The project was never implemented, although the foundation act was supposedly placed in its location.
Krzysztof Wojciechowski (b. 1947) — photographer, working with black and white photography, so called pure photography, author of objects and photo installations. He presents a series of photos which he initiated in the 1990s at the cemetery of Soviet soldiers in Warsaw, documenting the process of regaining identity of the deceased soldiers. The identical, raw blocks with only numbers on them, become marked by the families of the deceased with plaques bearing their names, places and dates of birth, as well as photos of their faces.
Katarzyna Rotkiewicz-Szumska (b. 1958) — painter and co-creator the of the Cinema Theatre in Michałowice. For the exhibition in Zachęta, she prepared a mobile painterly installation — a symbolic monument of Abraham Ostrzega. The paintings are inspired by fragments of his tombstones, especially the motifs of wings and feathers. Apart from that there is a series of portraits of Ostrzega’s clients (both anonymous and well recognised) who commissioned their family tombs in his studio.
On 2 March a one-day conference will take place in Zachęta, initiated by professor Jerzy Malinowski: Around the Life and Work of Abraham Ostrzega, organised in collaboration with the Polish Institute of World Art Studies.
Abraham Ostrzega's sculptures at The Jewish Cemetery
We don’t present neither the documentation of the artist’s works nor of the restoration works, only a map which redirects you to the cemetery at Okopowa street where Ostrzega’s sculptures can be seen in their natural surroundings.
The Jewish Cemetery at Okopowa
ul. Okopowa 49/51
The cemetery will be available to the visitors on following days:
Monday – Thursday: 10 a.m.–5 p.m. (during winter season it will be open till dusk)
Friday: 9 a.m.–1 p.m.
Saturday and other Jewish Holidays: closed
Sunday: 11 a.m.– 4 p.m.
A ticket to Zachęta will entitle you to enter The Jewish Cemetery(ul. Okopowa 49/51), while a donation certificate from The Jewish Cemetary will allow you to enter Abraham Ostrzega's exhibition at the gallery.
21.01.2017 (Sat) 12:30Tower of Babel. What Does an Artist Do? - family workshops for children with autism (in Polish)Zachęta – National Gallery of ArtZachęta
22.01.2017 (Sun) 12:00Curatorial walk-through accompanying the exhibition "Abraham Ostrzega"Jewish CemetaryJewish Cemetary
08.02.2017 (Wed) 17:00Accessible Art. Meetings with contemporary art for the blindZachęta – National Gallery of ArtZachęta
15.02.2017 (Wed) 18:00Accessible Art. Meetings with contemporary art for the deafZachęta – National Gallery of ArtZachęta
05.03.2017 (Sun) 12:15Curatorial walk-through accompanying the exhibition "Abraham Ostrzega"Zachęta – National Gallery of ArtZachęta
19.01 – 05.03.2017
Zachęta – National Gallery of Art
pl. Małachowskiego 3, 00-916 Warsaw
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Tuesday – Sunday 12–8 p.m.
Thursday – free entry
ticket office is open until 7.30 p.m.
The 75th anniversary of Aktion Reinhardt and the Extermination of Polish Jews perpetrated by the German Third Reich during the Second World War