The exhibition Kobro and Strzemiński: New Art in Turbulent Times is the first extensive presentation in Sweden of the work of these two pioneering and defiant avant-garde Polish artists.
The aim of the exhibition is to give an overview over the artistic output of Katarzyna Kobro (1898-1951) and Władysław Strzemiński (1893-1952), the two most important leading figures of the Polish avant-garde between the 1920s and the 1940s. The exhibition will be the first comprehensive presentation of the artists in Sweden, where they are still mostly unknown. Their oeuvre can be described as one of the best-kept secrets in the history of modernism outside Poland.
Kobro and Strzemiński appeared and were active in a turbulent time, marked by the October Revolution in Russia, the two world wars and the horrendous consequences these circumstances led to in Poland and the rest of Europe. With their art, Kobro and Strzemiński expressed their visionary and progressive ideas of how art could play an active role in forming a new and hopefully more egalitarian and non-hierarchical society. Their Unist art suggests a utopian view of the world connecting art and life.
Kobro and Strzemiński were active in several disciplines besides sculpture and painting, including architecture, scenography, and graphic design. They were also important theoreticians, inspiring teachers, and members, founders and co-founders of important artist groups and art magazines.
With this exhibition, Moderna Museet Malmö wants to widen the scope and understanding of the European avant-garde. The exhibition will present over 60 works by Kobro and Strzemiński from the collection of the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź and other lenders. The exhibition also includes works from the a.r. International Collection of Modern Art: a project envisioned by Strzemiński in the mid-1920s of creating a public museum of the new contemporary art of that time. It eventually evolved into today’s Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź. The range of artists who donated works to this future avant-garde museum were European artists mostly active in Paris, including Georges Vantongerloo, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Vilmoz Husar, Jean Hélion, Henryk Stażewski, and Theo van Doesburg. The exhibition Kobro & Strzemiński: New Art in Turbulent Times is framed by key works from the Moderna Museet’s modernist collection, stretching from the Russian avant-garde art which inspired Kobro and Strzemiński, to works by Mondrian and Vantongerloo, central figures in the De Stijl movement with whom Kobro and Strzemiński had a vital exchange of ideas.
Curatorial team: Iris Müller-Westermann, Ory Dessau, and Jarosław Suchan
Scenography by Chezweitz Gmbh, Berlin: Sonja Beeck, Detlef Weitz, with Alexander Butz, Hans Hagemeister, Lena Schmidt, and Julia Volkmar
The exhibition is a collaboration with the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, and is supported by the Polish Institute Stockholm and the Adam Mickiewicz Institute as part of the international cultural programme POLSKA 100, financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland as part of the multi-annual programme NIEPODLEGŁA 2017–2021.
Source: press release, AMI; compiled by AZ, 22 Feb 2017
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