Independent art in the 1980s at the Center for Contemporary Art at Ogazdowski Castle in Warsaw

Jerzy Kalina installation – milk bottles are placed in front of the apartment door in the morning; “Pieta” by Stanislav Rodzinsky; “Golgota” by Jerzy Tchórzewski creates the atmosphere of an exhibition reminiscent of the introduction of martial law in Poland, which will be shown from 8 April.

“The idea of ​​the exhibition is to capture artistic phenomena and creators who created outside censorship in the eighties, who abandoned official participation in culture, boycotted official institutions of cultural life and entered into secondary circulation. And there were many of these artists – about 1,700 people. An independent cultural movement. The environment took Things are in their own hands” – said Tadeusz Borota, curator at the conference at the Center for Contemporary Art on Friday.

At the same time, the artists cooperated and conducted a kind of dialogue with society, organized into independent structures of the Solidarity Union and labor fraternities, and carried out strict conspiratorial activities: designing and printing posters, flyers, stamps.

The first attempts to publish artwork created in the early 1980s were of an intimate nature. They were performed in apartments, in attics, or directly in artists’ studios. One of the first forms of creating an independent cultural circle was the “Bag Fairs”, named after the intention of its creator, painter Marek Spita. The artists made miniature replicas of their works, which were passed from house to house in a suitcase and displayed in home vernissages.

The curator noted that “some artists, in defense of their artistic independence, remained throughout the 1980s with ephemeral forms of work and presentation. However, most artists, feeling in solidarity with the community, sought out exhibition spaces open to all.” The independent exhibition movement soon found a place in the church that opened up to artists.

“Independent culture in the eighties of the last century was a multifaceted and multifaceted phenomenon, encompassing all areas of art, and on a scale unprecedented in history” – emphasizes the curator. “Apart from censorship, countless works have been created, whose creators have demonstrated their independence with the realization that only independent culture is able to express the basic human experience, which is the desire for freedom” – described Boruta.

Exhibition arrangement “Polish Uncensored Independent Art of the 80s” It refers to the famous independent exhibitions of the 80s and important artworks of the time. Passing through successive rooms, the viewer sees the paintings, sculptures, and installations created between the application of martial law and the formation of the first non-communist government.

In one of the first spaces titled All Our Daily Affairs, Jerzy Kalina’s installation “Good Morning” from 1989 is called a satirical commentary on life in the Polish People’s Republic. “Here, the bottle of milk placed in front of the door was what in America Coca-Cola. The milk on the doorstep reminded me of a long prison corridor, with the heat set in front of the closed cells. You can’t see the person Kalina said about his work.

The following rooms are reminders of important galleries, works, and artists: the “Bag Gallery”; “Orange variant”; “Wzlot” Sign of the Cross “,” Rabid Dog on a Green Background “,” Against Evil, Against Violence. “In the space concluding the exhibition titled” Wieczernik “you can see Jerzy Kalina’s installation “The Last Supper” from 1983. At the same time In the room, a film from the play “Wieczernik” by Ernst Brill, directed by Andre Wagda, which premiered in 1985, is shown in the ruins of the Church of Divine Mercy on Sitnia Street. Closing of the exhibition – “Poles form the national flag” by Fudzimmer Pavlac.

Tadeusz Borota, when asked during the conference about the criteria for selecting works and artists presented at the exhibition, said that the book by Alexander Wojciechowski and Andrei Oska, “Chas Smotko, Chas Hobby” was useful in this election.

The curator added that his attempts to obtain exhibition works were extensive, but not all the artists invited to participate in the exhibition decided to participate in it. “The mission of the Center for Contemporary Art and the core of my program is to strive to show valuable phenomena in contemporary art, as well as those that, if not forgotten, have been pushed to the margins. In my opinion, the art of the early 1980s in Poland is one of them. Professor Tadeusz Borota prepared a proposal to read the phenomenon of art The Independent in the 1980s today. – said Piotr Bernatowicz, Director of the Ujazdowski Castle Center for Contemporary Art during the conference.

The exhibition “Uncensored Polish Independent Art of the 80s” will open from the Ujazdowski Castle Center for Contemporary Art in Warsaw from 8 April to 5 June 2022.

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