Neoplastic Room. Open Composition


ms1, Więckowskiego 36

Since 2010

After a “visit” to Madrid's Museo Reina Sofia, Kobro’s and Strzemiński's works return to the Neoplastic Room, which will appear in a new context this time, namely as an interface of two exhibitions: Neoplastic Room. Open Composition and Organizers of Life. De Stijl, the Polish Avant-garde and Design. During this last exhibition organised by the museum within the project of the Year of Avant-garde, the Room and its collections enriched by the works and exhibits from the  a.r. group’s collection will represent one of the most important and most spectacular compilations of the Polish avant-garde achievements referring to the legacy of Neoplasticism. By creating a point of contact within one exposition, the junction will be a natural starting point for the other. The space designed by Władysław Strzemiński will be additionally filled with a selection of artworks created by contemporary artists who, for a number of years, have been involved in a dialogue with the theory and art of the author of The Theory of Vision.

The history of the Neoplastic Room dates back to 1946. Muzeum Sztuki, which previously domiciled in a dozen or so rooms of the former Town hall, acquired a new site - the nineteenth-century palace of the Lodz industrialist-manufacturer  Maurycy Poznański. The then director of the Museum, Marian Minich, invited Władysław Strzemiński to collaborate with the Museum on the arrangement of new exhibition halls. The artist was entrusted with the task of designing a space in which a collection of European avant-garde projects, collected by Strzemiński himself in the 1930s, would be located. The Neoplastic Room, for it was already its name, was opened to the public along with the entire Museum two years later, becoming immediately a unique exhibitional attraction. Unfortunately, not for long:  in 1950, the polychromes of the Room, so characteristic for Neoplasticism, were painted over, and the works exhibited in it, not corresponding to the official style of the socialist realism, were deposited in storage rooms. The Room was reconstructed only in 1960, which was performed by Strzemiński’s student, Boleslaw Utkin. Since then, for almost half a century, it used to be the centrepiece of the permanent exhibition of the Łódź Museum, while, at the same time, remaining one of only a few examples of art galleries designed in a way that followed  the guidelines of the avant-garde.

The context of the Neoplastic Room changed in 2008 when modern and contemporary art collections were moved to ms2, a nineteenth-century weaving facility transformed into the Muzeum Sztuki’s exhibition spaces. The Room, after long discussions about moving it to the 20th and 21st Century Art Collection, remained in the building for which Strzemiński originally designed it. Thus, it stopped being the centre of the museum's collection. In return, it became a catalyst and a reference point for the activities of other artists. Thanks to this unique form of a dialogue with the work of the leading animator of the Polish avant-garde, artists have been able to creatively and comprehensively develop his heritage, and direct our attention to those meanings of his legacy which had previously remained hidden.

The first showing of the “open composition" took place in 2010. Daniel Buren, Magdalena Fernandez, Igor Krenz, Grzegorz Sztwiertnia, Jarosław Fliciński, Elżbieta Jabłońska, Julita Wójcik, Monika Sosnowska, Nairy Baghramian, Magdalena Fernandez Arriaga and the Twożywo Group were the first ones to be invited to enter the dialogue with the Neoplastical Room. During the last significant remaking of it in 2013, the installation was complemented by Monika Sosnowska’s  recreation of the gate from the Ursus manufactory, whose geometrical structure, referring to the rational forms of the constructivist avant-garde, was radically transformed.  Additionally, Nairy Baghramian  prepared a project referring to the assumptions present in the works of Katarzyna Kobro, i.e. the recognition of the human body as a reference to all activities in space, while  Liam Gillick presented a work that shows how those brilliant ideals of the avant-garde were seized and used by large corporations. The latest version of the exhibition will be annexed by Celine Condorelli’s “Spatial Compositions" – her works inspired by Kobro’s and Strzemiński’s concepts.

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