Art in Our Age Rafał Dominik and Szymon Żydek and the collections of Zachęta — National Gallery of Art and the ING Polish Art Foundation
12.12.2015 – 31.01.2016 Art in Our Age Rafał Dominik and Szymon Żydek and the collections of Zachęta — National Gallery of Art and the ING Polish Art Foundation
artists: Magdalena Abakanowicz, Krzysztof M. Bednarski, Olaf Brzeski, Jan Dobkowski, Tadeusz Dominik, Edward Dwurnik, Piotr Janas, Jerzy Kałucki, Marcin Maciejowski, Przemysław Matecki, Jerzy Nowosielski, Lech Okołów, Włodzimierz Pawlak, Józef Petruk, Henryk Stażewski, Jerzy Tchórzewski, Karol Wierusz-Kowalski, Ryszard Winiarski, Krzysztof Żwirblis Basia Bańda, Sławomir Pawszak, Katarzyna Przezwańska, Jakub Woynarowski
authors: Rafał Dominik, Szymon Żydek
collaboration on the part of Zachęta: Maria Świerżewska-Franczak
Art in Our Age is an exhibition of works from the collections of the ING Polish Art Foundation and Zachęta — National Gallery of Art. The exhibition confronts the activities of contemporary artists with the fundamental questions that those visiting their exhibitions ask themselves: has today’s art totally divorced itself from reality? Who are contemporary artists and why do we call the effects of their activities works of art? What does the abstract explorations of the artistic avant-garde have in common with the lives of ordinary people?
The exhibition is conceived to mark the jubilee of 15 years of the existence of the ING Polish Art Foundation — one of the first corporate foundations in Poland that consciously supported and promoted the activities of Polish artists. The collection created by it includes works made after 1990 and from the very start has been formed in close collaboration with Zachęta — National Gallery of Art. The ties that bind the two institutions have many levels: Zachęta supports the Foundation with its knowledge and experience, the Foundation supports the development of the Zachęta collection, while in the case of the dissolution of the Foundation the collection of Polish art created by it, is to become part of the collections of the National Gallery of Art. And it is precisely this close institutional relation that was the starting point for this exhibition.
At the invitation of the Foundation, the curatorial-artistic duo Rafał Dominik and Szymon Żydek prepared an exhibition which serves to make more accessible and translate the complexities involved in the reception and use of contemporary art in everyday life. The works gathered in the collections of both institutions have been treated not as autonomous works, but as elements of a greater whole — immersed in a social, aesthetic and historical reality. It is for this reason that at the exhibition the works selected from the collections are presented in constellation with works of pop music, stories from local newspapers, internet memes, models or graphs of financial markets. All this is to make clearer and to facilitate for visitors to the exhibition an understanding of the context and ideas of artists, and the road they travelled prior to the emergence of a work of art. Amongst the themes tackled by artists at the exhibition are those such as, the development of artistic media, the mechanisms in the frames of which new technological developments take on functions of artistic techniques, and the relations between contemporary art and other forms of human activities. As a result, the exhibition has taken on the form of an installation within the Zachęta rooms which, through the help of various media and technologies, presents contemporary art as an easily accessible source of inspiration, blurring the boundaries dividing the work of artists from capacities useful in everyday life.
The ING Polish Art Foundation Collection was founded by firms incorporated in the ING Bank of Silesia Capital Group in 2000. Its aim is to support the development of Polish contemporary art, and in particular the work of young artists, through the creation of a collection of works of art and making these available. The collection emerged as a development of the idea of patronage already practised by the ING Group, which has collections of contemporary art in Holland, Belgium, Great Britain and Mexico. The collection of the ING Polish Art Foundation is the first Polish corporate collection. It comprises 159 works, mostly paintings, but also photographs, drawings, video works and sculptures. Alongside classics (Włodzimierz Pawlak, Stefan Gierowski, Jarosław Fliciński, Zbigniew Libera), in the collection are to be found works by artists of the young generation (Wilhelm Sasnal, Rafał Bujnowski, Michał Budny, Jakub Julian Ziółkowski and many more). The collection is presented on the website [www]ingart.pl, and the works comprising it are often lent to exhibitions in Poland and abroad.
The Collection of Zachęta — National Gallery of Art is comprised of over 3,600 objects (paintings, sculptures, installations, video and works on paper) and a very rich history, due to which the gallery's collections are so diverse and form a documentation of Polish art from the end of the 1940s to today. Here are to be found works of the classics of Polish 20th century art (Tadeusz Kantor, Edward Krasiński, Erna Rosenstein, Henryk Stażewski and Alina Szapocznikow), and also world famous contemporary Polish artists (Mirosław Bałka, Katarzyna Kozyra, Zbigniew Libera, Wilhelm Sasnal and Krzysztof Wodiczko) or esteemed artists of the young generation (Wojciech Bąkowski, Aneta Grzeszykowska and Julita Wójcik) as well as the works of less known authors. Although Zachęta is a gallery of temporary exhibitions, reproductions of works from the collections are continuously available on the gallery's internet sit under Creative Commons licenses.
Rafał Dominik — born in 1985. Artist, graduate of the Warsaw Academy of the Fine Arts (diploma 2009 from Leon Tarasewicz's studio). A painter, creator of digital paintings, murals, sculptures, collages, illustrations, films and furniture. A co-creator of the disco-polo band Galactics. A member of the Czosnek Studio design studio. His works have been shown at individual and group exhibitions, for example at the WM Gallery Amsterdam, the Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej in Warsaw and the Arsenał Gallery in Poznań.
Szymon Żydek — born in 1987. Curator, producer and researcher of architecture. A graduate of Warsaw University (Cultural Studies) and the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm (Theory and History of Architecture). He works with the architectural studio WWAA, the Raster Gallery and the Foundation Bęc Zmiana. He is a member of the Czosnek Studio design studio and the Warsaw Slow University. In his practice, he deals with questions on the borders between architecture, art and daily life.
Artists' works in the Zachęta collection
Art in Our Age
Rafał Dominik and Szymon Żydek and the collections of Zachęta — National Gallery of Art and the ING Polish Art Foundation
12.12.2015 – 31.01.2016
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.