review

Molski Gallery & Collection A new place on Poland’s cultural map

Michał Molski and Małgorzata Molska showcased their art collection to the public for the first time. This way the audience was given a chance to commune with a collection of works which not only provides aesthetic experience to its viewers, but also contributes to a sense of intellectual satisfaction. The collectors invite them to this exceptional meeting with art to the specially prepared space of a recently opened Poznań-based gallery.

Abakanowicz, Berdyszak, Dobkowski, Dominik, Gierowski, Krasiński, Lenica, Modzelewski, Stażewski, Tarasewicz, Tarasin, Tyszkiewicz – these are only some of the household names whose works can be admired at the Molski Gallery.

The need of coexistence with art

The collectors from Poznań have been building their collection since 2008. The moment which particularly affected Michał Molski’s sensitivity to art was when he accidentally came across a silkscreen print by Wojciech Fangor. The work of one of the major representatives of optical art triggered further art explorations.

Rajmund Ziemski, Courtesy by Molski Gallery

The author of the first work which Molski bought was Krzysztof Musiał, a Poznań-based artist. Back then, he did not know that it was the name of one of the most prominent contemporary Polish art collectors. Although they were unaware of that, Molski and Musiał had already been connected by the need to co-exist with art. In time, this resulted in further purchase transactions, and the development of the collection providing an account of the most significant phenomena in 20th and 21st century art.

Jarosław Modzelewski, Courtesy by Molski Gallery

In search of minimalism and timelessness

Molski’s main area of activity is the real estate market, which is reflected in the projects he implements, mostly revealing a search for minimalism, timelessness and universal nature. This quest also manifests itself in this intentionally built art collection in which artists representing the geometric trend constitute a majority of the exhibited works. However, while the entire collection is diversified in many ways, it remains visibly coherent. Its integrity also corresponds with the gallery space, soothing viewers with its minimalism, thus allowing fully focus on the showcased works – the relationship to art is maintained within the design of the gallery building. A lot of artists whose works are part of the Molski collection focused their creative effort on the issue of space.

Henryk Stażewski, Courtesy by Molski Gallery

Order, calm, meditation

In her text for the catalogue, Bożena Kowalska writes those two trends can be noted in the selection of works: the need of order and neatness –often expressed by a rhythmical pattern – and the sphere of meditation, is the trend more difficult to pinpoint. There is no doubt that the collection constitutes an instance of an intellectual quest and art analyses.

Ryszard Winiarski, Courtesy by Molski Gallery

The previously mentioned artists representing the geometric abstraction trend, being the core of the collection, include renowned figures of Polish art, like, among others, the doyen of Polish avant-garde, Henryk Stażewski, the representative of conceptual art and minimalism – Edward Krasiński, conceptual art painter, Ryszard Winiarski, painter and art theoretician – Jan Berdyszak, an artist referring to the ideas of constructivism – Jerzy Kałucki, and Mieczysław Janikowski, landscape painter creating abstract art works.

As we can see, the geometric trend in Molski’s collection is represented by numerous artists creating their art since the 1950s until contemporary times, and it has many diverse facets. On the one hand, the collection has Tamara Berdowska’s or Michał Misiak’s compositions which encourage viewers to meditate, and on the other hand, there are works by Janusz Orbitowski which are more focused on the artistic search.

Courtesy by Molski Gallery

Unease – between chaos and order

The abstract art which has dominated the collection also shows instances of a non-geometric approach. Jan Tarasin – who represented this outlook on art treating painting as a tool to explore the rules governing all beings – is particularly important to the collector. The irregular rhythmical pattern of the compositions may evoke anxiety. It is not the only artist in Molski’s collections whose works have the capacity to disrupt the viewers’ seeming balance. The work by Alfred Lenica, inviting us to the world of inner tensions, can serve as another example of such influence. Uncertainty and anxiety may also arise as we admire the works of other artists present in the collection, such as art by Jarosław Modzelewski, Jadwiga Maziarska, Teresa Tyszkiewicz, Jan Dobkowski or Magdalena Abakanowicz. In this seeming chaos, whose aim is to solve a mystery, it is possible to notice the clarity of answers obtained after contemplating the works, combining unrest with the confidence of the compositions of works within the geometric trend.

Edward KRasinski, Relief, 1978, Courtesy by Molski Gallery

Collection as a process, not a goal

The exhibition which inaugurated the activities of the gallery provides an accurate image of the assumptions behind Molski family’s collection. This thought-out exhibition demonstrates the personal interests of the collectors who treat the construction of their art collection as a process. The creation of the collection’s exhibition, fostering a dialogue between individual works and marking out new pathways to interpret them provides considerable joy and satisfaction, not only to Molski, but also to the visitors attending the exhibition. This new place on the cultural map of Poland gives an opportunity to explore key phenomena in the art of the second half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century.

Tamara Berdowska, Jerzy Kałucki, Courtesy by Molski Gallery

This exhibition makes us stop and contemplate for a moment. The gallery provides favourable conditions to do this, allowing the construction of multiple narratives within a minimalistic space. Juxtaposing classics with contemporary artists, providing combinations based on the parallels between questions posed by the artists – all this expands the sphere of art. It can be said that the idea for the gallery exhibition space fits in very well with the collection itself. Its dominant quality is order, also found in the compositions of geometric abstraction works. It is a place where you can rest, and feel the unease of throbbing questions emerging from the encounter with art. Michał Molski is planning further exhibitions, and he wants the gallery to become a space for discussions on art. The collector has not forgotten about local artists, as he has plans to cooperate with them on further projects.

The exhibition is open until 1 August 2022,
between 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Aleja Wielkopolska 65a, Poznań
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Courtesy by Molski Gallery
Courtesy by Molski Gallery
Courtesy by Molski Gallery

About The Author

Patrycja
Głusiec

Art writer, a graduate of Polish Philology and Art History based in Warsaw. She's a member of Contemporary Lynx editorial team and Social Media Manager. She explores contemporary photography and writes mainly about women photographers. Her research interests also include film history.

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