Neo-avant-garde in Upper Silesia
"Zdzichu painted the most of us all. Soon, he enlarged the flat by the adjacent attic space, thus forming a huge studio, ever more crammed with canvases.
I do not know WHY even now I have such a vivid image: in Zdzichu’s room, we are listening to the song of Bertold Brecht’s Mother Courage performed by Helena Weigiel (Konrad sent us the record from Berlin). The poignant lyrics, the moving singing… It was a real HOLIDAY – despite the complexity of the times, the empty shops, the shortage of paints and brushes, the tangible sense of threat…
My contact with Zdzichu was the closest of all within the group. He was passionate and so direct..."
Urszula Broll about St-35 group, 2009
"Stanek does not expect any accidental effects. His compositions are solidly worked on; the artist imposes on himself a strict discipline, correcting critically almost any juxtaposition of colour, line, or shape. He constructs his painterly structures with the consideration and purpose of an architect designing buildings."
Bożena Kowalska, 1958.
"I have seen a few dozen of sketches, later destroyed, exploring the theme of the tree core bristling with the thorns of dead twigs, eroded by sand and sea salt.
Stanek’s sketches captivated the viewer leading him into a kind of spectral laboratory, in which all shadows and lights ever cast on the wood evoked an aura emanating from its slightly luminous surface. Moreover, all this was kept in a stark, black and white tone in order to impose on himself even greater discipline."
Andrzej Wydrzyński 1959
"The artist applies onto the surface of his paintings colourful forms which are ”sculpted” in thick layers of oil-based paint, which he enriches with patters of lines carved in the paint. Thus, the ever changing play of light and shadow generated by the abundant relief of the surface complements the colour. The forms themselves are semi-abstract. They are mid-way between the image of nature in the paintings of the series ”Flowers”and the total abstraction of ”Lights in the Interspace”. What Stanek places here are artistic signs of particular objects and natural phenomena. Attentive examination of these paintings and being open to the influence of their shapes and colors may start long chains of poetic associations in the viewer’s imagination."
Alfred Ligocki, 1965.
In the 1970s, Stanek created intriguing, precisely shaped spatial works called Paintingforms and Lightforms. These works, which were reliefs rather than paintings despite their suggestive, frequently contrasting colours, were created with the use of polychromed wood, aluminum sheet and plexi plates.
"Zdzisław Stanek is an eminent personality in the Polish art of the post-war era. As one of the few in this part of Europe, he creatively continued Strzemiński’s ideas, combining them with a specific mysticism of light. So far, his modesty and the fact that he lived in Silesia have not been conducive for his art becoming more widely known and appreciated, although it deserves the highest attention."
Andrzej Urbanowicz 2009.
Curator: Natalia Kruszyna
Photographer: Aleksandra Kuś
Translator: Monika Hartman
Project Coordinator: Magdalena Niziołek