Sculpture in Search of a Place
28.12.2020 – 21.02.2021 Sculpture in Search of a Place
curator: Anna Maria Leśniewska
collaboration from the part of Zachęta: Julia Leopold
exhibition design: Robert Rumas
exhibition partner: Film School in Łódź
artists: Magdalena Abakanowicz, Paweł Althamer, Hakan Bakir, Antoni Baran, Krzysztof M. Bednarski, Maciej Bernaś, Cezary Bodzianowski, Emilia Bohdziewicz, Piotr Bosacki, Julian Boss-Gosławski, Michał Budny, Tatiana Czekalska i Leszek Golec, Oskar Dawicki, Xawery Dunikowski, Aneta Grzeszykowska, Izabella Gustowska, Władysław Hasior, Stanisław Hołda, Edward Ihnatowicz, Sławomir Iwański, Zuzanna Janin, Jerzy Jarnuszkiewicz, Krystian Jarnuszkiewicz, Piotr Jędrzejewski, Julian Jończyk, Koji Kamoji, Tadeusz Kantor, Leszek Knaflewski, Marianna Komorniczak, Anna Konik, Paweł Kowalewski, Katarzyna Kozyra, Edward Krasiński, Anna Królikiewicz, Marlena Kudlicka, Kamil Kuskowski, Robert Kuśmirowski, Stefan Kwapisz, Norman Leto, Zbigniew Libera, Józef Lurka, Edward Łazikowski, Jadwiga Maziarska, Antoni Mikołajczyk, Henryk Morel, Szczepan Mucha, Teresa Murak, Ludwika Ogorzelec, Wojciech Oleksy, Stanisław Ostoja-Kotkowski, Włodzimierz Pawlak, Andrzej Pawłowski, Marek Piasecki, Maria Pinińska-Bereś, Piotr Potworowski, Joanna Przybyła, Monika Puchała, Joanna Rajkowska, Józef Robakowski, Andrzej Różycki, Krystiana Robb-Narbutt, Jadwiga Sawicka, Stanisław Seweryński, Janek Simon, Monika Sosnowska, Alina Szapocznikow, Maciej Szańkowski, Andrzej Szewczyk, Marian Szulc, Wawrzyniec Szwej, Iza Tarasewicz, Teresa Tyszkiewicz, Gustav Vigeland, Henryk Wiciński, Krzysztof Wodiczko, Xawery Wolski, Stanisław Zagajewski, Anna Zagrodzka, Krzysztof Zarębski, Sofia Żezmer, Artur Żmijewski
film makers: Paweł Edelman, Mikołaj Haremski, Ola Jankowska, Łukasz Karwowski, Stefan Matyjaszkiewicz, Mitko Panov, Cyprian Piwowarski, Zbigniew Rybczyński, Yann Seweryn, Jacqueline Sobiszewski, Jarosław Szoda, Andrzej Wajda, Ryszard Waśko, Janusz Zagrodzki, Ita Zbroniec-Zajt
The exhibition Sculpture in Search of a Place is yet another one in a series of cross-sectional thematic exhibitions at the Zachęta, devoted each year to a different artistic medium (previously painting and scenography). It tackles the subject of the identity of Polish sculpture over the last sixty years — not so much as a chronology of artistic activity, but as a presentation of the phenomena and creative attitudes that have been essential for its development. It is also the result of the deep fascination and many years of research of its curator, Anna Maria Leśniewska, who has managed to collect the works of nearly a hundred visual artists, including a dozen or so film makers, and present them in the form of an original visual essay.
It is not without a reason that the exhibition features the famous Pregnant Women by Xawery Dunikowski, a classic and precursor of modernist sculpture in Poland, who had a huge impact on the next generations of artists. His works provide a kind of starting point for the exhibition, if one tries to look at the subject of sculpture and the changes it has undergone over the years from historical perspective. Next to them, visitors can see, among others, polyester forms by Alina Szapocznikow and figurative private nudes by Katarzyna Kozyra. Also present here are works of folk art and African masks which, through their primal power of expression, have been shown by the curator as constitutive for the phenomenon of sculpture.
Another key to the exhibition is offered by the theory of the four elements, inextricably linked with the concept of spirituality. These forces of the world — primal, constitutive and form-creating — have been the inspiration for the works of Robert Kuśmirowski and Norman Leto, created especially for the exhibition. Next door, Katarzyna Kobro’s artistic output is invoked through the works of other artists, illustrating the significant role of the artist’s concept of departing from understanding sculpture as a solid towards seeing it as a form coexisting with space. Monumental Composition, the biggest piece in Magdalena Abakanowicz’s oeuvre, is just such a form.
Apart from these concepts, the authors of the works on display have also been interested in the human being. The exhibition presents works related to the human body, its death and decay, but also to the senses. Another topic discussed by the curator is the artist’s home and studio seen as a specific, intimate place of work and life, full of creative energy. The exhibition is also an opportunity for the visitors to look at the phenomenon of sculpture going beyond lexical definitions, revealing its links with other areas of art: music, theatre, photography, performance and an autonomous film work. Thus, the exhibition features Oskar Dawicki, who has been usually associated with the art of performance, and staged his latest work in the Zachęta’s exhibition halls, depopulated due to the lockdown. The last part of the exhibition is dominated by Edward Ihnatowicz’s interactive kinetic sculpture Senster, which leads to another topic — machine-sculpture.
The exhibition covers a very vast area — both in terms of its historical and thematic approach, as well as the way it presents the very phenomenon of sculpture: from a compact solid to space, from classic to modern forms of expression. This is also reflected in spectacular site-specific installations by Ludwika Ogorzelec in the space of one of the rooms and by Iza Tarasewicz in the Zachęta’s main staircase, manifestations of the broadly understood art of space, which also includes sound.
The exhibition is accompanied by a screening of film studies by filmmakers from the Film School in Łódź and an online publication containing, among others, messages by the artists participating in the exhibition and a long curatorial text.
Works on exhibition
Artists' works in the Zachęta collection
Sculpture in Search of a Place
28.12.2020 – 21.02.2021
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.