We See You. The Activities of Foksal Gallery 1966–1989

29 May – 20 September, 2009
Kumu Art Museum (4th floor B-wing)

 

Curator Karolina Labowicz-Dymanus (Galeria Foksal) writes: “The idea of this exhibition emerged in the course of my conversations with the Kumu Art Museum curator Eha Komissarov during my numerous visits to Tallinn. Comparing the situation of artists in our countries under the Soviet regime, we decided that it would be worth making the Estonian public familiar with the Polish art of the era and its unique situation vis-à-vis the Soviet bloc’s other countries.”

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After the 1956 ‘thaw’, avant-garde art was tolerated in Poland, and the Foksal Gallery was one of its most important strongholds from its founding in 1966. The gallery remains in operation and regularly organises exhibitions; it also has a large archive documenting its activities to date. The exhibition We See You. The Activities of Foksal Gallery 1966–1989 presents documentation of the gallery’s major events, which have become part of the history of Polish art, and a collection of works donated by artists after their exhibitions.

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The first part of the title alludes to a famous photograph showing the gallery’s founders in a window facing the courtyard of the Zamoyski Palace. The palace housed the Fine Arts Workshops: the gallery’s official patron and at the same time a powerful state institution controlling all exhibition activity in People’s Poland. The title We See You can thus be read in many ways, including with a political subtext. It refers – as does the exhibition as a whole – to the flow of, access to and exchange of information on avant-garde practices and events in the bloc, in spite of an unfavourable, even hostile, political environment. Moreover, the exhibition, shown at Kumu in the gallery devoted to Soviet-era art, has turned out to be a perfect occasion for taking a closer look at the Foksal Gallery’s first twenty years of existence. This closer look is aided by the catalogue, which besides photographs and programming documents also contains an essay by Wiesław Borowski, one of the gallery’s founders, and an essay by Paweł Polit, a younger-generation critic who has long researched the Foksal milieu and its art.

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The following artists’ works will be presented at Kumu: Art&Language, Anonymous Artists (Roman Siwulak and Andrzej Wełmiński), Mirosław Bałka, Robert Barry, Ben Vautier, Jerzy Bereś, Christian Boltanski, Daniel Buren, Tomasz Ciecierski, Peter Downsbrough, Stanisław Dróżdż, Druga Grupa (Lesław and Wacław Janicki, and Jacek M. Stokłosa), Lars Englund, Joel Fisher, Zbigniew Gostomski, Alain Jacquet, Tadeusz Kantor, Koji Kamoji, Eustachy Kossakowski, Edward Krasiński, Edward Narkiewicz, Tadeusz Rolke, Maria Stangret, Henryk Stażewski, Andrzej Szewczyk, Leon Tarasewicz, Tomasz Tatarczyk, Lawrence Weiner, Krzysztof Wodiczko and Living Archive.

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The exhibition is open until 20 September 2009.

Exhibition design: Jaanus Samma

The exhibition is supported by: Galeria Foksal, Mazowieckie Centrum Kultury i Sztuki,

Ministry of Culture and National Heritage in Poland, Estonian Ministry of Culture, Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Tallinn

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