Contemporary Polish painters follow the artistic path set by Andrzej Urbanowicz - the legend of the Silesian independent artistic milieu of the 1960s
As part of the 10th Painting Biennale "Bielska Jesień" 2018, Galeria Bielska BWA has invited Stanisław Ruksza to present Children of the Ligh* – a curated exhibition featuring the work of Andrzej Urbanowicz – a charismatic artist, and guru of independent artistic circles in Silesia since the 1960s.
Stanisław Ruksza, for years analyzing the work of Andrzej Urbanowicz and the activity of Silesian underground circles, has put together the exhibition Children of the Light which encompasses both local and universal contexts. In his personal and artistic life, Andrzej Urbanowicz, who lived both in Poland (Katowice) and in the USA, combined the wisdom of the East and energy of the West.
Inspiration with kitsch and art brut, vitality, fascination with alchemy, psychedelia, nature and other references to the ideas and practices of Silesian underground during the communist era, and to the work of Andrzej Urbanowicz – a charismatic artist, and a guru of independent artistic circles in Silesia since the 1960s
So, who are the “children of the light” today?
The group exhibition Children of the Light will be devoted to selected phenomena in the present-day Polish art inspired by the work of Andrzej Urbanowicz (1938-2011), an artist of considerable influence on the development of art, who led an active artistic career in Katowice for half a century, from the early 1960s (punctuated by a stay in the USA from 1978 to 1991). Run by the artist and his wife, the outstanding painter Urszula Broll, the famous studio in the attic of the house at ul. Piastowska 1 became an informal meeting centre for local artists and intellectuals. The charismatic personality of Andrzej Urbanowicz attracted a milieu of painters, sculptors, poets, playwrights, musicians, novelists and philosophers. The invigorating atmosphere of the place contributed to the emergence of various artistic groups and informal partnerships.
Andrzej Urbanowicz was a legendary painter whose presence is felt again on the Polish art scene. The artist drew inspiration from art brut, surrealism, informalism, pop-art and psychedelia. Urbanowicz, who was one of the founding fathers of the Polish underground art movement during the communist era (co-founder of the legendary Oneiron Group), is once again becoming a source of inspiration for many painters, especially that his attitudes are beginning to gain a whole new meaning in the light of recent developments. Thus, the exhibition Children of the Light emphasizes the continuity of some of the themes in Polish painting. On the one hand, we have vitality and inspiration by kitsch and art brut, which are quite frequent now, especially in post-internet art. On the other, present-day artist often share his motifs, or artistic correspondence, if you will (alchemy, psychedelia, nature) or allude to similar fictional phenomena.
Stanisław Ruksza, curator of the exhibition
Andrzej Urbanowicz, Agnieszka Brzeżańska, Maciek Cholewa, Martyna Czech, Dominik Jałowiński, Michał Jankowski, Magda Moskwa, Izabela Ewa Ołdak, Patrycja Orzechowska, Aleka Polis, Agnieszka Polska, Marek Rachwalik, Maciek Salamon, Bartosz Zaskórski.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue designed by Patrycja Orzechowska with critical texts by Stanisław Ruksza, Agnieszka Taborska and Dariusz Misiuna.
Stanisław Ruksza - exhibition curator, art historian, songwriter, lecturer.
Since 2017, director of theTRAFO Gallery in Szczecin. From 2008 to 2017, programme director of the Contemporary Art Centre Kronika in Bytom. He studied art history at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. Currently, he is a lectures at the Academy of Art in Szczecin and guest lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice. He has curated numerous exhibitions in Poland and abroad, and participated in curators’ residences in Italy, the USA, France and the Czech Republic. In 2014, he won the title of the curator of the year in Poland in the ranking of the Obieg magazine, and was nominated for the “Guarantees of Culture 2015" Award by TVP Kultura in the category of Visual Arts.
In his work, he focuses on the relationship between art and social and political changes, the issue of death and boundary phenomena in contemporary art.
Opening of the exhibition: Friday, 9 November, 6 p.m.
* The title of the exhibition was taken from the statement by Andrzej Urbanowicz in the text Presentation (1999): "Most literally, we are children of the light, although we do not always remember it." Even when the light is sparce, it is still the most important thing. Colour is a messenger of the light.”