Jan Tarasin, ‘Jan Tarasin. Sequences of Meaning’ exhibition at MOLSKI gallery & collection in Poznan, courtesy the gallery

Abstract Figuration. „Jan Tarasin. Sequences of Meaning" Exhibition

Jan Tarasin is one of the most outstanding artists who has shaped the modern art scene in Poland. Over the years, he’s been consistently developing his authorial vision of the world, built on the basis of a synthesis of forms and organised according to the rules of the universe he’s created. ‘Jan Tarasin. Sequences of Meaning’ exhibition at MOLSKI gallery & collection in Poznan will feature 20 works showing how his style has evolved over the past decades. Attention will be paid to the subtle process of discarding individual elements in favour of subsequent ones which are enriched with previously unattributed meanings, contents, and forms.

Cooperation, education, and promotion 

MOLSKI gallery&collection is a meeting place, a platform for cooperation, education, and promotion of art from different generations. The exhibitions feature works by creators concentrating mainly on the geometric abstract art trend. The showroom’s programme is focused on sparking intergenerational dialogue between the avant-garde and contemporary exponents. One of the favourite artists of the gallery owner Michał Molski is Jan Tarasin, to whom the latest exhibition ‘Jan Tarasin. Sequences of Meaning’ will be devoted. 

This will be a micro-retrospective consisting of 20 diverse artworks. The starting point of Tarasin’s craft walk-through are his still lifes from the second half of the 1940s, forms of which become increasingly more unreal and simplified over time.

“We will be displaying artworks created over a period of 50 years. The idea is to present the sinuous nature of Tarasin’s work, which evolved over the decades. His painting is not easy to assign to a specific artistic tendency. The compositions escape such elementary notions as, for example, abstraction and figuration.”
– Krzysztofa Kornacka, Curator of the exhibition

Objects, signs, and symbols

Jan Tarasin’s painting has always demonstrated a clear interest in the world of objects and matter. Initially realistic in the 1940s, by the second half of the 1950s it was already much more abstract and conceptual. The key influence on his style was a scholarship trip to China and Vietnam, during which the artist became familiar with Asian culture and art, which affected his perception of space in his works. As a result, the motif of a symbolic line, dividing the spheres of a painting and giving individual elements meaning according to their relationship to each other, became a permanent feature in Tarasin’s artworks. The 1960s are described as one of the most defining decades for the artist’s craft. At that time symbols, which Tarasin called ‘objects’, began to emerge from ascetic, figurative compositions. In the 1970s the objects he was so fond of painting in his still lifes eventually began to take on unreal dreamlike, becoming shapes drifting in space. This is, among other things, the period of ‘Fires’ – a series of compositions constructed on the basis of very saturated, warm colours, where the symbols gathered in the lower register of the canvas seem to burn. The focal point of the painting are the elements placed higher up, with a much lower density, resembling super-scorched fragments floating in the air. Anxiety enters this peaceful world. Tarasin proves that abstraction is a derealised reality and the objects are only meant to suggest substance, an implicit weight. At the same time they contradict gravity, claiming their place in space. Although for the most part Tarasin’s works appear completely flat, the use of several colours gives the impression of experiencing several different interpenetrating spaces. Indeed, his paintings are separate universes that he has created over the years, consistently developing his vision. His world is built upon peculiar symbols which are always ordered by his inherent compositional principles.

Jan Tarasin, ‘Jan Tarasin. Sequences of Meaning’ exhibition at MOLSKI gallery & collection in Poznan, courtesy the gallery
Jan Tarasin, ‘Jan Tarasin. Sequences of Meaning’ exhibition at MOLSKI gallery & collection in Poznan, courtesy the gallery

Art disputes

On the one hand, the exhibition in Poznan is an interpretation of the evolution of Jan Tarsin’s career path and, on the other hand, it raises the issue of the need to classify artists’ work in regards to the field of art history. The curators pose the questions:

‘How to categorise art balancing between two seemingly contradictory forms of artistic expression? Art oscillating between the concept of the object and its non-figurative nature? How do you fit art into a familiar scheme at the very moment when it is what it runs away from the most?’

Apart from substantive knowledge, there are many additional attractions awaiting the visitors. In Tarasin’s homogeneous and consistent oeuvre, a few exceptional works can be singled out, such as the relief compositions from the 1970s that will be presented at the Poznan exhibition. They were previously exhibited at the exhibition titled “Jan Tarasin. Metamalarstwo” in the gallery XXI in Warsaw in 2017. Moreover, Jakub Tarasin, the artist’s son, has been invited to the opening at the Molski Gallery and will talk about his father’s work and philosophy of creation.


Jan Tarasin’s body of work is well-known and appreciated around the world. His pieces set new auction records not only in Poland, but also abroad. Despite this, so far there have been few retrospective exhibitions introducing the subject of his paintings. Curators have tended to focus on particular decades, thus overlooking key moments in his craft. Despite the fame and respect for Tarasin’s art, his last solo exhibition in Poznan took place ten years ago. Interestingly, no museum institution has so far taken up the challenge of his monographic exhibition.

The exhibition ‘Jan Tarasin. Sequences of Meaning’ is an innovative project which, for the first time in many years, illustrates the full spectrum of the evolution of Tarsin’s work, but also makes us reflect on the problem of categorising artists and their achievements. This unique Molski gallery&collection event attests to the fact that contemporary museology in Poland is still changing and progressing, and may surprise us more than this once.

Jan Tarasin, ‘Jan Tarasin. Sequences of Meaning’ exhibition at MOLSKI gallery & collection in Poznan, courtesy the gallery
Jan Tarasin, ‘Jan Tarasin. Sequences of Meaning’ exhibition at MOLSKI gallery & collection in Poznan, courtesy the gallery

‘Jan Tarasin. Sequences of Meaning’ 

Molski Gallery & Collection


Preview: 23.03.2023 / 18:00pm

Aleja Wielkopolska 65A / 60-603 Poznań


About The Author


Warsaw-based art writer and art advisor with an interest in Post-War & Contemporary Art and the art market. Author of numerous texts on art and interviews with Polish and foreign artists, curators, and art critics. Graduated from Art History at Humboldt University in Berlin. Currently works at DESA Unicum Auction House in Warsaw, where she coordinates projects related to Polish contemporary art.

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