In 1790 the last King of Poland, Stanislaw Augustus Poniatowski, commissioned two art dealers, who later became the Founders of Dulwich Picture Gallery
, to buy a collection of paintings as Polands national collection. The King was forced to abdicate before he had paid for the pictures and five years later, much altered and enlarged, the collection finally came to Dulwich instead of Poland.
King Stanislaw Augustuss idea to start a Polish national collection is now the inspiration for a major work by Antoni Malinowski, the distinguished London-based Polish artist, linking Dulwich Picture Gallery and Warsaw's Royal Castle. Malinowskis work is a meditation on light, colour, painting and the enduring significance of ephemeral gestures. Born in 1955 in Poland, he moved to London in 1980. Since living in Britain his work has been shown at Camden Arts Centre, Kettles Yard, Gimpel Fils as well as other European galleries. His major public work is the famous Vermilion Wall at the Royal Court Theatre. His work is in many collections including The Arts Council, The British Council and Tate.
Five most illustrious state portraits of King Stanislaw Augustus are being lent by the Royal Castle and the National Museum in Warsaw. These are works by Marcello Bacciarelli, the Polish Kings court painter and Johan Baptist von Lampi the Elder, an exquisite portrait painter. The full-length Portrait of Stanislaw Augustus in Coronation Dress is the focal point of the Marble Room of the Royal Castle in Warsaw. The King himself considered that of all his portraits this one offered the most accurate likeness.
The exhibition will be in two parts, in Warsaw and London. At Dulwich one part of the installation will be outside and the other inside the building. Outside, visitors will be greeted by a large external painting, filling the blind niche on the left side of the Gallery's facade. A strong red shape - a fragment of an arch - is to underpin its composition. This alludes to the triumphal arches built to greet crowned heads visiting foreign lands. The painting will optically open the niche.
Inside the gallery, directly on the other side of that wall (as if through the niche) there will be an installation. Malinowski will create a linear wall drawing and apply colour directly onto the walls. The work will interact with truly spectacular state portraits of King Stanislaw Augustus which will be hung in the same space - linking past with present.
For the opening of the exhibition at Dulwich a dance performance relating to the work will be performed. Meanwhile, in Warsaw, Malinowski will be making a linear drawing installation a continuation of the lines that begin at Dulwich.