Artists: Magdalena Abakanowicz, Mirosław Bałka, On Kawara, Andrzej Karmasz, Eustachy Kossakowski, Jarosław Kozłowski, Katarzyna Kozyra, Edward Krasiński, Zofia Kulik, Natalia LL, Jacek Malczewski, Michał Martychowiec, Agata Michowska, Roman Opałka, Ewa Partum, Małgorzata Potocka, Grupa Sędzia Główny, Krzysztof Wodiczko, Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz (Witkacy).
The exhibition, which appeals to both the head and the heart, offers insights into an outstanding Polish private collection. The conceptually vivid selection of works on display here is being shown in this form for the first time in Germany. The works come from the Signum Foundation that was established by Hanna and Jarosław Przyborowski in 2002 and is based in Poznań but also located in Łódź and Venice. The range of media extends from painting past sculpture to Performance and Process Art; from photography past neon-textual works and Concept Art all the way to extremely provocative and disturbing self-stagings in which traditional role patterns are critically examined. The list of participating artists reads like a Who’s Who? of Polish art.
There is an impressively large share of outstanding female positions in this selection made by the director and curator of the foundation, Grzegorz Musiał. Especially worthy of mention are Katarzyna Kozyra’s “White Olympia,” Agata Michowska’s “Suicide in the Museum” und Ewa Partum’s “Hommage à Solidarność.” The works of these female artists are not only extremely political but, in a surprising manner, also repeatedly subtle and humorous. One special feature also integrated into the exhibition is the famous work “One Million Years” by the Japanese artist On Kawara, which is capable of establishing and promoting dialogue and correspondences between the 19 positions being presented here.
The impressive minimalist interventions of the neo-avantgardist Edward Krasiński, whose international significance received recognition last year in such places as Tate Liverpool and Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, make reference to Roman Opałka’s famous number pictures as well as to Jarosław Kozłowski’s sculpture-installation with 550 alarm clocks. Natalia LL, who became known in Poland during the 1970s as a pioneer of feminist art, is represented with her photographic series “Consumptive Art” and “Postconsumptive Art,” which even today remain provocative. And in analogy to her work, there is a no less disturbing tribute by the performance duo Grupa Sędzia Główny (Aleksandra Kubiak/Karolina Wiktor) from the year 2006.
The focus is on Polish art as a part of world art, on its influence and interconnections to international avant-gardist tendencies – but also repeatedly on quite topical references to politics and society that affect us all. And when Andrzej Karmasz, who lives in Gdańsk, appears in one self-portrait as a Nigerian woman of the Fulani people, and in another – just as convincingly – as a Japanese geisha, then several borders are being crossed in various directions all at once. What else could art be called upon to do.