Pankiewicz and after… Releasing the color

Pankiewicz and after… Releasing the color

The exhibition “Pankiewicz and after… Releasing the color” pays homage to the prominent artist on the 150th anniversary of his birth in Lublin.

The exhibition presents the rich and varied work of the artist, from different periods in his artistic output – from his fascination with symbolism, impressionism, Cézanne and Bonnard, to paintings that started new trends and schools in Polish colorism. His work is shown through a dialogue of various ideas for hues and lights in Polish art of the interwar period and Polish modern art.

The exhibition is divided into two basic parts – the first is focused on Józef Pankiewicz and artists associated with the Paris Committee (Józef Czapski, Jan Cybis, Hanna Rudzka-Cybisowa, Piotr Potworowski, Artur Nacht-Samborski, Zygmunt Waliszewski), while the second displays the diverse ways in which colorism was perceived in Polish post-war art. Thus, the exhibition unites various forms of artistic output rooted in the exercise of color. It presents work of direct successors of the colorist painting, associated mainly with the atelier of Jan Cybis in Warsaw’s Academy of Fine Arts, as well as that of modern artists using hues and light as essential means of composition and expression of their paintings and installations.

The activity of the Paris Committee, initiated by Pankiewicz’s travels, turned out to be very impactful on Polish painting both before 1939 and after World War II, implementing lasting sensory sensitivity in both artists and viewers. As the result of the intense impact of this trend in our parts, viewers have opted for a more sensual perception of art. As a consequence, capism (and more broadly colorism) seems to be the most durable aesthetic in Polish painting of the 20th century, and at the same time, the most durable school of sensual sensitivity, and finds its continuation.

By displaying this continuation, the exhibition asks about the role of color in Polish culture, as well as about the possibility of broadening the language of painting in confrontation with the abstract, the avant-garde and with present visual experiments. Among the continuators who, often in a contrary way, refer to colorism and, indirectly, to Pankiewicz, there are: Roman Artymowski, Tomasz Ciecierski, Jan Chwałczyk, Tadeusz Dominik, Mirosław Filonik, Jarosław Fliciński Stefan Gierowski, Józef Hałas, Karolina Hałatek, Jacek Sempoliński, Sebastian Skoczylas, Kajetan Sosnowski, Tomasz Zawadzki, Leon Tarasewicz, Zbigniew Tymoszewski. Thus the exhibition comprises three essential ways in which colorism is perceived – the first associated with the abstract and the autonomy of painting, next with the concept of avant-garde and critical analysis of the painting and, finally with paining that is post-modern, broadened and intermedia.
What is common for all the above are references to the core of the European culture and universal artistic values in the spirit of Pankiewicz. At the same time, we are introducing a profound color trend into post-war Polish culture, a trend that locally impacted the dialogue and the rejection of this tradition in reference to perception of ateliers in the following decades of the second half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century.

Vivid creations filled with light and color define the work of Karolina Hałatek and Sebastian Skoczylas, representatives of the new generation of artists. They use different formulae – video recording and paiting respectively – to emphasize the abstract form of the image, to unveil the bokeh effect, the pulsing edges of intensely colorful planes arranged into horizontal stripes. Such treatments as making colors blend ones into others or juxtaposing monochromatic fields serve to intensify the colors, and, at the same time, to take break the static geometry of the image. The pulsing form heightens the uncertainty of the view as we recognise the juxtaposed planes and their interactions in their various intensity, determining visual proximity and distance. As these two artists use variable proportons of colorful fields, giving up on objectivity, their work challenges the eye that strives to determine the rules of perceiving the elementary forms, fundamental for the representation – they show the metaphysical dimension of color and light. They address the issue of lack of substantiality, of the intangibility of pure color establishing sparkling spatial relations. Thanks to them experiencing reality becomes a play of colors freed from a permanent framework.