Neoplastic Room. Open Composition
The history of the Neoplastic Room dates back to 1946. The Muzeum Sztuki, previously housed in a dozen or so rooms of the former town hall, was granted a new seat - the nineteenth-century palace of the Łódź industrialist - Maurycy Poznański. The then director of the Muzeum, Marian Minich, invited Władysław Strzemiński to take part in works connected with the arrangement of the new exhibition halls. The artist was entrusted with the task of designing a space in which a collection of the European avant-garde, which he had been collecting following his own initiative in the 1930s, would find its place. The Neoplastic Room – since it was called this way - was opened to the public two years later accompanying the inauguration opening of the entire Muzeum, and immediately becoming an unusual museum attraction. Unfortunately, not for a long time: in 1950 the polychromes referring to the neoplastic mode were painted over, and the works exhibited on the walls, which did not correspond to the official style of socialist realism, were taken down and put into the storage rooms. The hall was reconstructed to its original character only in 1960, which was done by Strzemiński's student, Bolesław Utkin. From that moment on, for almost half a century it was the central point of the permanent exhibition of the Łódź Muzeum, becoming immediately one of only a few examples of an exhibition room designed following the assumptions of the avant-garde tradition.
The character of the Neoplastic Room changed in 2008, when the collections of modern and contemporary art were moved to ms2, a nineteenth century weaving mill turned into an exhibition space of the Muzeum Sztuki. The room, after long discussions concerning possible moving it to the 20th and 21st Century Art Collection, remained in the building for which Strzemiński had originally designed it. Thus, it ceased to be the centre of the Muzeum collection. In return, it became a catalyst and a reference point for the activities of other artists. Through such a formula of having a dialogue with the work of the leading animator of the Polish avant-garde, artists have been able to creatively develop and modernize his legacy, as well as direct our attention to those meanings of his work that were previously unnoticed.
The first showing of the "open composition" project took place in 2010. The pioneer artists to enter into the dialogue with the Neoplastic Room were Daniel Buren, Magdalena Fernandez, Igor Krenz, Grzegorz Sztwiertnia, Jarosław Fliciński, Elżbieta Jabłońska, Julita Wójcik, Monika Sosnowska, Nairy Baghramian, Magdalena Fernandez Arriaga and Grupa Twożywo. During the last significant reconstruction in 2013, the exhibition was complemented by Monika Sosnowska's installation, which was a recreation of the door from the Ursus factory, whose geometrical structure, referring to the rational forms of the constructivist avant-garde, had undergone a radical transformation there. Nairy Baghramian prepared a project referring to the artistic assumptions present especially in the work of Katarzyna Kobro, that based on the recognition of the human body as a reference point for all activities in space. Liam Gillick presented a work that showed how the noble ideals of avant-garde were captured and used by large corporations. The latest version of the exhibition has been complemented by Celine Condorelli’s "Spatial Compositions", inspired by Kobro and Strzemiński's works.
Due to the loan of some works from the International Collection of Modern Art of the “a.r.”group and the works of Katarzyna Kobro to the exhibition co-organized by the Muzeum Sztuki at the Moderna Museet in Malmö, in the Neoplastic Room one can see the works of Władysław Strzemiński, as well as the art pieces of Jean Gorin, Michel Seuphor, Piet Mondrian and Henryk Berlewi. Strzemiński's works refer directly to the theory of Composition of Space. Calculations of Space-Time Rhythm so relevant to the project of the Neoplastic Room.