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Exuberance. The Atlas of Endless Possibilities

A comment by Hestia Artistic Journey

The State Art Gallery in Sopot
September 28,2022 - January 08,2023

September 28, 2022 January 8, 2023

The young Polish art has flourished exuberantly in the last 20 years. Today artists are setting new records at auctions, entering – as equals – foreign markets; they are advocates of political opposition and equal rights. Most of them met in one place: at the Hestia Artistic Journey competition. The exhibition “Exuberance. The Atlas of Endless Possibilities” at the State Art Gallery in Sopot will be a summary of a 20-year existence of one of the most important competitions of young art in Poland.

How to tell about 20 years of the Hestia Artistic Journey competition? By recalling the artistic names that evoke the greatest emotions today? Or the titles of works of art, the record ones, the most important ones, the breakthroughs for the development of starting careers? Maybe through numbers? Jury members? Exhibition places? List of laureates? Or maybe the finalists? How to build a space that will contain both memories and plans for the future?

EXUBERANCE, a popular category, desirable in times of diversity, encompasses not only youth, which is a kind of formal requirement (the Hestia Artistic Journey competition was addressed to students of the last two years of art academies). It also embodies the surge in interest in young art over the past 20 years. And also, or perhaps most of all, the potential, endless searches, flowering and development of the youngest generation of artists.

The 20 years of the Hestia Artistic Journey competition are over three thousand artists. Hundreds were distinguished in the finals, several dozen of the winners went on a month-long residency trip to New York, Valencia or Vilnius. They got to know curators, artists, institutions… They confronted their student ideas with the actual state of the art market in the world. They received their first large commercial orders from a business client. They learned about the artistic practice from a side that was not available within the walls of any academy.

These journeys and meetings – choices, talks, exhibitions, awards and distinctions, successes and failures – make up an atlas of possibilities. An atlas that will allow after many years – now and in the future – to return to the remembered maps, to recognize directions, see contexts, sometimes stopping to be able to look at a selected fragment differently. This elusiveness, fluidity and changeability of young art becomes the subject of the exhibition whose axis is the collection of the Hestia Artistic Journey Foundation. These 20 years are a multitude of voices and artistic practices because artists were reacting vividly to the changing reality; and the competition changed with them.

The works from the collection of the Hestia Artistic Journey Foundation alone tell the story of young Polish art in the last two decades. They offer an overview of the topics and threads that organised and organise the imagination of students. In addition to selected works from the collection, we will also see new works, broadening the context, developing the horizon of artistic practices, proving the development of their imagination. Because imagination – like an atlas – cannot be stopped in place; it cannot be stopped in time.

It is still as exuberant as it was 20 years ago.

Artists: Natalia Bażowska, Izabela Chamczyk, Norbert Delman, Xavery Deskur, Zuzanna Dolega, Kornelia Dzikowska, Józef Gałązka , Małgorzata Goliszewska, Marcin Grzęda, Veronika Hapchenko, Marcin Janusz, Ewa Juszkiewicz, Katarzyna Kimak, Mateusz Kolwaczyk, Olga Kowalska, Kamil Lisek, Krzysztof Maniak, Agnieszka Mastalerz, Jan Możdżyński, Bruno Neuhamer, Krzysztof Nowicki, Łukasz Patelczyk, Cyryl Polaczek, Jan Porczyński, Jakub Rebelka, Mateusz Sarzyński, Aleksander Sovtysik, Piotr Urbaniec, Marek Wodzisławski, Bożna Wydrowska, Marcin Zawicki