Temporary exhibitions

Urban Revolt. Avant-Garde Art from the Collection of the National Museum in Warsaw

27 October 2017 – 21 January 2018

The exhibition presents a selection of the most valuable works on paper from the collection of the National Museum in Warsaw.—drawings, prints, photograms and photomontage—made by Polish artists during the avant-garde interwar period. Supplementing the showcase will be a collection of periodicals and books designed by some of the masters of modern typography. This is a very special event as presentations of this kind are extremely rare due to the numerous conservation constraints imposed by the media’s sensitivity to light.

In the wake of Poland’s regained independence in 1918, in an atmosphere of pervasive agitation, feverish enthusiasm and uncertainty about the future, avant-garde artists strove to create new art for a new society. With artistic life in the young state being concentrated in the main cities of Warsaw, Krakow, Lviv, Poznań and Łodź, the exhibition outlines the arising avant-garde communities as it recalls the artistic achievements of outstanding figures like Leon Chwistek, Tytus Czyżewski, Andrzej Pronaszko, Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz (Witkacy), Henryk Stażewski, Władysław Strzemiński and Marek Włodarski. It traces out a map of the relations between the artists and reviews the rise and development of avant-garde ideas, from Expressionism to Formism, through Constructivism and Surrealism.  

Though we tend to associate Formism with Krakow, Constructivism with Warsaw and Surrealism with Lviv, a closer examination of the artists’ biographies and of the irregular courses of their artistic pursuits only complicates the picture. Expressionist influences took root among the Poznań-based artists around the magazine “Zdrój” but also in Krakow, in a unique local iteration of Formism combining elements of Expressionism, Cubism and Futurism. Appearing as Formist may be the early work of Wacław Wąsowicz (Warsaw) and Ludwik Tyrowicz (Lviv), and as Constructivist – the designs of Aleksander Krzywobłocki, who was affiliated with the Lviv “Artes” group. Poland’s avant-garde currents overlapped, challenged each other and formed a tangled weave. Guiding visitors through this labyrinth of influences and interdependencies will be the works themselves, which, after all, are the best testimony to the intricate history of avant-garde art.



The exhibition is part of a series of events commemorating the Centenary of Polish Avant-Garde under the Honorary Patronage of the President of the Republic of Poland and under the auspices of UNESCO



More info: www.rokawangardy.pl