An amazing story of the Polish art collection in Skopje and the participation of Poles in reconstructing the Macedonian capital after an earthquake in 1963.
The entire Polish collection is a living textbook on the history of art of the first half of the 20th century. A cross-section of works by masters – university professors who were crucial in the post-war artistic life, and their students from the 1940s and early 1950s. The collection features pieces by pre-war avant-garde classics and experimenters in matter painting.
Kantor influenced the work of many Polish artists, including the ones represented in the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art. A stay in occupied Krakow and contacts with artists linked to Cricot 2 led up to a watershed in Alfred Lenica’s career (born 1899, died 1977), prompting him to turn to contemporary art. One the back of one of his works, Lenica wrote: “The drawing and line are the architecture, while the paint and colour are the music of a painting.” For Skopje, Lenica chose the work Cosine.
Jan Berdyszak (born 1934, died 2014) was connected to Poznan, and created integral forms. For Skopje, he chose the painting Circle Composition XVIII. He became famous as an author of structural paintings, a cycle of which he initiated in 1965. He was involved in sculpting, painting, graphic art, and drawing. Moreover, he designed spatial installations and theatrical scenery.
Teresa Pągowska (born 1926, died 2007), the author of Portrait 1, worked in Gdansk at the turn of the 1950s and 1960s. “One has to see a lot, in order to discard a lot, and gain more wealth by elimination; a formal shortcut should bring the clarity of expression and enhance the painting’s power. One has to keep searching for oneself and fight with this happiness of painting,” she said about her work. She always displayed an above-average sensitivity about colours. In the second half of the 1950s, she would put more emphasis on the expressionist qualities of colour.
In 2014 The Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage became involved in assessing the condition of the Polish art collection. Jacek Miler, director of the ministry’s Cultural Heritage Department which is in charge of protecting Polish heritage abroad, explains why the decision was made (video only in Polish).
Dominik’s world are sunny circles, flowers, sticks in fences, jugs, loaves of bread, and grass.” The author of The Might of Heaven was a versatile artist – a painter and graphic designer who also dealt with ceramics and artistic weaving. Characteristic formal features of his paintings are circular and oval-shaped points, and irregular-shaped stains.
Józef Gielniak (born 1932, died 1972) – an artist who spent almost his entire artistic life in a tuberculosis sanatorium in the Polish village of Bukowiec near Kowary, where he worked as an archivist. He created almost exclusively linocuts and left behind as few as sixty-eight works. One of them, This is Stanisław K. Dawski, is in Skopje.
In the 1960s, Zbigniew Makowski (born 1930) lived in Paris, where he met, among others, theoretician of surrealism Andre Breton, as well as artists associated with this trend. A painter, poet, and creator of unique books that he makes with his hands and entirely on his own. In his works, Makowski piles up symbols and quotations. The artist is also interested in different branches of science, for example mathematics; he is an expert on many European and Asian cultures, and a refined reader of poetry and philosophical magazines. To Skopje Makowski donated his oil painting on board entitled Composition.
Zobacz film "Skopje. Sztuka Solidarności" w języku polskim.
Ponad pół wieku po trzęsieniu ziemi w Skopje przypominamy niezwykłą historię dźwigania miasta z ruin, losy polskiej kolekcji sztuki i wielki gest artystów, dzięki którym zbiory Muzeum Sztuki Współczesnej w macedońskiej stolicy są tak fascynujące. Zobacz film „Skopje. Sztuka Solidarności”.
PHOTOGRAPHS: MILAN DŻINGO, BARTOSZ BOBKOWSKI
FILM: SKOPJE. THE ART OF SOLIDARITY - PANATOFILM.PL
ART HISTORY CONSULTANT: DR MAGDALENA ZIÓŁKOWSKA
WE WISH TO THANK THE FOLLOWING FOR THEIR HELP IN PREPARING THE EXHIBITION:
THE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART IN SKOPJE
MUSEUM OF ART IN LODZ
THE EMBASSY OF THE REPUBLIC OF POLAND IN SKOPJE