The exhibition, held as part of an ongoing programme presenting the most interesting private collections of contemporary and modern art at the Orangerie of the Palace Museum in Wilanów.
Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz with Roman Jasiński, Warsaw
photo by Jan Kochanowski
The exhibition, held as part of an ongoing programme presenting the most interesting private collections of contemporary and modern art at the Orangerie of the Palace Museum in Wilanów. Okołowicz and Franczak’s unique collection shows Witkacy as an avid fan of photography, creating his own images and collecting the works of others. The exhibition features his famous self-portraits, an illustration of the biographical legend of a ‘great eccentric’, photographs of him taken by his friends and vice-versa, along with experimental techniques of staging and photography.
The programme was initiated in 2010 with the show 20th Century Photography from the Collection of Cezary Pieczyński and is now continued with a presentation of the collection of Stefan Okołowicz and Ewa Franczak. The exhibition presents a unique collection that includes a large body of photographic work by Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, known as Witkacy, as well as works by other photographers active in the 19th and 20th centuries. The main part of the show is devoted to Witkacy, one of the most outstanding figures in 20th century Polish art: a novelist and playwright, philosopher and art theoretician, painter, photographer, draughtsman, portraitist; an artist who has long fascinated scholars and the public alike with his persona as a writer and painter, and in more recent years increasingly as a ‘demonic photographer’.
Okołowicz and Franczak’s unique collection shows Witkacy as an avid fan of photography, creating his own images and collecting the works of others. The exhibition features his famous self-portraits, an illustration of the biographical legend of a ‘great eccentric’, beginning with a series of photographs in which he transformed into a mime-theatre director and actor, enacting his own look-alikes for the camera. There are also series of portraits of the artist’s friends and other well-known personages, along with scenes improvised for the camera staged by Witkacy and his friends. There are also landscapes series and experimental images and documentation. Finally, the exhibition presents Witkacy’s drawings and paintings.
The exhibition also presents the work of photographers Witkacy worked with: Józef Głogowski, Tadeusz Langier and Mieczysław Choynowski. The context of photographic practices contemporary to Witkacy has been expanded to include photographs from his home region. Witkacy’s early landscapes from the Tatra mountains are juxtaposed with Tatra landscapes by Stanisław Bizański, Awit Szubert or Stanisław Krygowski. Photographs from the Witkiewicz family archive - some of the earliest examples of Polish photography - serve as introduction to the show. A large collection of portraits and self-portraits by Witkacy is presented next to portraits of him by other photographers. The famous Multiple Portrait is shown in the company of several other multiple portraits from the early 20th century. Accompanying the selection from the Okołowicz and Franczak's collection are anonymous images, examples of photographs from old family albums and outside collections tie in with more contemporary fascinations. The exhibition is the first major presentation of this collection and the second proposition in the Latent Capital series, a project aimed at demonstrating the symbolic capital of contemporary private collections of art.
The exhibition Witkacy and Others is a joint initiative of the Wilanów Palace Museum and the Profile Foundation, Warsaw. The exhibition runs between June 16 - August15, 2011.
For more information, see: www.wilanow-palac.pl
Source: Wilanów Palace Museum