In February Contemporary Lynx visited an exhibition of Marek Piasecki [1935-2011] at Mummery + Schnelle Gallery in east London. We had the pleasure to meet the curator Joanna Gemes, who gave us a guided tour of the exposition. Joanna helped to link Rafal Lewandowski of Galeria Asymetria in Warsaw with Andrew Mummery which lead to the first ever Piasecki’s show in the UK. It includes works dating from the late 1950s until Piasecki’s move to Sweden in 1967, focusing on two main areas of his practice; firstly the experimental abstract heliographs and miniatures that attracted most critical interest during the artist’s lifetime, and secondly his photographs of dolls and of his extraordinary studio in Cracow. Watch our video featuring Joanna’s insights into “Piasecki’s world” – abstract heliographs, miniatures, photographs of dolls and many more.
Marek Piasecki was born in Warsaw in 1935. His family house was burned down by the Germans during the Warsaw Uprising and in 1945 his family moved to Cracow. He was arrested in 1952 for political reasons and sentenced to six years in prison. He was released early for health reasons and started to experiment with photography. From the mid 1950s he was working as a professional photojournalist. From 1957 he moved in the artistic and theatrical circles of Cracow and Warsaw and belonged to the 2nd Cracow Group together with such important artists like Tadeusz Kantor, Jonasz Stern and Erna Rosenstein. His experimental work began to be exhibited regularly – notably in 1959 at Galeria Krzysztofory together with the surrealist group Phases – and was written about by Polish critics. In 1960 his work came to the attention of American critic Dore Ashton at an exhibition in Cracow. In 1967 Piasecki went to Sweden at the invitation of the Lunds Konsthall and decided to settle there.
Mummery + Schnelle was established in 2007 by Andrew Mummery and Wolfram Schnelle. The gallery exhibits international contemporary art, building on an artist base established by Andrew Mummery, that focuses mainly on painting and photography. The gallery’s exhibition programme has recently started to feature conceptual art made in the 1960s and 70s and employing photography as its primary medium. The gallery’s critical approach aims to generate dialogue and debate through a phenomenological reading of art and its reception. The majority of exhibitions are complemented by a series of commissioned texts and publications, considering the gallery as a meeting space for artists, scholars and collectors.