Zachęta National Gallery, Warsaw: New Sculpture

Monika Sosnowska, Stairway, 2010
Photo: courtesy of Galerie Gisela Capitain, Köln

New Sculpture at Warsaw's Zachęta National Gallery

09.03.2012 – 13.05.2012

The underlying concepts of modernism and its offshoots continue to found major theories of art, particularly in the realm of sculpture in recent decades. The current exhibition strives to explore these tendencies and weigh them between postmodernism and altermodernism as today's artists give rise to a new definition for the movement today

The artists in the exhibition come from a variety of countries and artistic backgrounds, including Poland's Kasia Fudakowski, Jerzy Goliszewski and Monika Sosnowska. Turner Prize-winning artist Martin Boyce, Mai-Thu Perret, Georgian-born artist Thea Djordjadze, Swiss-born Mai-Thu Perret and Italian-born Tatiana Trouvé extend the borders of this examination, creating a more universal treatise on the inheritance of modernism. Whether that legacy is implemented in lesser or greater measure – or refuted altogether.

Modernism became an identifiable movement in art for a rather extended period – the 1910s-1970s, reaching for purity of form, function and the intrinsic value of an object – a broad scale simplification over the embellishments of the past. Its principles and practices continue to impact our time and the contemporary artists today, who confront modernism and adopt its influences, enter into dialogue with it or otherwise subvert and transform it.
Modernism has returned to the forefront of the critical debate, particularly in Poland and other countries of the region. Critics have sought to single out a specific successor for Modernism as defined by the new generation of artists, with the likes of Nicolas Bourriaud pronouncing the birth of altermodernism in which artists react to global changes around them while those like Martin Herbert insist on the continuity of tradition for a new modernism that largely picks up where modernism left off.

The New Sculpture exhibition forms the context for further exploration between the legacy of modernism and the actual practices of artists today. The old and new are compared, their points of intersection identified. New Sculpture poses the question of what elements these artists have chosen in modernism and how the language of sculpture and modernism has changed. The aim is to draw a line between the sculpture of modernity and the sculpture of today, singling out divergences along the way.

According to the exhibition curators,

    Each of the artists participating in the exhibition approaches the modernist tradition and its paradigms from a different perspective. Martin Boyce does so by a persistent use of forms that reference the cubist concrete trees of the Martel brothers from 1925, and reinstating modernist art with its objects; Thea Djordjadze, whose approach to modernism is critical, transforms its formal language and combines it with elements of her own culture; Kasia Fudakowski develops personal, intimate sculptures informed by modernist aesthetics; Jerzy Goliszewski draws on art which follows certain systems; Wade Guyton’s practice provides an ironic commentary on the theme of the classical language of modernism; Mai-Thu Perret creates a utopia while referring to the Russian avant-garde and the emergence of communes in the 1960s; Monika Sosnowska consistently works through the architectural heritage of the People’s Republic of Poland; while Tatiana Trouvé constructs total installations, markedly apocalyptic in tone.

Curator Maria Brewińska
Co-operation Katarzyna

Editor: Agnieszka Le Nart

Comments are closed.