This exhibition documents achievements of the "Symposium for Artists and Academics" held in August 1966 at the Zakłady Azotowe (Nitrate Plant) in Puławy. Jerzy Ludwiński, art critic and theoretician, organized and designed the cyclical exhibition.
This exhibition documents achievements of the Symposium for Artists and Academics held in August 1966 at the Zakłady Azotowe (Nitrate Plant) in Puławy. Jerzy Ludwiński, art critic and theoretician, organized and designed the cyclical exhibition. The core ideas behind the event aimed to bring together experiences from the Encounters of Artists and Academics in the town of Osieki and the Biennale of Spatial Forms in Elbląg, highlight the interdependence of science and art as well as the relationship between the creative work of artists and theoretical investigations of academics.The state assumed responsibility for organizing the meetings under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture and Art as well as the state-run Chemical Industry. A four-member program committee was appointed, chaired by Ryszard Stanisławski and members Mieczysław Porębski, Jerzy Stajuda and the aforementioned Jerzy Ludwiński (Stajuda took part only in the earliest phase of preparations). Ludwiński's initial concept evolved toward displaying a 'neotechnical reality' to find the 'beauty of the industrial era' therein. In addition to members of the program committee, the following critics took part in the meetings: Wiesław Borowski, Urszula Czartoryska, Anna Ptaszkowska, Mariusz Tchorek, Jacek Woźniakowski, as well as others, such as Maria Bogucka, Janusz Bogucki, Maciej Gutowski, Agnieszka Ławniczak, Jerzy Olkiewicz, and Helena Prokopowicz-Lipnicka. Artists round out the complete list of participants, including, from Kraków, Tadeusz Kantor, Andrzej Pawłowski, Teresa Rudowicz, Jan Tarasin, Marian Warzecha; from Warsaw - Włodzimierz Borowski, Feliks Falk, Zbigniew Gostomski, Bronisław Kierzkowski, Grzegorz Kowalski, Edward Krasiński, Alfred Lenica, Henryk Morel, Janusz Przybylski, Maciej Szańkowski, Natalia Witkowska, Bogdan Załęski; from Wrocław - Jan Chwałczyk, Wanda Gołkowska, Liliana Lewicka; from Elbląg - Gerard Kwiatkowski; from Koszalin - Jerzy Fedorowicz, Ludmiła Popiel; from Łódź - Stanisław Fijałkowski, Zdzisław Głowacki, Stefan Krygier, Benon Liberski, Ireneusz Pierzgalski, Antoni Starczewski, Krystyn Zieliński; from Lublin - Mieczysław Herman, Andrzej Kołodziejek, Zenon Kononowicz, Krzysztof Kurzątkowski, Ryszard Lis, Adam Styka, Jan Ziemski; from Poznań - Andrzej Matuszewski; from Puławy - Janusz Rogowski; as well as two Japanese artists, Joe Oda and Eiko Oda.
Nonetheless, the stormy discussions, the artists' iconoclastic activities and ultimate expression of the Art in a Changing World exhibition summarizing the symposium shunned the postulated integration of technology and art. Here, arrangements by Jerzy Bereś, Włodzimierz Borowski, Feliks Falk, Grzegorz Kowalski, Edward Krasiński, Liliana Lewicka, Henryk Morel and Andrzej Pawłowski played an especially important role. Their activities to find new ways of creatively perceiving the world stood out among the symposium's other works. Their structure was not completely clear; these were not happenings, though they were referred to as such at times, they exceeded the concept of 'environment,' though they included its elements. They used contemporary terminology, caught the relations among particular components by referencing their theoretical as well as grammatical expressions. In their manner of associating meanings, they expanded beyond the constraints of the then applicable language of art and were precursors of today's popular installations or performances. The new grammar of art thus appeared not through new technologies, but primarily through the manner of presentation and through the total management of the means of artistic expression. By rejecting typical means and materials, the artists also questioned the traditional understanding of art as the idea of producing something permanent and referenced fleeting events, eternal forms permanently existing in nature, definitive concepts such as life, death, completeness, vacuum, space and time.
The ultimate resounding 'No to Technicism' supported by the majority of participants was influenced primarily by artistic events evoked by Bereś, Borowski, Lewicka and Falk, which introduced a new dimension of impact into Polish art of the 60s. Critically speaking, there is a fundamental difference between the nature of the art termed sculpture and the matter of these dimension-transgressing activities. The essence of the difference is that artists eschewed the concept of monumental endurance, once nearly inextricably linked to the artistic totality. Sculpture expanded the nature of its existence by becoming spatial art, or the art of time and space, through transmutation into installations where the artist is an inalienable component. By developing relations between sculpture's structural elements, it revealed their timeless meanings. The artist's creative act proclaimed an autonomous existence of its own; it sloughed off the mottos of technicization postulated by the organizers. The works conducted a dialogue or maybe even a dispute with the surrounding world and confirmed the conviction that in the context of an excess of chemicals nature is man's sole true ally.
The exhibition will be accompanied by the monograph of Anna Maria Leśniewska, Puławy 66, published by Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Puław (Friends of Puławy Association).
Exhibition documenting the 1st Symposium for Artistsand Academics in Puławy Art in a Changing WorldMay 9 - June 8, 2008
Curator: Anna Maria Leśniewska
Co-operation: Paweł Polit
Photography: Stanisław Papciak
Centre for Contemporary Art
Jazdów 2, Warsaw