The Foksal Gallery is one of the most significant galleries in Poland. It was founded in 1966 by acclaimed artists and art critics: Zbigniew Gostomski, Tadeusz Kantor, Edward Krasiński, Roman Owidzki, Henryk Stażewski, Wiesław Borowski, Anka Ptaszkowską and Mariusz Tchorek.
Since its inception, the Gallery functioned as an exhibition/research facility. Through the first 20 years, it operated within an environment of institutions controlled by the monopolistic system of the state, yet it managed to sustain the development of an independent artistic program. The main objectives posed by the Gallery were:
- Enabling independent artists to present their work to the public in the form of exhibitions and showings (which at the time was not an obvious endevour),
- creating an international perspective for Polish art and developing direct contacts with artists and art institutions from abroad.
For years, the Foksal Gallery has been one of the most influential galleries in Poland, with showings of many internationally acclaimed artists, including: Christian Boltanski, Henryk Stażewski, Joseph Beuys, Royden Rabinowitch, Anselm Kiefer, Luc Tuymans, Bill Viola, Tadeusz Kantor, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Koji Kamoji, Leon Tarasewicz, Douglas Gordon, Matthew Barney, Marek Chlanda and Victor Burgin - along with many other notable names.
In the 70's, Andrzej Turowski systematically participated in building the Gallery's artistic program. At the same time, Milada Ślizińska started her work as the curator of a series of exhibitions. Until 1982, the Gallery operated under the patronage of the Visual Arts Studio (PSP), then, until 2001, under the patronate of the Sculpture Gallery (SBWA), and presently it works within the structures of the Mazovia Region Centre of Culture and Arts (MCKiS).
The Foksal Gallery regularly collects documentations of contemporary Polish and foreign artists, and publishes directories of events and exhibitions. In the 80's and 90's the Gallery widely expanded its contacts. During this time, new creators of exhibitions - in addition to the regular co-artists - were: Leon Tarasewicz, Tomasz Ciecierski, Tomasz Tatarczyk, Mirosław Bałka, Roman Opałka, Robert Maciejuk, Jadwiga Sawicka, Mikołaj Smoczyński, Katarzyna Józefowicz, Paweł Althamer, Jaromir Jedliński, Andrzej Przywara and Joanna Mytkowska (both until the year 2000), Daniel Buren, Anselm Kiefer, Alan Charlton, Luc Tuymans, Gregor Schneider, Tom Friedman.
In exhibitions organised by the Gallery, we would like to draw attention to two specific moments.First of all - not so much to presenting the "art objects" in their "whole, finite" form, but rather to revealing the conditions and situations that are associated with their formation. Secondly - to treat these conditions and situations as the organic elements of an art show. Thus, it is a violation of a settled division into two isolated areas of artistic activity: the atelier, in which the work is created, and the place where it is presented.
The chance to take up the aforementioned issues depends on the artist. The Gallery strives to provide the maximum of opportunities to the artists invited to collaborate. We believe that in some cases artists will manage to avoid forms that consist of painting compositions. Then the exhibitions will perhaps lose their secondary and neutral character with respect to the art piece itself, and become an artistically active form.
Text published in the exhibition catalogue: "Zbigniew Gostomski, Edward Krasiński, Roman Owidzki, Henryk Stażewski, Jan Ziemski", Foksal Gallery PSP, April 1966, Warsaw.
Initially based within the Foksal Gallery, the Foksal Gallery Foundation moved out in 2001, and now operates as an independent and commercial entity, curated by Joanna Mytkowska and Andrzej Przywara. Some controversies arose due to this fact, for which the usage of the historic "Foksal" name was one of the reasons. This fact often creates confusion between the two Warsaw-based institutions, which operate completely independently of each other.
ul. Foksal 1/4
Phone/Fax: (+48 22) 827 62 43