December 2020 marks the 160th anniversary of the establishment of the Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts, which gave rise to Zachęta National Gallery of Art
, Polands largest gallery presenting contemporary art.
It all started 160 years ago with a meeting of a group of friends. At the time when Poland was not present on maps, a group of artists and patrons decided to establish a society that would take care of Polish art and artists. Today, the society still exists and implements the same goals in a new reality. In response to the crisis that affected the artistic community during the pandemic, the Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts together with Zachęta has initiated the 160/160 project. It aims to support the artists associated with the Zachęta collection. Since June 2020, several dozen artists have already received funding for their creative work.
The anniversary of the establishment of the Society falls in a year that has proved to be an exceptional challenge for all. But, art has never been so accessible before. Without leaving home, audiences from all over the world can now go online to watch exhibitions at the Zachęta Gallery, take part in workshops, browse through publications and works from the collection, and also explore the gallerys inaccessible nooks and crannies.
Although Zachęta National Gallery of Art will remain closed due to the pandemic until mid-January most of the current exhibitions can be viewed online. While waiting for the gallery's re-opening, the gallery is inviting you to see Living Storages: Artibus at zachetaonline.pl and Sculpture in Search of a Place on the gallery's social media site.
Living Storages: Artibus
Zachęta National Gallery of Art owes both its seat and the mission of popularizing visual arts to the Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts. This dedication to art resounds in the inscription Artibus (To the Arts) on the buildings fašade. From the very beginning, this mission has included collecting contemporary artthen and today.
The Zachętas collection proposes an overview of contemporary art created and presented in Poland. It has always been stored exclusively in the Zachętas main building. The expansion of the building in the early 1990s made it possible to create a professional space for storing works. Now the gallery has decided to have it optimized, renovated, and modernized. The project that will be carried out over the next year will also be an opportunity to present selected works. The show Living Storages: Artibus will inaugurate the series prepared as part of this project. The selection of works at the current show reflects all stages of the institutions formation and the collections creation: from the founding of the Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts, through the existence of the Central Bureau of Art Exhibitions, to the present day, when the Zachęta has become a national art gallery. Among others the exhibition presents part of Edward Krasińskis installation from 1997 that presents an incarnation of the first art work purchased by the Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts Jˇzef Simmlers Death of Barbara Radziwiłłˇwna (1860).
Artists: Marlene Dumas, Bronisław Kopczyński, Edward Krasiński, Andrzej Pawłowski, Andrzej Sapija, Jadwiga Sawicka, Krzysztof Wodiczko / curator: Michał Jachuła / collaboration: Małgorzata Bogdańska
Sculpture in Search of a Place
The exhibition presents works of nearly a hundred polish visual artists including Tadeusz Kantor, Alina Szapocznikow, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Katarzyna Kozyra, Paweł Althamer, Władysław Hasior and Xawery Dunikowski.
Sculpture in search of a place tackles the subject of the identity of Polish sculpture over the last 60 yearsnot 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. The exhibition covers a very vast areaboth 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. It 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.
Curator: Anna Maria Leśniewska / cooperation: Julia Leopold / exhibition design: Robert Rumas / exhibition Partner: Film School in Łˇdź