80x140 Gallery and A4 Gallery

Vernissage: 8 April 2010, Thursday, 7.00 p.m.
Curator: Łukasz Guzek
The Exhibition is a part of the Art & Documentation Festival and is open until 2 may 2010.

The exhibition presents documentation of activities of 80x140 Gallery and A4 Gallery: two of the most radical Polish galleries of the 1970s.

The word „gallery” stands here for „conceptual gallery” which is a specific kind of art project where the artists and people connected with art take on the roles of curators. Conceptual galleries contributed to the re-evaluation of the concept of gallery, which transformed from a place for presenting art into a place where art is being created. Space ceased to be „a vessel for art“ and became a part of a work of art.

In conceptual galleries the artists presented their own art or the works of a befriended circle of artists. In this respect conceptual galleries were similar to „galleries-institutions“. Their objective was not, however, to objectively represent art and therein lay the difference between them and official institutions. They were a manifestation of artistic vision of the conductor and a gesture of defiance aimed at art and the establishment, a sign of belonging to the counter-culture which gave it a social and political dimension. The latter aspect was unique in Poland under the totalitarian communist rule where critical public appearance demanded moral courage even in the relatively liberal times of Edward Gierek’s rule.

80x140 Gallery was founded in 1971 by Jerzy Treliński, an artist, Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts. It was located on a wall in Artists‘ Club (Klub Plastyków), which still exists in a tenement house basement in 86 Piotrkowska Street. The area mentioned in the name was marked by wooden planks fixed onto a wall, which looked like a part of wood panelling that was quite a popular interior design feature in those days. Mostly two-dimensional works: photos, documentations of conceptual activities performed in public space were placed within the area.

In 1972 within the area of 80x140 Gallery a board was placed. It outlined the measurements of an A4 format sheet of paper and constituted the A4 Gallery. In 1976 it was transformed into Value Revision Room (Gabinet Aktualizacji Wartości) whose activities were also documented on A4 sheets of paper (it was in operation until the end of 1993, although it was never officially ended). Andrzej Pierzgalski was the initiator of the A4 Gallery (his brother, Ireneusz, was then running the Artists’ Club). The Gallery’s activities covered the presentation of his works in A4 format. The works were of conceptual character falling into the current of visual poetry, using photography as means of documenting actions and activities of ephemeral character. Andrzej Pierzgalski had no artistic education. His interest in art. resulted from his friendship with artists. Simultaneously however, the gesture he performed: opening a gallery, is an example of possibilities presented by conceptual art, which, according to Joseph Kosuth, the main representative of the current, is based on making meanings.

The exhibition will present the documentation of the 80x140 Gallery activities that covers many conceptual works in the form of uniqie prints, prints copied in small circulation, boards, photos, posters, artistic books. A4 Gallery will be presented by a set of original works in A4 format. The exhibition will be accompanied by screenings of a film documenting Treliński’s action of 1974, when he joined the Labour Day parade with a board which read „TRELIŃSKI”, and a film presenting statements of artists remembering their activities of the 1970s from the point of view of 2010.

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