Art Everywhere The Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw 1904–1944
05.06 – 26.08.2012 Art Everywhere The Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw 1904–1944
Zachęta National Gallery of Art
curator: Maryla Sitkowska
curatorial co-operation: Agnieszka Szewczyk, Jola Gola
curatorial co-operation on the part of Zachęta: Joanna Kordjak
The exhibition Art Everywhere. The Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw 1904–1944 constitutes the first such extensive presentation of the interweaving of art and everyday life during the period of the Second Polish Republic. It is a large scale project of historical research conceived in a very contemporary way. The exhibition asks a question: is it possible to restore healthy relations between the world or art and that of industrial production, and if so how? Then, as now, voices criticizing the level and quality of the surroundings in which we live were widespread. The remedy to this situation was seen in the widespread introduction of good, original, Polish design projects. Examples of regions of a high level of material culture, such as Benelux or Scandinavia, demonstrate not only the possibility of the co-existence of “art and life”, but also of the measurable effects of such an integration, the first of which is the raising of the level of consumer demands in relation to market offers.
Somewhere where art was not divided between “pure” and “applied” was the Warsaw School of Fine Arts, founded in 1904 as a private school and, from 1923, functioning under the auspices of the reborn state: an institution that was the direct antecedent of the current Academy of Fine Arts. In its founding documents, as well as in its first courses, the institution devoted special attention to the applied arts, the teaching of which was to accompany the introduction of forms developed into production. This led to the academy being something of an institute of experimentation or a “showroom” – something unknown in the artistic higher education of the time.
The first appearance of the School, and one straightaway on a world stage, was participation in the International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts in Paris in 1925. The direct result of the success enjoyed and awards received there was the founding of the Ład Artists Co-operative which, for many decades thereafter, became a synonym of good taste and quality in Polish design. Furthermore, in two of the academy’s graphic studios were founded the Ryt Association of Graphic Artists and the Commercial Graphic Artists Circle (KAGR), antecedents of the “Polish Schools” of graphic design, illustrations and posters. Similarly in the painting and sculpture studios, questions of purely artistic technique interweaved with projects developed for competition and concrete private or state commissions.
A special place in the exhibition is occupied by projects and works to this day present in the space of the city, such as the Airmen Monument, or of contemporary significance, such as the construction of the Temple of Divine Providence. The image is complemented by advertising understood in a wide sense (posters, fliers, signs and window decorations) as well as by book illustrations. A very striking point in the exhibition is the reconstruction of the atrium of the Polish Pavilion of the Paris exhibition of 1925, and also the presentation of selected fragments of the interiors of Polish Trans-Atlantic ships.
The slogan Art Everywhere is thus one that is full of content. Today, as several decades ago, it is a call for a culture of everyday life – in our closest surroundings, in objects of everyday use, in public and private spaces. This is a concern for artists, but no less so one for ordinary people, the audience and users of their art.
Honorary Patron of the Exhibition is President of the Republic of Poland, Bronisław Komorowski.
The Academy of the Fine Arts in Warsaw, Zachęta National Gallery of Art
Exhibition organised in co-operation with the National Museum in Warsaw.
With the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.
The project was realised through the financial support of the Warsaw City Council.
The Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw 1904–1944
05.06 – 26.08.2012
Zachęta National Gallery of Art
pl. Małachowskiego 3, 00-916 Warsaw
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exhibition partners: Teatr Wielki – Opera Narodowa, Państwowej Muzeum Etnograficzne w Warszawie, Mazowsze serce Polski, EIZO, Warimpex
Zachęta sponsors: Netia, Lidex
media patronage: Gazeta Wyborcza, Polskie Radio, Wprost, TVP 2, TVP Kultura, TVP Warszawa, Art & Business, Arteon, Aspiracje, K MAG, PANI, The Warsaw Voice, Stolica, artinfo.pl, o.pl, culture.pl