Composing the Space. Sculptures in the Avant-garde



ms2,  Ogrodowa 19


04.10.2019 - 02.02.2020


Małgorzata Jędrzejczyk, Katarzyna Słoboda


Przemek Purtak - exhibition coordinator, Martyn Kramek - publishing coordinator

Following the experiments of the avant-garde sculptors, this exhibition will examine the behind-the-scenes findings and consequences of the fascinating modernist discoveries regarding the relationship between space, movement and body. Our guide here will be Katarzyna Kobro herself and her artworks which will be shown against the works of her contemporaries, such as: Naum Gabo, Alexander Calder, Barbara Hepworth, Antoine Pevsner, Jean Arp, Alexander Archipenko, and Julio Gonzales. Above all, we will ask a question about how artists, while experimenting with the materiality and plasticity of time, space and dynamics of the rhythms of the human body, reflect the complexity of the experience of modernity. We will also be able to analyse what exactly characterised their search for new relations between abstract form and movement, as well as what visions of the relationship of man with the environment they proposed.

Kobro claimed that the dynamism of our motor skills can be captured through the rhythm of consecutive moments of movement and stops taking place in space and time. The sculpture was for her a model of a new harmonious order of everyday surroundings, tuned to the optimal psychophysical coordination of human activities. The result was to be rationalised social behaviours whose purposeful organisation was governed by "emotions of planarity" – the term and concept proposed by Kobro. Herself, apart from the Spatial Compositions, she also sculpted the Nudes to which the women she knew or she herself had posed. In the works captivating a human figure with a delicate and tender schematic, we can also find the influences of space-time rhythms on the body itself. The exhibition will thus combine these two seemingly separate themes of her work, showing the flow between the daily rhythms of the body and its surroundings.

Following the ideas of creators who want to break free from identifying a sculpture piece with a solid and a closed form alone, the exhibition will also problematise the issue of the movement of receivers of art. It will be accompanied by performative tours encouraging viewers to look again at the ways in which they engage their body and senses in the reception of the composition of the exhibition and the works exhibited there.

The exhibition publication will include reprints and revised translations of Katarzyna Kobro's texts and articles, as well as selected statements contributed by other sculptors (including Barbara Hepworth, Georges Vantongerloo, Naum Gabo) and several papers by contemporary researchers, including Carola Giedion-Welcker, Rosalind Krauss, Yve-Alain Bois and Megan Luke who address the issues of avant-garde sculpture and its relationship with space, corporality and movement.

Artists: Aleksandr Archipenko, Jean Arp, Alexander Calder, Naum Gabo, Alberto Giacometti, Julio González, Barbara Hepworth, Maria Jarema, Katarzyna Kobro, Henri Laurens, El Lissitzky, László Moholy-Nagy, Zdeněk Pešánek, Antoine Pevsner, Aleksandr Rodczenko, Teodor Roszak, Władysław Strzemiński, Mieczysław Szczuka, Władimir Tatlin, Georges Vantongerloo, Henryk Wiciński, Ossip Zadkine, August Zamoyski

Exhibition architecture: Karolina Fandrejewska

Graphic and editorial design: Ryszard Bienert


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Co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage under the INDEPENDENT Multiannual Programme for 2017-2021.

Patron of Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź

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