A Gesture of Friendhip. Bożena Kowalska's Collection
The Little Big Collections Project – take two.
Join us for a meeting with Bożena Kowalska and her world of art created using the language of geometry.
Henryk Stażewski, Roman Opałka, Wojciech Fangor, Erna Roseinstein, Koji Komoji, Anna Trochim, Jerzy, Kałucki, Eduard Steinberg, Dóra Maurer, Jan Pamuła, Josef Linschinger, Andrzej Gieraga, Józef Hałas, Edward Krasiński, Kajetan Sosnowski, Tamara Berdowska, Karolina Jaklewicz – there are nearly one hundred names of artists gathered around Bożena Kowalska.
More than thirty international plein-airs, three impressive museum collections of art, several dozen books and countless texts about art – Bożena Kowalska lives art, constantly observing it and commenting on it, and influences its development in a uniquely creative way.
As Bożena Kowalska writes in the introduction to the catalogue: “This is the second time I am presenting my private art collection to the public. The first exhibition in 2010 had three parts: in Radom, Katowice and Bielsko-Biała, and was accompanied by a book, Fragmenty Życia [Fragments of Life]. I wrote about my collection, that it is “completely in compliance with the direction of interests and criteria of values I created for myself as a viewer, and which were essential for me, as an art critic, in my daily work. These criteria were shaped over the years, thanks to exploring, experiencing and analysing art in museums around the world, such as the Louvre, the Uffizi Gallery or the Tretyakov Gallery, at contemporary art exhibitions in Poland and abroad, in artist studios
and in conversations with them. At the same time, my starting point was always the sensitivity of my own eyes and thoughts, the search for that which would delight and enchant me.” She continues: The shaped criteria I wrote about, along with an individual type of a viewer’s sensitivity have made the language of geometry in art – the language of the visual statement, which is the most generalised and universalised – the closest to my heart. I prefer it so much that I have long been identified with the theme of geometry in art as an apologist. I must therefore strongly emphasise once more that it has not been and is not about the formal aspect of this particular type of art, but about the artist’ message, the content of the message of constructive thought, often analytical, an existential reflection, a meditation or important questions, about universal value.”
Bożena Kowalska writes about the language of geometry: “This art serves to [...] set thought into motion. Thus, at its base, there is always thought at the start, a concept, a reflection, and this primal thought searches for the appropriate signs for recognising and consolidating the message. This thought, concept or reflection, if they were to get rid of the traits of individuality, subjectivity and the materiality of the subject, must express themselves in art via a geometric code. This is because it is sufficiently abstract not to be mistakenly associated with anything material; it is sufficiently universal to not connect in the imagination with anything that is defined in its individuality and the individual being; and it is sufficiently objectivised to not permit any personal emotions to be contained within it. “
Artists whose artworks take part in the exhibition:
Andrzej Jakub OLEJNICZAK
Georg Karl PFAHLER
Małgorzata TUREWICZ – LAFRANCHI
Jean - PIerre VIOT
Tadeusz G. WIKTOR
Bożena Kowalska named this exhibition Gesture of Friendship emphasising that it is its attitude towards the world of art in general, not only to geometric art, and that in the art, the most important thing for her is a non-standard message and a form that is not a repetition of others. The current exhibition, unlike the first showing of Bożena Kowalska’s collection in 2010 (Radom, Bielsko-Biała, Katowice), includes only works that were gifts from the artists and have not been shown earlier.
The programme partner is the Wrocław Contemporary Museum, which invited Bożena Kowalska to give a lecture about collecting. The meeting will take place on the 7th of June at 6 p.m. at the Wrocław Contemporary Museum.
(born 1930 in Warsaw) – art historian, critic and theoretician.
Studied art history at the University of Warsaw. In 1974, received the title of doctor of humanities. In 1972-2001, she ran the Gallery 72 in Chełm.
She created a collection of contemporary art (about 1,500 exhibits), which has been shown at the Chełm District Museum since 1972. She organised many exhibitions in Poland and abroad. For more than twenty years, she has organised and conducted the International Plein-Air for Artists Using the Language of Geometry.
She writes critical texts for exhibition catalogues, publishes articles, essays, scientific dissertations, and sketches about art and artists for Polish and foreign publications. She is the author of monographs on many Polish avant-garde artists: Roman Opałka, Jan Berdyszak, Henryk Stażewski, Kajetan Sosnowski, Marian Bogusz, and Wojciech Fangor.
Polska awangarda malarska 1947-1980; Szanse i mity [Polish Painting Avant-Garde 1947-1980: Chances and Myths], PWN Warsaw1988;
Twórcy – Postawy, Artyści mojej galerii [Creators – Attitudes: Artists from My Gallery], Kraków 1982;
Sztuka w poszukiwaniu mediów [Art in Search of the Media], Warsaw 1985;
Od impresjonizmu do konceptualizmu. Odkrycia sztuki [From Impressionism to Conceptualism. Discoveries of Art], Arkady Warsaw 1989;
W poszukiwaniu ładu, Artyści o sztuce [In Search of Order: Artists About Art], Katowice 2001;
20 plenerów spod znaku geometrii [20 Plein-Airs Under the Sign of Geometry], 2004;
Gesture of Friendship
An exhibition of Bożena Kowalska’s collection
mia ART GALLERY
Św. Mikołaja 61-62
Wrocław Contemporary Museum
All That Art! Foundation
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