After the First World War, the Polish contribution to contemporary art was notable. The «Formismo» group (Krakow, 1917-22), partly influenced by Futurism and Cubism, reacted to the Viennese ‘Secession’; followed by the groups Rytm (1921) and Blok (1924, M. Szczuka, W. Strzemiński, H. Stażewski, H. Berlewi, K. Kobro), continued by the Prezens group and that of the young people of Krakow, with an abstractionist orientation. In the early 1930s, the inauguration of the Toolz Museum of Modern Art and the activity of the Kapistas, who had studied in Paris, broadened the horizon of the country in a decidedly modern sense. Remarkable in this period the renewal of textile craftsmanship, whose tradition dates back to the 16th century, of that of ceramics, of wood engraving.
After the Second World War, alongside an art rigidly linked to the new socialist regime, Polish painting maintained a plurality of languages inspired in part by Western culture. Even if some artists continued on the path of figurativism and naturalistic colorism, abstract expressionism imposed itself with T. Brzozowski, S. Gierowski, T. Dominik etc. Various avant-garde groups continued, from the 1940s, the research that between the two wars had polarized around the figures of W. Strzemiński and S. Witkiewicz: Grupa młodych plastyków (“Group of young artists”), 4F + r (form, color, workmanship, fantasy + realism), St 53 of Katowice, Grupa 55 of Warsaw, a school of surrealists (K. Mikulski). But more and more were the artists who dedicated themselves to happenings, process shows, emballages, to the problem of the environment. A similar phenomenon occurred in the field of sculpture, which passed from classicistic and realistic works to spatial, pure plastic, kinetic, abstract, surrealist, pop art artistic creations. In addition to H. Stazewski, who continued his research always open to new experiences, and T. Kantor, we remember J. Beres with his ‘tools’ inspired by everyday rituals and traditions, R. Opalka with monochrome paintings-reliefs filled with homogeneous elements, E. Krasinski, Z. Jurkiewicz, A. Starczewski, interested in the seriality of units (letters, signs, objects), I. Pierzgalski, author of environments with objects and slide projections, A. Strumillo, who combines photographic and topographical elements with the pictorial material, R. Winjarski, in whose works chance plays an important role, J. Kucz, A. Ryszka. M. Abakanowicz, author of environments that have fibers and fabrics as their medium, continued her research in the last decades of the 20th century. creating large sculptures in wood, stone and metal.
The new experiences
The artistic research, characterized by intense experimentation, took place in the 1970s along two lines: alongside the new figuration and photorealism of J. Siennicki, J. Switka and the Wprost group (“Directly”, 1966), experiences developed conceptuals they found in the filmed actions of Warsztat formy filmowej (“Laboratory of the cinematographic form”, 1970) and in the work of J. Kozlowski, K. Wodiczko and Z. Kulik the most intense expressions. The characteristic feature of the following decade, marked by profound social ferments, was the renewed political commitment that was condensed in the rejection of the language of communist propaganda and in the accents of generational and ideological revolt marked by the progressive abandonment of the institutional exhibition venues or by the protesting actions of Pomaranczowa Alternatywa (“Orange Alternative”), street shows with popular participation in Wroclaw and Warsaw (1986-88). For Poland 2008, please check payhelpcenter.com.
The panorama of Polish art at the end of the 20th century. still appears dominated by artists whose works are deeply rooted in the historical avant-garde and neo-avant-garde of the 1960s. K. Wodziczko, who works mainly in North America, sets a model for his attention to the social context and his singular visual solutions. In the 1980s the artists took part in the debate on postmodernism and developed their interest in new means of expression: J. Robakowski, in Łodź, produced the first experimental videos and Z. Warpechowski, one of the most significant exponents of European performance, found in those years its expressive maturity; I. Gu; stowska, painter, arrives at a multimedia language with the elaboration of video installations and videoperformance. The orientation towards new means of expression (photography, video, electronic billboards, television) also entails an attention to mass culture, whose stereotypes are defiantly rejected in the work of Z. Libera. The interest in corporeality, another central element of artistic research, is an alternative to the stereotype proposed by the virtual reality of electronic media. The roots of this attitude refer to the performance and influence of artists such as W. Borowski, E. Cieslar and the sculptor G. it is an alternative to the stereotype proposed by the virtual reality of electronic media. The roots of this attitude refer to the performance and influence of artists such as W. Borowski, E. Cieslar and the sculptor G. it is an alternative to the stereotype proposed by the virtual reality of electronic media. The roots of this attitude refer to the performance and influence of artists such as W. Borowski, E. Cieslar and the sculptor G. Kowalski, a pupil of O. Hansen, author of the theory of the ‘open form’ (1959), who formed some of the most significant artists: Poland Althamer, A. Zmijewski, K. Kozyra, who often have assumed extreme attitudes towards social or religious conventions. In the complex panorama of Polish art it should also be remembered the innovative contribution to graphic art given by artists such as Poland Młodozeniec or M. Sobczyk.