WHO IS JANINA WĘGRZYNOWSKA?
Curator: Paulina Oszewska
>16.01.23 – 12.03.23
>23.03.2023 – 21.05.2023
WHO IS JANINA WĘGRZYNOWSKA?
Participating artists: Janina Węgrzynowska, Agata Bogacka, Jenny Brockmann, Marcin Dymiter, Ludomir Franczak, Magdalena Franczak, Agnieszka Grodzińska, Dagmar Schürrer
This exhibition was born out of a need to tell the stories of artists whose lives and works are fascinating, but who have found themselves outside the ‘art circuit,’ and thus remain unnoticed. The project began with “Grey-Orange Painting” (1979) by Janina Węgrzynowska (1930-2010), which is in the Galeria Studio Collection. During preparation for the Collection’s exhibition in 2021, curator Paulina Olszewska became interested in the op-art composition and its author, about whom only scraps of information could be found.
The figure of Janina Węgrzynowska, an artist associated with Warsaw, seems to duplicate the biographies of many women active in the field of art in the 20th century, in Poland and around the world. They are often characterized by innovative and progressive thinking about art and an interdisciplinarity across many fields. They were, and in some cases still are, experimental and committed artists, working intensely for most of their lives. And yet they often exist outside of the mainstream, without sufficient support or adequate opportunity for their talent to be apparent. In turn, after death, their work, often left unattended, is condemned to dispersal or destruction, and thus to oblivion.
Our story about Węgrzynowska and her art involves, among other things, initiating a dialogue with contemporary artists. The curator has invited people from different backgrounds, working in various media and art fields, to draw attention to the topicality of Węgrzynowska’s practice and put it back into artistic circulation. An important aspect of this approach is to surround the artist with care and to attend to her oeuvre and archive. The exhibition provides an opportunity to establish a symbolic relationship between the invited artists and Węgrzynowska and her work. It is also an attempt to draw attention to the insufficient presence of female artists, both deceased and still active, in the field of art.
The invitation to participate in the project was for most people also their first contact with Węgrzynowska and her art, becoming a source of inspiration for them. Agata Bogacka will enter into a painting dialogue with Węgrzynowska. Berlin-based artist Jenny Brockmann became interested in the artist’s collaboration with lecturers from the Warsaw University of Technology to create of a laser work for a show at Galeria Studio in 2005. Austrian artist Dagmar Schürrer will translate Węgrzynowska’s three-dimensional op-art compositions into the language of augmented reality (AR). Agnieszka Grodzińska is focusing on the process of making an artwork and ways to create optical illusion. Magdalena and Ludomir Franczak first encountered Węgrzynowska less than a decade ago when her legacy reached Lublin. This encounter with the artist’s oeuvre inspired Ludomir Franczak to create a project at the intersection of theater, visual arts and documentary film, titled “The Life and Death of Janina Węgrzynowska” (2016). For this exhibition the artist will use scenographic elements, complemented with unfinished works by Węgrzynowska and a sound layer composed for the show by Marcin Dymiter in collaboration with Franczak. Magdalena Franczak will reach back into Węgrzynowska’s diaries, especially the experiences she describes of working in the studio and with its physical space. Franczak will combine this with ritual practices and transform it into the form of a ceramic installation.
Curator: Paulina Olszewska
Co-organizer: BWA Bydgoszcz
Partner: Arton Foundation, Warsaw
The project was made possible with the support of ifa – Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen – and Austrian Culture Forum
The exhibition is co-organized with BWA Bydgoszcz, where it will be on view from March 23 to May 21, 2023.
The project is being developed in cooperation with the Arton Foundation, which has undertaken the care and compilation of Janina Węgrzynowska’s oeuvre. To mark the occasion, an exhibition presenting a selection of materials from the artist’s archive, including works on paper, will take place at the Foundation’s gallery between 9 February 2023 and 29 April 2023.
We would like to thank our partners Syrena Real Estate and Pinebridge Benson Elliot for their support and for providing the Art Apartment artist’s residency in the HOP building at 132/134 Chmielna St. in Warsaw.
Janina Węgrzynowska (1930–2010), painter and graphic artist, member of the Association of Polish Artists and Designers, a long-time contributor to the weekly paper “Argumenty” (1958–1975), and the National Television station, Telewizji Polskiej (1975–1991). From 1949–1955 she studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. In 1955 she received her diploma from the Painting Department in the studio of Prof. Eugeniusz Eibisch. She created paintings and spatial objects, using elements of op-art. Her works were presented several times at the Festival of Polish Contemporary Painting at the Castle of Pomeranian Dukes in Szczecin, and the Exhibition of Painting and Graphics of the Warsaw District of ZPAP in Zachęta National Gallery in Warsaw. In 1986, she had a solo exhibition at Galeria Arsenał in Bialystok. In 2005, Galeria Studio held an exhibition of her works along with a new laser project called “Drawing with Light,” prepared in cooperation with the Laboratory of Laser Scenography and Special Lighting Effects at the Warsaw University of Technology. Her paintings are in the Collection of Galeria Studio and Galeria Arsenał in Bialystok.
Agata Bogacka, painter, born in 1976 in Warsaw. After she graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw in 2001, she quickly became known for her highly stylized, synthetic, figurative paintings—“a painterly diary of mental states” in which she noted down the emotions and feelings she had for her near and dear ones. Over time, her paintings evolved and direct references to reality or fragments of reality became increasingly abstract. Her most recent works are based on configurations of planes with the use of tonal transition. The gradient she uses symbolizes the blurring and setting of boundaries, directly referencing complex relations between actual people. These relations which can be understood more broadly, include various modes of coexistence: political, social, oppressive, or conciliatory. She lives and works in Warsaw.
Jenny Brockmann is an artist and sculptor living in Berlin and New York. Her work combines technology, science, and art, and has been exhibited internationally, including at BOZAR in Brussels, documenta fifteen in Kassel, and 601Artspace in New York. She studied fine arts at the Berlin University of the Arts, where she was a student of Rebecca Horn, and earned a degree in architecture at the Technical University of Berlin. Brockmann creates works that are characterized by a discursive aesthetic.
Marcin Dymiter operates in the field of electronic music, field recording and improvised music. He creates sound installations, radio plays, music for films, theater performances, exhibitions and public spaces. He is the author of the Field Notes project, sound maps and the music education cycle Tracklist. He conducts sound workshops and an action that approximates the idea of field recording. He plays in the projects: emiter, niski szum, ZEMITER, TRYS SAULES, and numerous other ephemeral formations. As an independent curator he is associated with the festivals Control Room (Gdańsk), and Wydźwięki / Resonances (Galeria El, Elbląg). He is a music producer, and a listener and participant in music and improvisation workshops, in Poland and abroad, including those led by Le Quan Ninh, Andrew Sharpley, John Butcher, Robin Minard and Wolfgang Fuchs. He holds a scholarship from the University of Art in Berlin, and is a finalist of the Netmage International Multimedia Festival in Bologna. Past scholarships have been received from the Marshal of the Pomeranian Voivodeship, the Minister of Culture and National Heritage (2011), and the Visegrad Foundation (2012). He is a member of the Polish Association of Electroacoustic Music.
Ludomir Franczak is a visual artist, theater director, and curator. His works are presented in galleries, theaters, public spaces and festivals in Poland and abroad. He collaborates with musicians (Marcin Dymiter, Robert Curge3nven, Patryk Zakrocki), visual artists (Magdalena Franczak, Sebastian Buczek) and theaters (Schaubude/Berlin, Cross Attic/Prague, Kana/Szczecin). He deals with the problem of memory, identity and ecological activism. Through intermedia actions, he builds complex projects using visual art, history and literature. He is the author of art publications and sound recordings. He also works in various creative collectives.
Magdalena Franczak is a visual artist, an author of drawings, photographs, objects and narrative sculptural forms in dialogue with existing environments in public space. She is the creator of the Nomadic Workshop and various art publications. She co-curated the project Manifestos for the Future. She received scholarships from the Minister of Culture and National Heritage in 2014 and 2020. In her work she strives to redefine the existing order by giving forms new meanings. Her practice is based on the exploration of community by combining stories with spatial forms and photography. Using the tools of art, she explores the relationship of human beings to surrounding space and time. By putting together shapes extracted from reality, she creates a story about a utopian world in which each voice resounds with equal force without drowning out the other. She lives and works in Lublin.
Agnieszka Grodzińska is the author of installations, open-space realizations, paintings, drawings and video images. She uses found footage and has a strong interest in multiplication, reproduction and the mechanisms of social and individual discipline. She creates books, conducts research and writes about art. She has taken part in multiple individual and group exhibitions in Poland and abroad. She was recipient of the Ministry of Culture scholarship in 2009 and 2011, and the Visegrad Fund in 2016, 2018, and 2019. She has taken part in residency programs in Gyeongju Art Centre (Korea 2019), Bartok-negyed/Eleven Blokk Art Foundation (Budapest 2018), Futura Karlin Studio (Prague 2016), betOnest/The Emergence of a New Art Space (Stolpe/Oder, Brandenburg 2017), Institut für Alles Mögliche (Berlin 2015), BANSKÁ ST A NICA Contemporary (Slovakia 2014). She teaches at the Academy of Art in Szczecin and lives and works in Poznań.
Dagmar Schürrer is an Austrian new media artist based in Berlin, Germany. She holds a degree in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London. In her artistic practice she assembles digitally generated objects and animations, text, and sound to form intricate video and sound montages, evocative of painting, collage, or poetry. Unfolding in ever changing variations, they are presented on screen, as installations or combined with new technologies such as augmented reality (AR). Her work has been exhibited internationally, including in the New Contemporaries at the ICA London, the Moscow Biennale for Young Art, the Centre Pompidou Paris, Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin, Louvre Auditorium Paris, Transmediale Vorspiel in Berlin and the Museum of Waste in Changsha, China. She is a project assistant with the research group INKA at the University for Applied Sciences Berlin, within which she explores AR technologies and supports the production of AR applications in the field of art and culture. As a board member of the Berlin media art association (medienkunstverein), she is committed to supporting new forms of presentation for contemporary new media art.