The artwork presented at the exhibition looks at the concept and popular perception of hell as a complex and multi-layered metaphor of the present.
This curated exhibition, which is a part of the Bielska Jesień Painting Biennale, has been conceived and presented by Stach Szabłowski, a curator and art critic with a keen eye for all the latest developments in the work of young Polish artists. After the pandemic-imposed hiatus in 2020, this year Galeria Bielska BWA will finally be able to present “A Season in Hell” – the 11th Curated Exhibition of Bielska Jesień 2022. The previous 2018 jubilee exhibition entitled “Children of Light”, which was curated by Stanisław Ruksza, focused on the life and work of Andrzej Urbanowicz.
Stach Szabłowski, curator of the exhibition:
The exhibition “A Season in Hell” poses a number of questions: Where can we encounter contemporary painting? Where can we meet each other as members of a (post)pandemic community? In what territory can an art enthusiast seeking to reflect their own experience in painting arrange a rendezvous with him- or herself?
Our suggestion: ‘Let’s meet in hell.’
In other words, the exhibition is a proposal to look at the presented artwork through the prism of the concept and popular perception of hell which is perceived as a multi-level metaphor for the present and a key to open a perspective on social life and the existential experience of the individual in a world we are all, willy-nilly, condemned to. The title of the exhibition has been borrowed from Rimbaud. When, in 1873, the poet described the journey to an inferno that he himself had invented, the process of transferring hell from the hereafter to Earth had already been all but completed (...)
Therefore, “A Season in Hell” focuses on paintings which use oxymoron and balance on a fine line between two contradictory concepts, such as: enthusiasm and pessimism, universal truths and relativism, desire for and doubt about meaning, hope and melancholy, sincerity and irony, knowledge and naivety, commitment and non-commitment. We’re looking at paintings whose language is at the same time affirmative and cynical, deconstructive and reconstructive, global and local, political and personal; paintings in which we seek an aesthetic moment. There is no escape from the hell of modernity. (...)
A part of the reason why we invoke Rimbaud as a symbolic patron of the exhibition by borrowing the title from him is his advocacy of the need to be ‘absolutely modern’, i.e. fully in tune with his times. (…) “A Season in Hell” is an exhibition with the art of painting at its core. However, just as the boundaries of contemporary hell are defined only by the horizon of social life and by the reach and audacity of the imagination of the individual exploring it, so too are the boundaries of painting broadly perceived.
The artists participating in the exhibition: Adam Adach, Olga Dmowska, Michał Frydrych, Jakub Gliński, Karolina Jabłońska, Bartek Kiełbowicz, Tomasz Kręcicki, Agata Kus, Monika Misztal, Zofia Pałucha, Cyryl Polaczek, Nikola Linda Strenger, Michał Slezkin, Paweł Susid, Paweł Śliwiński, Janek Zamoyski, Paweł Ponury Żukowski and Krzysztof Garbaczewski.
Stach Szabłowski was born 1973. He is an art historian, curator, critic, and journalist. He holds a degree from the Institute of Art History at the University of Warsaw. He made his debut as a curator in 2000 at the Centre for Contemporary Art ‘Ujazdowski Castle’ in Warsaw with the national art exhibition “Scena 2000”, which he had prepared together with Ewa Gorządek. The project brought together the most important Polish artists of the turn of the century. At the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, he has staged other high-profile exhibitions, including “Concrete Legacy” (2007), “Beyond the Red Horizon” (Warsaw – Moscow 2004-2005).
As an art critic and journalist, he has co-operated for many years with a number of Polish magazines – from dailies to weeklies to lifestyle magazines.
One of the shows curated by Stach Szabłowski at Galeria Bielska BWA was a solo exhibition of paintings by Sebastian Krok, the winner of the Grand Prix of the 43rd Painting Biennale Bielska Jesień 2017. The exhibition entitled "Mental Pearl Harbour" was accompanied by a catalogue edited by Stach Szabłowski, with critical texts by Marta Lisok, Jagna Domżalska and Stach Szabłowski.
Read about the book launch >>
Galeria Bielska BWA, 10 November – 26 December 2022
“A Season in Hell”, The 11th Curated Exhibition of Bielska Jesień 2022
Curated by Stach Szabłowski
The opening: Friday, 18 November 2022, 6 pm
Curator's guided tour: Friday, 18 November 2022, 5 pm