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The Lucim Panorama - The Four Seasons Installation image

Witold Chmielewski

Centre of Contemporary Art Znaki Czasu

Centre of Contemporary Art Znaki Czasu

The set of four double boards presents the four seasons in Lucim – a village on the border of Kuyavia and Tuchola Forest, by the A25 national road. The starting point for the author was the reality represented in the photograph. In the painting interpretation, it has undergone a synthesis, which gives these works the characteristics of deliberate austerity and primitivism. The paintings are a continuation of under-realism – Witold Chmielewski’s original concept, proclaimed in 1974 as an alternative to the official art of the PRL [People's Republic of Poland] and to art in general. Their representational layer is characterized by cool, objective realism and the ordinariness of motifs and themes. These are landscapes and scenes from the life of Polish provinces. At the same time, they show the reality of a particular place: Lucim in the mid-1970s and its inhabitants. They were presented in their profane daily lives. [M. Ipczynska]

The set of four double boards presents the four seasons in Lucim – a village on the border of Kuyavia and Tuchola Forest, by the A25 national road. The starting point for the author was the reality represented in the photograph. In the painting interpretation, it has undergone a synthesis, which gives these works the characteristics of deliberate austerity and primitivism. The paintings are a continuation of under-realism – Witold Chmielewski’s original concept, proclaimed in 1974 as an alternative to the official art of the PRL [People's Republic of Poland] and to art in general. Their representational layer is characterized by cool, objective realism and the ordinariness of motifs and themes. These are landscapes and scenes from the life of Polish provinces. At the same time, they show the reality of a particular place: Lucim in the mid-1970s and its inhabitants. They were presented in their profane daily lives. In the Spring diptych they work in the fields, or enjoy a moment of rest – a policeman who is sitting. They are accompanied by, portrayed in festive costumes, First Communion children and a young couple. Groups of people seem to be deprived of contact with each other. They are connected by the landscape in which they are placed: a panorama of fields stretching to the horizon, adorned with green grass and rising grain, intersected by a strip of sandy road with a willow growing by it. Under the seemingly emotionless registration of a banal reality, there hides the timelessness of the world order, which is determined by the calendar of nature, holidays and customs. Everyday life is penetrated by the sacrum of rites inscribed into the year’s cycle and human life. The question of the contemporary village mythology seems to be quite alive here – it is not a utopian enclave, but a part of the civilized world. It cultivates values and local traditions, which constitutes its distinctiveness. Universalism and the symbolism embodied in the cycle are reflected in the method of the Panorama exhibition: an installation in the form of a closed octagon adjusted in accordance with the cardinal directions – seasons and the choice of landscapes have been assigned to them. The viewer, standing inside the space, finds himself in a symbolic axis of the world intersection point, the axis mundi located in the Lucim village.
This very locality was, in the second half of the 1970s, the inspiration and place of work for artists of the Grupa Działania [Activity Group], and Witold Chmielewski was a member of it. The long-term activity of this group (converted in 1981 into Group 111) included socio-artistic actions engaging rural residents and visitors. They were reflected in their own programme Social Art as an Idea from 1980. The pictures represent the first phase of the artists' activities in Lucim – The Lucim Action. For the first time they were presented during its final, in August 1979, in the village. Photographic and film documentation of activities in Lucim, the works of artists and the ephemera prints, the unique publications with very low circulation, provide a comprehensive and representative set in the collection of CoCA in Toruń. [M.Ipczynska]

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